History of the bridge presbyterian church
In the mid 1890's, Leland was an exceedingly small settlement at the crossroads of Village Road and the railway. Being near the Brunswick River, the town was a transportation center for travelers going north and south. Two churches: Woodburn Presbyterian, and Woodburn Baptist were the heartbeat of the community. As Leland grew churches served as the central hub for gathering as they do to this day.
It was with that community spirit in mind that a new Presbyterian church organizing team was formed in 2013 with the hope of meeting the spiritual need of the growing town and connecting Brunswick county residents with a helping hand and hope.
Original meetings were held in private homes and Smithfield BBQ. It was here that the foundation for the new church was formed. Connecting with God's Passion, People and Purpose with a strong emphasis local mission work. It was decided to call the church "the bridge" since it was on the "other side" of the bridge to Wilmington and to use small letters to distinguish it from a church by a similar name in Wilmington. Hence the name, the bridge Presbyterian Church.
Dr. Doug Cushing was called to be organizing minister. Doug started Tyger River Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, SC and served as pastor there for 15 years before feeling the call to start the bridge here in Leland. He completed his Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary and his Doctorate at Columbia Theological Seminary. Work began to assemble teams to build this new church. Meet and Greet gatherings brought people together and introduced them to the bridge and its vision.
A location was found in a new shopping center in Leland. The group rented a small space on the first floor in which to hold service. The official Ribbon Cutting was held on August 15, 2014, worship services were held every Sunday. Instead of using the traditional term "member" the term "Covenant Partner" was used because all are partners in building God's kingdom here on earth.
The new church received its charter in January 2016. Dr. Doug Cushing was called and installed as the bridge Presbyterian Church minister in January 2017.
The bridge became part of the Presbytery of Coastal Carolina serving 180+ PCUSA churches in South-eastern North Carolina and one of 14 presbyteries of the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic.
God led many people to the new church. Services were a mix of traditional old hymns and contemporary Christian music. Instead of a choir, a band was started to bring energy to the music. Sermons were scripture based with an application to life in today's world. Sermon-Based Small Groups and Mission Projects were developed. Services were expanded to two services each Sunday as more and more people found the mix of old and new an inspiring way to worship.
Thanks be to God we outgrew our small space and moved to the second floor of 497 Waterford. A "Raising the bridge" celebration was held in early 2019.
Though our doors closed to in-person services in the middle of Lent 2020, we still remained active and faithful. We held services virtually and outdoors in the parking lot, had meetings on zoom, created our first cookbook, held our first Sunrise Easter service on the Brunswick River, and changed our logo to more fit our current and future vision of the bridge. In Fall 2021 we returned to in-person services, and continued live-streaming on Facebook and YouTube.
Today, Covenant Partners and many more "friends of the bridge" call us their home church. Our vision for the future is to one day build a new church on land purchased in Northern Brunswick County.