WEST CHESTER, PA — Pastor Josh Roberts of the Christian Life Center in New London recently served as Pennsylvania Senate Chaplin for the day at the invitation of state Senator Andy Dinniman.
Dinniman invited Roberts and his family to visit the state Capitol in Harrisburg and lead the Senate invocation as a representative of the Christian Life Center, which currently serves hundreds of members in southern Chester County.
“It was a great and inspiring experience. And it brought me a sense of relief to see some civil discourse and hospitality on the floor of the legislature,” he said. “In addition, I was grateful to learn the historical significance of the Capitol building and know that some of the things that William Penn did more than 300 years ago continue to have an impact today.”
Roberts also thanked Dinniman for giving him and his family a personal, behind-the-scenes tour of the historic capitol building.
The Christian Life Family Center, one of the largest churches in the region, traces its roots to the New London Presbyterian Church, which has a rich and storied history that coincides with the birth of the United States.
The New London Presbyterian Church was founded by Francis Alison, who in 1743, also opened the New London Academy, a free school that taught logic, ethics, metaphysics, classical languages, history, rhetoric, math, and science. There, Alison personally instructed several prominent leaders and statesman including three signers of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1751, Alison left the New London Academy at the behest of Benjamin Franklin to serve as vice provost of the College of Philadelphia, which would later become the University of Pennsylvania. However, in 1767 he returned to New London and led students to expand and relocate the institution to Newark, Delaware where it eventually became the University of Delaware
Dinniman, a historian and educator by trade, said he enjoyed discussing the history of both the church and the Pennsylvania Capitol building with Roberts.
“I want to thank Pastor Roberts for joining me on the Senate floor and offering an inspirational prayer and a positive message to the legislature,” Dinniman said. “I look forward to continuing to work with him and his congregation on ways to engage the community in various areas of need.”
Originally from Georgia, Roberts, 38, grew up in the church as the son of a retired pastor.
Prior to coming to the Christian Life Center, Roberts planted churches in northwest Georgia before overseeing campus development of a large church in Montana.
He has an undergraduate degree in math education and a degree in Bible education ministries, as well as a master’s degree in theology from Liberty Baptist Seminary. He is currently working on his doctorate in Christian leadership.
Source: Andrew E. Dinniman (D), Pennsylvania State Senate, Senate District 19
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