New church proclaims ‘a better way’

The Rev. Tony Garbarino, shown here with his family,  is pastor of  Providence Presbyterian Church.

No one probably knows how many religious groups are located in South Valley. One reason for this is new congregations seem to be constantly forming: population growth and a large percentage of religiously unaffiliated residents make this a good area for providing new opportunities to learn about and connect with God.
A good example of this phenomenon is Morgan Hill’s Providence Presbyterian Church, currently meeting at 10 a.m. Sundays in the Masonic Hall, 380 W. Dunne Ave. It began as a Bible Study meeting in private homes and in April, services began to be held at the Community and Cultural Center before moving to the current location in August.
Pastor of the new congregation is Tony Garbarino, a man whose faith journey seems to show the presence of God leading him. He was born in Idaho and grew up in Nevada and Southern California. His father was a Roman Catholic and his mother a Protestant, but they did not really practice their faiths and left the children to decide on their own whether to attend church.
While working long hours at a company in Orange County, he made the acquaintance of several committed Christians, one of whom left a copy of the Bible for him on top of his toolbox. As he began reading it, he was overcome with a desire to learn more.
About this same time, his wife, Mica, became friendly with neighbors who were Christians and the family began attending a Community Church in Fullerton, discovering the joys of Christian fellowship with other people of faith.
God guided Garbarino through a move to Washington State, back to Orange County, a career with U.S. West, completion of an undergraduate college degree and membership in several supportive congregations that strengthened his faith through teaching and preaching experiences.
In 2008, Garbarino began studying at Westminster Seminary in Escondido, graduating in 2012. He was then called to San Jose’s Covenant Presbyterian Church where he served a year’s internship. When this church decided to plant a new congregation in Morgan Hill, Garbarino moved there with his wife and daughter.
In addition to Sunday services, Providence holds a midweek Bible study and monthly fellowship activities. The new congregation participated in Morgan Hill’s Downtown Trick-or-Treating on Halloween and the annual Christmas Parade.
The family loves Morgan Hill, enjoying the combination of small town spirit and access to big city attractions.
“(The church) is committed to faithful Gospel preaching, God-honoring worship, and Christ-centered fellowship,” Garbarino said. “Providence is biblical, confessional and reformed. If you seek reverent worship and warm community, or simply desire to learn more about the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, we would love for you to join us.” For more information, call (408) 728-3877 or visit providencepresbyterianchurch.org.
Though a new church, Providence’s roots go back to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries and to the New Testament Church before that. They welcome families and individuals to join with them for worship on Sunday and to encourage each other to live faithful lives during the rest of the week.
The Morgan Hill congregation is affiliated with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, a denomination founded in 1936 in reaction to the liberal trends in the national Presbyterian Church at that time. The doctrine is based on the Bible, Westminster Confession and Larger and Shorter Catechisms (17th century documents reflecting the insights of John Calvin, an important religious reformer in Switzerland). The denomination has 270 churches, 534 ministers and approximately 31,000 members across the United States. For more information visit opc.org.

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