Our Pastor:

I grew up in Hazlet, N.J., a town then converting from farms to commuter-friendly development.  I was always a very good, but very bored student, in a school system with little to offer.  My urge to be anywhere but home, combined with no outside activities, led to my keeping company with the “wrong crowd” for some years.


A long, aimless, solitary journey all around the lower 48, followed by simultaneous full time work and attendance at school (St. Peter’s College), cured me of bad friends, but not of a stunted personality.  Once out of college, I found myself again at loose ends.  After a wasted year of travel and dead-end jobs, I entered grad school at the U. of Toronto.  I did not finish, and when I returned to the States, I needed work.  I found what I assumed would be a temporary “gig” in the Postal Service that morphed into a 34 year career as a letter carrier.  I credit that job with doing enormous good for my social self!


During that career, I hit the lowest point of my life.  But then I had the great good fortune of meeting Pam and our girls, as God began a new work in me.  It was under Pam’s influence that I returned to church.  In our first church, Flanders United Presbyterian, I met my spiritual godfather, Rev. Bob Cotter, who saw in me what I could not see in myself.  He encouraged me into leadership in both worship and governance; he planted the seed of what and who I am now.


The dream to enter ministry had to wait, though, until we got the girls through college and I could retire.  I entered Princeton Seminary within a year; there I earned my M.Div., but so much more — the belief I was indeed called.


Now the twin roads of effort and discernment have led me here and my earnest prayer is that we will grow together, leaning on our Lord and on the bonds of love!

Our Mission:

OVPC celebrates God and the gifts given us by God.  Guided by scripture, inspired by the Holy Spirit, OVPC keeps Christ at the heart of our thought, prayer, and action.  Worship centers us.  A passion to learn, with freedom to question, guides our Bible study, our theological inquiry, and our engagement with God's world.  As we are loved, so we love each other, it times of joy and sorrow.  Shaped by faith, carried by grace, we reach out to our neighbors in love; to serve, to help, to heal.

The Ocean View Presbyterian Church is a Christian Church, joining with all who are followers of Jesus Christ.  Along with those other churches, we believe in the triune God, the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  God has created us, has redeemed us, sustains us.

The Ocean View Presbyterian Church is is part of one of the main branches of the Protestant Reformation, the Reformed Tradition.  The term 'reformed' refers to the theological tradition growing out of the Swiss Reformation in the sixteenth century.  Reformed churches sought to reform the church, bringing it in harmony with the New Testament and the early church.  Its leaders were Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) in Zurich and John Calvin (1509-1574) in Geneva.  The Reformed Tradition spread throughout England and Europe.  It came to America through the British Isles.  A leader of the church in Scotland was John Knox (c. 1513-1572).  Reformed churches believe: in the holy catholic church, that life must be fully oriented around God, that the Bible is authoritative, that God takes the initiative in salvation by electing us, that there is a radical distinction between God and the creature with God as sovereign over all, that theology is a practical science, and that God's Word and Spirit shape every aspect of our lives.

The word 'Presbyterian' in the title of our church refers to our form of government.  This form took shape in the Scottish church.  The Presbyterian Church was first organized in America in 1706, the person most responsible being Francis Makerni (c. 1658-1707/8).  In determining how the church governs itself appeal is made to the practice of Scripture.  Governing is done through representative assemblies.  These assemblies are made up of people elected by congregations and ordained to serve as presbyters.  Whether these presbyters are Ministers of the Word and Sacrament (the pastor) or Ruling Elders, they serve with equal authority.

The Ocean View Presbyterian Church is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Our History:

The Ocean View Presbyterian Church was the first church to be built in this area.  It was formed in 1856 by members of the Blackwater Presbyterian Church.  The money for the original structure was obtained from going house to house asking for donations.  The building was to be used by other Christians when not in use by the Presbyterians.  The first sermon was preached by the Rev. William Graham on June 8, 1856.  The present sanctuary was constructed in 1907.

In 1974 the church erected the George T. West Fellowship Center, known familiarly as the Fellowship Center.  In 1983 it was enlarged to its present size.

The need was soon felt for a much larger meeting hall.  The hall was built in 2003 and dedicated on September 7.  Church facilities are not only for use by the congregation.  The church kows it as part of its mission to make these facilities available to groups in the area.

Though the church cemetery is now restricted to members of the congregation, it has throughout the years been open to all.  Buried in it are slaves and sailors from the ship Red Wing.

In 1879 the Sewing Circle was organized taking both men and women as members.  The Sewing Circle has the honor of being the oldest society in Delaware operating under its original name.  It is still active, meeting once a month.  The purpose of the Circle is to share in Bible study, to equip the work of the congregation, to do mission, and to provide fellowship for our congregation.

At first the pastor was shared with the Blackwater Church and later with the Frankford Presbyterian Church.  In January 1987 we were able to support our own pastor.  As of October 1, 1997, the Ocean View and Frankford Churches re-yoked - a relationship which lasted until 2014.

Our Purpose:

The Ocean View Presbyterian Church is a Christian congregation.  We see ourselves as having been called and commissioned by Christ to point to His presence and to carry on His ministry in the world and in our area.  While we share with other Christian churches this identity and mission there are things about us that makes us unique.

Worship is the cornerstone of our life together.  In worship we acknowledge our dependence upon God, give thanks for God's goodness, and seek to be molded into God's faithful people.

We strive to be a community which manifests God's desire for justice and righteousness for all persons.  In this congregation each person is seen as having been called and equipped by God to minister in unique ways.  We encourage each other to carry out these ministries both in the church and in the community.

We identify ourselves as a caring community.  We strive to be a community which manifests God's compassion and care for each other, both within and outside of the church.  We are a very diverse congregation, yet we strive to discuss matters and to respect differing opinions.  This is a very active congregation.  We encourage new ideas and the trying of new things.  We cooperate in tasks.  Everyone has the opportunity to be involved.  In this congregation each person is needed.  People have responsibilities and are missed when they are not there.  You make a difference.  Your presence is appreciated.  Your involvement is valued.  Your absence is felt.


We invite you to become a member of the Ocean View Presbyterian Church.

Belief in the God known through Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit entails membership in Christ' body, the Church.  Faith must be lived out in the company of other believers, within a Christian congregation.

In becoming a member of a Presbyterian Church, the person promises the following: 'to be a faithful member of this congregation, share in its worship and ministry through your prayers and gifts, your study and service, and so fulfill your calling to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Membership is an opportunity to renew one's baptism, reaffirming the Lordship of Jesus Christ over one's entire life.  We renew our ministry to Christ.  This ministry is carried out by every member.  It is carried out both within the congregation and in the community.  This ministry includes:

  • proclaiming the good news
  • taking part in the common life and worship of a particular church
  • praying and studying Scripture and the faith of the Christian Church
  • supporting the work of the church through the giving of money, time, and talents
  • participating in the governing responsibilities of the church
  • demonstrating a new quality of life within and through the church
  • responding to God's activity in the world through service to others
  • living responsibly in the personal, family, vocational, political, cultural, and social relationships of life
  • working in the world for peace, justice, freedom, and human fulfillment
(book of order)

Membership is by profession of faith, reaffirmation of faith in Christ, or certificate of transfer from another Christian church.  If you are interested in living out your baptism in the Ocean View Presbyterian Church, please talk to the Pastor or one of the Elders.

Church Leadership, Organizations, and Committees:

Please click here to learn about the various leadership groups and committees that make our Church so vital.  You will quickly see how active we are!

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Pastor Terence Dougherty