Church History


FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF GEORGETOWN, KENTUCKY
 

July 18, 1822 - The Presbyterian Church of Georgetown was organized with seven women as the first members.

The first church building, built in 1829, was near the corner of Main and Broadway.

From 1831 to 1847, the church had five stated supply pastors.

In 1847, Rev. Samuel J. Baird became the first installed pastor.  

The church operated a Presbyterian School for Girls from 1857-62 known as "The Scott Female Institute"

Construction on the present building costing $16,000, began in 1865 and was completed and  dedicated June 16, 1870 . Some of the original furnishings, many given by church members as memorials, are still used in the church today. These include a marble pedestal table for a baptismal font, communion linens, an old pulpit, a marble top table, and a communion table. Eleven benches continue to be used. They were restored to their natural maple finish and were dedicated to the memory of various individuals.

First Presbyterian and Holy Trinity Episcopal were built at the same time and are Georgetown’s two oldest church buildings.  

In 1890, the church underwent extensive repair including the addition of electric lighting and stained glass windows. 

The decision to build a Sunday School annex on the back of the church was made in 1917 and was completed in 1923 during the pastorate of Rev. A.M. Doak at a cost of $23,000. 

In 1927, Rev. G. Barrett Rich, III became pastor. During his stay, the church celebrated its 100th anniversary and hosted the synod meeting. 

In 1945, during the pastorate of Rev. Yandell Page, the Holtkamp pipe organ was restored and changed from a mechanical pipe organ console to an electronically controlled console.  This renovation was donated by H. Church Blackburn in memory of his parents. Ms. Lucile Bradley, church organist, dedicated the organ during a recital on June 10, 1945. The installation of the restored and renovated pipe organ necessitated some changes in the design of the sanctuary including the relocation of the organ from the center to the pulpit side and the relocation of the choir loft to the lectern side. For many years, students from Georgetown College studied and practiced on this organ, said to be "the finest organ town." 

In 1964, during the pastorate of Rev. D.T. Brandenburg, the church was redecorated and rededicated through a gift made possible by the legacy of Mrs. Frances Rogers Jeffress. 

During Rev. Hogan Yancey’s pastorate, the rotation of the terms of ruling elders and deacons was begun. 

In 1966 the telephone office building adjacent to the church was purchased for $20,000 for use as an education annex.

In 1975, the first woman elder, Laura Carpenter Gano, was ordained.  

In June of 1978, The Presbyterian Church, along with the East Main Street Residential District, was entered in the National Register of Historic Places. 

In its history, leadership in the church has been by deacons and elders. Records indicate the first election of elders was in 1831. While Rev. A. S. "Shep" Crigler was pastor (1970-1975), a unicameral system of governance was adopted. The board of deacons was discontinued and the session was enlarged becoming the sole governing body of the local church. Today the session is comprised of 12 ruling elders who carry out much of the Church’s programs and business.

During the pastorate of Rev. Charles M. Murray (1975-1985), the education building, including the kitchen, was remodeled and new furnishings were added as the legacy of Catherine and Ben Lair.

In 1994, the church sponsored the resettlement of a family from Bosnia. 

In 1995, during the Pastorate of Rev. C. Patterson Clark, Jr., major repairs to the exterior of the church were undertaken. Under Rev. Clark’s leadership and in response to a resurgence of young families and children  the church hired a youth minister, Roger Burns, a Lexington Theological Seminary student. Rev. Clark was also instrumental in organizing Scott United Ministries (SUM) in Scott County and the church’s annex was leased to the AMEN House, the service arm of SUM, for one dollar a year.

2005-2007, Samuel L. Pendergrast served as Interim Pastor.         

Leaders in this church have served in various positions in the Synod and General Assembly. Rev. D.T. Brandenburg was stated clerk of the Synod of Kentucky PCUS from 1948-60. In 1955, Ruling Elder Earl Friedly was commissioner to the Presbyterian Church U.S. In 1975, Rev. Paul Edris, former pastor, was Moderator of the General Assembly, PCUS. Rev A. S. Crigler was commissioner to the Synod of the Mid-South. Ruling elder Janet Patton represented the Presbyterian Church USA at the World Council of Churches in Australia in 1993—the same year Rev. Pat Clark served as commissioner to the General Assembly in Orlando, Florida. In 1996, Brittain Skinner served as youth delegate to the General Assembly representing Transylvania Presbytery. Ruling Elder Joe Hoffman served as commissioner to the 1999 General Assembly meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.         

Two seminarians gained their supervised field experience at our church: Betsy Steiner was supervised by Rev Charles Murray and Mary Baber Reed was supervised by Rev Pat Clark. Both Ms Steiner and Ms. Reed were later ordained as Presbyterian ministers. Two other students from the Lexington Theological Seminary, Roger Bums-Watson and Nancy Chamblee, served as part-time youth directors.     

Many memorial gifts such as the communion service, brass Celtic cross, baptismal font, and pew Bibles continue to be used.

Thirty-four pastors have served this church.        

Beginning in 1859 and continuing until 1987, ministers and their families lived in church-owned manses. Four manses have housed FPC ministers.  Today, pastors provide their own housing.      

Our church buildings have served as a meeting place for school and community groups including: Girl and Boy Scouts, 4-H Clubs, Blood Bank, Day Care Center, Hospice Offices, Comprehensive Care Center, and student groups from Georgetown College.  The SUM/AMEN House has been located in the church’s annex since 1991. Group activities currently in the church include the Sunday School for all ages, Youth Council, Young Adult Fellowship, the Live Wires Fellowship, Vacation Bible School, Advent and Lenten dinner/discussion series, and Family Night Suppers.

Three trustees oversee the church’s investments and trust funds.        

The Presbyterian Women have two circles and a Coordinating Team. Two gatherings of all Presbyterian Women are held each year. At the Presbytery level, several members serve on the Coordinating Team and participate in Gatherings. In July 2000, six women from FPC attended the Church-wide Gathering of Presbyterian Women in Louisville. Five women attended a similar conference in 1997.         

The church has had representatives on several boards including Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Hollon House, the Georgetown ChildDevelopment Center, and the AMEN House.     

In September, 2007, Pastor Gaither E. Bailey became Pastor and Head of Staff. He served in this capacity until his retirement in May, 2013.   

In February of 2008, the Session signed a contract for the restoration of the historic Votey/Holtkamp pipe organ by the Miller Pipe Organ Company of Louisville, Kentucky.                         

In March of 2008, the sanctuary chancel area was renovated to approximate the original design of the chancel.                         

In November of 2010, the renovation of the narthex was begun with the replacing of the flooring and creation of a sitting area.  New lighting for the narthex was added. 

In December of 2010, chair-lifts were installed in the Mulberry Street staircases to enable those individuals who cannot climb stairs to reach the upper level of the building. 

In May of 2011, a 4,000 square foot addition to the the building adjacent to the church was begun.  It includes new facilities for the AMEN House, a new fellowship hall, handicap restrooms, new kitchen facilities, a handicap entrance to the Fellowship Hall and to the sanctuary.  These needs were identified by a committee representative of the membership and various arms of the church.  

In early 2012, signs of deterioration in the walls of the church were noticed.  Further inspection  led to the closing of the sanctuary while major reconstruction and stabilization took place.  This period of work extended from February, 2013 until November, 2013.  During this time, worship services and most functions of the church were held in the newly constructed church annex.  Church members were grateful for this facility which provided a desirable worship space.

In September of 2012, the Session voted to reduce the number of elders to 10 with each serving a 2 year term. The Session recommended to the congregation a restructuring of church committees.  

In December, 2012, the wedding reception for Rachael Knight and Robert Newton was held in the new Fellowship Hall, making it the first function in the new facility. 

Rev. Pamela C. Rucker, served as Interim Pastor at First Presbyterian from August, 2013 to May, 2016.
In March, 2017 repairs and renovations were begun on the Upper Room which houses the pastor's and secretary's offices, worship supplies storage, choir storage and the copy room.  Repairs were made to the ceiling and walls with new plaster being applied, walls and ceilings painted and new carpeting installed throughout the second floor. 
In May, 2017, Rev. Wanda B. Olive was installed as Pastor.
In June, 2017 repairs and renovations were begun on the first floor of the Old Fellowship Hall.
Currently, the church has 157 members representing a variety of ages, backgrounds, and interests working together to be the "Household of God." 
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