First Presbyterian Church

OUR HISTORY

The First Presbyterian Church of Greenville, South Carolina, was established as a congregation on the last Sunday in February of 1848. In the years that have followed, this church has had the privilege of being led by the Spirit of Christ to worship and serve in His name.

The physical facilities utilized to demonstrate and enhance its ministry have undergone enormous changes and growth. Sixteen founding members oversaw the completion of the first building in 1851. That edifice was torn down in 1882, and 225 members greeted the completion of their new building in 1883. In 1911, the sanctuary was enlarged, and in 1928 a red brick education building was added and then extended further to the west in 1958. In 1973, the congregation expanded its facilities once again by building another educational wing and gymnasium, the present Symmes-Wilson Building.

As the city of Greenville continued to grow, the congregation grew even faster. By the early 1980s, only 800 of the 2,900 members were able to be seated for each of two services on a given Sunday, and many of those, in addition to countless visitors, were forced to sit in the annex. Every Sunday School room was filled and the full complement of choir members could not be utilized due to lack of space in the choir loft. The congregation and its leadership were faced with a decision fraught with spiritual and fiscal consequences.

After deliberation, study, and prayer, the overwhelming decision was made to go forward once again in faith and to build for the ministry of Christ in the heart of Greenville for the remainder of the 20th century and well into the next.

Construction began in the spring of 1986 and was completed in November of 1987. During that time, services and activities were held in the Downtown Baptist Church. The congregation dedicated its 1,400 seat sanctuary on the last Sunday of February 1988, and celebrated the elimination of its building indebtedness on the last Sunday of February 1992.

In 1998, the church underwent another expansion program with the building of a Christian Life Center and renovation of the red brick building. The new structure would include a new chapel, staff offices, youth floor, fellowship hall, and kitchen. The old fellowship Hall and kitchen were renovated for more kindergarten classrooms and the Tucker-Dean nursery was also renovated and enlarged. Coffee Street was closed and the Stewart-Adams Scout Building relocated across Academy Street. The new 3,800 square foot structure was completed in 1999 and dedicated as the Kowalski Christian Life Center in 2004.

We look forward to the future with confidence, knowing that God has blessed our witness and ministry in the past. We welcome you as part of what the future holds for us as the Body of Christ in this community.



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