History

March 18, 1917 – Our church’s history began with an organizational meeting that was held at the W.W. Hufford home with 52 people wanting to establish a “Southern” Presbyterian Church. Early services were held in a revival tent and the old Gaiety Theater.
1918 – Under the leadership of Dr. Robert King, the congregation moved to small frame schoolhouse between Watauga and Holston streets. This building was renovated and used until December 1940.
1919 – Church and Outpost Sunday Schools were held with 500 or more attending. Cedar View Chapel in Gibsontown was purchased for $500 – in 1946 it became a church. In 1961 it moved to a location on Stone Drive and still exists as a Presbyterian Church in 2019.
1923 – First Bible School held.
1924 – Dr. Thomas P. Johnston called as second minister – in 1935 he resigned to be President of King College.
1935 – Dr. William McCorkle answered call to become third minister in 1935 and building a new church facility was discussed.
1938 – Outpost churches continued – Bethel Chapel was organized on Warpath Dr. near Ft Henry Mall, became a church in 1943 and continues as a strong Presbyterian Church in 2019.
1940 – December 8, 1940 the last service was held in the “little white church” and the building razed to begin construction of the new church. Sunday Services were held what is now the Renaissance Center and Wednesday Night Dinners at the Kingsport Utilities.
December 14, 1941 – One year later, the first worship service was held in the sanctuary we still enjoy in 2019. Allen Dryden, Sr., a church member, was the architect.
1942 – Dr. McCorkle leaves First Presbyterian to serve as a chaplain in the Pacific during WW II. Dr. T. P. Johnston returned for a second pastorate.
1944 – Waverly Road Chapel formed- becoming a church in 1946 and remains a strong Presbyterian Church in 2019.
1949 – Dr. M. O. Sommers was called as Sr. Minister and Rev. Watson Guy was hired as Chapel Minister.
1950 – Property on Linville Street was purchased, and a manse built that served as home for our ministers until 1981 when it was sold.
1953 – Lynn Garden Chapel became a church. In 2016 it still exists as an Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
1954 – Fairview Chapel was organized in the Midfields area. It became a church in 1968 and sadly dissolved in 1972 when the membership could not financially sustain a church.
1956 – A Clothes Closet was established by our Women of the Church to provide free clothing to those in need. It soon became a church wide mission and continues to the present day serving over 2,000 area households.
1957 – Dr. Kirk Allen was called to be the Senior Minister. Church purchased property near the current building and formulated plans to build an education wing.
1963 – First Presbyterian was integrated when the St. James Presbyterian Church in Kingsport disbanded.
1963 – Construction of the three-story education wing completed the original architectural plan. The first female elders, Mrs. J. Fred Johnson and Mrs. James Rigby, were elected to the Session, the church’s governing body.
1968 – R. Davis Thomas answered the call to become Senior Minister. Strong Christian Education Programs, Church Retreats, Wednesday Afternoon Programs for Children, and a Cooperative Preschool Program began.
1974 – Schantz Organ still in use today was installed in the sanctuary.
1975 – A several year refugee resettlement ministry began with assistance to the first of seven families. Several of the families have maintained a long-term relationship with the church and its members.
1975 – Fine Arts Programs took place for the community. Programs of this nature continue today.
1976 – William Pape Wood became Senior Minister at FPC.
1978 – Cora Cox, who came to FPC from St. James Presbyterian in 1963, was elected an Elder and served faithfully for many years. When the General Assembly sent a delegation to South Africa, Cora was selected to join the group.
1979 – Provide-A-Ride; Farmer’s Market in Parking Lot; Tennessee Grandfather Home and Sullivan County Jail Program were opportunities for FPC to share space, time and Christian love with the community.
1980-85 – Magnificent Madrigal Dinners were held to offer an Elizabethan English Christmas Celebration to the community. Church members provided decorations, food, music, and entertainment for those attending.
1982 – FPC joined with several denominations to establish the Kingsport Community Ministry Center (KCMC) to assist those in need with emergency financial assistance. The program still exists today.
1984 – Dr. Daniel W. Massie was called as Sr. Minister
1987 – Freak lightening accident at Warrior Path Golf Course caused the death of FPC Choirmaster Phillip Hames, choir member Jimmy D. Coats and another individual.
1988-89 – Funds were raised, and church members participated in building the first many Habitat Homes in our area.
1990 – Retiree group renamed VIP (Very Important Persons) and began a very active program.
1992 – 1995 – Mission Possible II – Fundraising, planning and construction of a fellowship center, renovated offices and other facilities occurred. The Hufford House where our church was originally formed was moved across Charlemont Street.
1996 – The Church Circle First Presbyterian Children’s Center, Inc. opened in our facilities providing preschool child-care on a weekday basis. This program still provides excellent childcare in 2019.
1997 – Fellowship Dinners formed to encourage friendships and Christian love among members. Parish Nurse program also began this year in collaboration with Holston Valley Hospital.
1998 – Gary L. R. Bullard came to FPC as the 9th Senior Minister
2000 – The Interfaith Hospitality (later became Family Promise) opened their Day Center in our Hufford House on Charlemont Street.
2001 – The Meals on Wheels program began preparing an average of 130 meals in our kitchen five days per week.
2004 – The Congregational Care Program began with each deacon responsible for caring for a portion of the congregation through regular contact.
2005 – David Cagle became the 10th head of staff, leading a congregation of 745 members.
2006 – After 38 years at FPC, BSA Troop 50 was disbanded
2008 – a 3-year covenant relationship in Guatemala with Living Waters for the World began as we installed water purification systems in several locations
2009 – Memorial Garden and Columbarium dedicated at FPC
2010 – History/Centennial Committee formed to plan for preservation of our 100-year history and execute a Centennial Celebration in 2017. Began twice yearly programs on pastorates of each of our past ministers.
2011 – Old Fellowship Hall in basement remodeled
2012-14 – Session and Diaconate restructuring. Space donated for Community Garden. History Room organized and shared with congregation.
2015 – Delegation from sister church Bethel in Guatemala visits Kingsport
2017 – Centennial Celebration held to commemorate 100 years of First Presbyterian in Kingsport. Kemper Huber called as Interim Minister when David Cagle leaves church.
2018 – Holy Cow Congregational Survey Conducted. Campus wide WIFI installed
2019 – SALT Sunday School Class hosts “clean-out the church” garage sale. FPC group visits Bethel Church in Guatemala. Congregation calls Mike Shelton as Senior Pastor.