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Who We Are
About First Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)
First Presbyterian Church of Rock Hill is rooted in history – history of the country and of Upstate South Carolina. Its parent church, Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, was founded two years after the end of the American Revolution and within the boundary of the Catawba Indian Nation.
When the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad came through York County in 1852, a depot was established in what is now Rock Hill. It was immediately followed by a post office, the laying out of Main Street on the property of Alexander Templeton Black, and sale of land on Main Street for the church which became First Presbyterian. As the area assumed importance, Ebenezer devoted more resources and energy to its “chapel” three miles to the south. The two congregations continued jointly until 1869 when the Rock Hill church began its independent existence with the blessings of the Ebenezer congregation.
The strength of the Rock Hill church was made manifest not only by its growth but also by the extension of its influence in the entire community. As it had been formed as a mission church; so, it founded chapels which themselves grew to churches. Not limiting itself to home mission work, First Presbyterian Church accepted the responsibility for full-time support of a missionary to Korea. The church built Presbyterian High School on property that is now Winthrop University. The church grew in size, leadership, and influence. In 1905 the first pipe organ in Rock Hill was installed, and the church became and has remained a leader in local church music since. In 1913 it recognized the needs of the community and the growing importance of Winthrop College by organizing Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church and providing its first 192 members from its own congregation.
In 1952 the city of Rock Hill celebrated its centennial, and the wife of a former pastor, Mrs. Douglas Summers Brown was asked to write the centennial history which she entitled “City Without Cobwebs”. One could modify that title and apply it to First Presbyterian Church – A Church Without Cobwebs. It has grown, it has influenced, it has had friendly divisions and in 1974 an unhappy one, but it is without cobwebs. Its vision is clear, its path is onward and upward, its commitment to its community is solid and extensive, and its leadership is inspired and inspirational. To find out why and how, read further in this Website.