Davidson Presbyterian Church, USA - History
The Davidson Presbyterian Church was organized on October 22, 1894 under the leadership of Reverend F. L. Brodie. during the twelve years that he served the Community, he ministered to twenty-eight communicants who lived in the rural sections surrounding the town of Davidson.In 1908, Reverend A. P. Corley began his ministry to this small congregation. Under his leadership, from 1908-1933, the membership grew to fifty-three, as a result of the growth in population.
The name, Davidson College Colered Presbyterian Church (USA) was changed in 1934 to Davidson United Presbyterian Church (USA), under the pastorate of Reverend F. M. Beaver. During his thirty-two years of ministry, the membership increased to one hundred fifty-three. This is the largest it has ever been during the history of the church. He was successful in renovating the original church both inside and outside into a beautiful edifice. In 1962, an Educational Building was erected, which added greatly to the program of the church.
Reverend L. A. Ellis was called in 1965 to fill the vacancy as result of Reverend Beaver’s Retirement. During his passionate, the church experienced another period of renovation. Central heat, air and beautiful stained glass windows were installed. His devotion and concern for every phase of church and community life was reflected in his interest and participation in many areas. Through his leadership, the members were made more more aware of their spiritual and Christian commitment to the mission of the church. He retired July 1983, after serving seventeen and a half years.
In August 1983, the Reverend Dr. Eugene Randall began serving as Moderator of our church. During his two and a half years of service, he provided excellent leadership and guidance. His constant encouragement and support enabled us to continue to move forward. During the time he worked with us he made us feel that we were strong enough to become self-supporting. In 1986, we no longer needed assistance from the Board of Missions to operate.
On February 1, 1986, after two and a half years without a minister, Reverend Mark A. Lomax from Columbus, Ohio was called to be the pastor of Davidson Presbyterian Church. It was the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the Church. During his four years, he generated new interest and encouraged greater involvement and participation in both Church and community activities. His concern for better housing for the poor and minorities was seen, that resulted in the project “Davidson Habitat for Humanity”.
The first house was built in 1988 for Brenda McCain. Nine more homes have been completed and two more are under construction. In December 1989 he dissolved his relationship with the congregation.
Upon the Session’s request to Presbytery, Reverend Dr. Eugene Randall became our Moderator. After serving a month he became ill, leaving us to obtain another Moderator.
In February 1990, Dr. John Kuykendall, President of Davidson College, was appointed Moderator for the duration of the year.
In February 1991, Reverend Robert L. Shirley, a retired Presbyterian minister, was named Temporary Supply Pastor of our Church. Under his leadership the “Ada Jenkins families & Career Development” was opened (the for Ada Jenkins Elementary School located on Gamble Street in Davidson, NC). A. Number of programs were begun and new ones are being added. He served as our part-time Interim Supply Pastor and Director of the Center until September 1993.
The Reverend Kenneth P. Stealing, Pastor of the New Hampton Presbyterian church in Charlotte, NC was named Moderator. He served until August of 1994. During the moderator ship of Reverend Stealing, the Church entered into a relationship with L. Bryant Parker to become Pastoral Intern. At the Presbyterian Church In Harrisburg, NC, to become the Moderator of the Session and to support L. Bryant Parker as Pastoral Intern of Davidson Presbyterian Church (USA).
On October 8, 1995, the Reverend Mr. L. Bryant Parker was ordained and installed as Pastor of Davidson Presbyterian Church (USA). During his tenure, he laid the groundwork for building a new church. He served until December 31, 1998.
Dr. Edward Newberry was assigned by the Committee on Ministry to be the Moderator of Davidson Presbyterian Church until 1999.
Upon Session’s request to Presbytery, Dr. Chester B. Johnston became Interim Pastor on March 15, 1999 thru December 11, 2003. Dr. Edward Newberry again was assigned by the committee on ministry to be moderator of Davidson Presbyterian Church until September 21, 2004.
As of September 22, 2004, Reverend Darrell A. Van Pelt is the new minister of Davidson Presbyterian Church (USA). He was ordained on October 31, 2004 as full time pastor. He has proven to be a strong dynamic leader for Davidson Presbyterian Church and community.