In July of 1931, 33 people signed a letter that began the process of becoming a church. We were officially organized on November 1, 1931 with 19 charter members who petitioned the Presbytery… “We the undersigned agree to walk together in the fellowship of Christian faith and we earnestly petition you to organize us into a Church of the Living God, promising to meet all our responsibilities as a Church in the strength of the Holy Spirit.” At first, members met in private homes and then services were held in the Calloway County Courthouse with hymnals borrowed from First Methodist Church and chairs borrowed from the Funeral Home. A lot of land was purchased for $4,000 and the First Building erected had a kitchen, a Pastor’s study and a small meeting house where worship, fellowship and study took place.
In 1950 there were 85 members worshiping together as a community of faith. By 1960 membership had increased to 120. As the membership increased, a sanctuary was built and dedicated on May 16, 1954. Stories abound about how church members came over after work and did much of the interior work themselves in order to keep down the cost of a new building. That new sanctuary was built without a steeple because the cost of $8,000 was too much. It wasn’t until 1970 that the congregation was able to support 100% financing of a full time ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament.
Our church name has changed periodically through the years. We were chartered as First Presbyterian Church but in 1946 the name was changed to College Presbyterian Church in recognition of the fact that outreach with and for college students was a primary focus of the church’s ministry. Twenty three years later, the name was changed back to First Presbyterian Church as the institution on the Murray campus changed its name from ‘college’ to ‘university.’
By 1970 more property was purchased and Lt. Colonel Carroll Guy, “Kelly,” demolished the existing house sitting on the lot with a hammer and truck. That house gave way to a graveled parking lot. Over the years minor and not so minor renovations were done to the existing structure, including the addition of the Stained Glass Window (now located in the Fellowship Hall) dedicated to the Glory of God in memory of Walter Steffan on September 20, 1992.
As the membership at our church has changed, and the structure of the church has changed, our ministry and mission have changed over time as well. In 1993 the Korean Fellowship began worshiping in our sanctuary as we extended hospitality to another Presbyterian Fellowship.
In more recent years, we have purchased the “South Property” where the Dinh House was demolished for parking lot expansion and the “Emma Story” house at 1606 Poplar to house our Campus Ministry activities. In September of 2006 we made a commitment to renovate our facility. On September 10th we had a Ground Breaking Service for our current sanctuary. All of the old facility was taken down except the original sanctuary which has become our current Fellowship Hall. During the construction project, Sunday School and Worship were held at Wrather Museum on MSU’s campus. And on September 9, 2007 we had a joyful celebration as we dedicated our new building. We were most proud of the fact that the building project was completed on time and under budget! Today First Presbyterian Church has a membership of 175 and we are still “walking together in the fellowship of Christian faith!” We give thanks to God that the work of this church, begun by other hands, continues to be carried on today. We celebrate all who would come and join us in this very special place.