Welcome to www.n-georgia.com Discover The First Presbyterian Church in Brunswick Georgia - In 1997, the First Presbyterian Church of Brunswick celebrated the 130th anniversary of the church’s organization. Stay and Play in GA!
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The Church was organized on February 17, 1867, with 15 members. Two of the charter members were black. The first building was dedicated on December 18, 1873.

At that time, there was no planing mill in Brunswick Georgia, so selected pine for all inside work, including doors and windows, etc., was sent to Boston to be finished. Cook Bros. (great-grandfather and great-great uncle of George Cook) furnished all the framing and lumber as part of their donation. The bell was sent from Troy, New York, but cracked and had to be replaced in 1892. The Ladies Aid cushioned the seats and carpeted the floor.

The first pastor of the Church was The Rev. S.H. Bell of Long Creek, NC. He officially became the pastor the night the Church was dedicated on December 18, 1873 (at that time Presbyterian Churches were not dedicated until they were completely paid for). First Presbyterian was admitted to Savannah Presbytery in 1874.

The pastor’s home was erected in 1887 at the northwest corner of Union and George Streets at a cost of $3,800.00.

In 1890, the statistical report to Savannah Presbytery shows 152 communicants and total gifts totaling $3,331.10.

The sanctuary was enlarged in 1893 through the south end of the building (called a lecture room and used for prayer meeting). Another addition was made in 1914 and the cost of $4,600.00 was paid in 1918.

In the spring of 1899, electric fixtures were installed, and in May, 1916, concealed lights were added. In 1902, the church had 184 members and giving totaled $2,519.55.

In 1926, there were 208 members and for the first time the Church adopted a budget. Gifts that year amounted to $10,300.00. Members also paid their share for the paving of George Street. During this time, the Sunday School was reorganized with graded lessons. A bus was used to bring youngsters from outlying districts to Sunday School, as well as many private cars. A Scout cabin was built on the Church lot and new carpets and pew covers were put in.

By 1938, the Church had 342 members and gifts were $6,257.00. Vacation Bible School was started that year and First joined with the Brunswick Ministerial Association in promoting joint evening services during the summer. In 1940, radio equipment was installed to broadcast the Church Services.
Historic First Presbyterian Church in Brunswick GA
During World War II, there were 71 men and women from First Presbyterian serving in the armed forces, four died in the war. Also during this time, Sunday School and prayer meetings were started on St. Simons, which led to the organization of the St. Simons Presbyterian Church in September, 1946. First Church had held Sunday School programs and prayer meetings on St. Simons for many years. First Church returned to the St. Simons Church all monies received from the Sunday School and contributed $50.00 per month for a year after its organization. Twenty-two members from First Church became Charter members of the St. Simons Church.

The baptismal font was presented to the Church in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Palmer Stacy in 1943.

In 1944, the old Manse became a Sunday School building and the pastor moved to another house. In 1948, the Church purchased a house at 607 Union Street at a cost of $14,000.00.

In 1952, the Sunday School Building was moved across Union Street on a lot acquired by the Church at a cost of $4,000.00 to make way for a new educational building. The program was started as a memorial to those men and women who served in WWII, and the cost was approximately $120,000.00.

This included a new heating system for the entire Church, painting and restoring the old part, new furnishings, new roof, and moving the manse across Union Street. The Church borrowed $30,000.00, but this debt was paid off and the building was dedicated in 1952.

After the Jekyll Island causeway was built in 1954, a Church was organized on Jekyll Island. Many members contributed to the building fund and First Church donated the old Communion Service to the church.

In 1960, the Church had 544 members and total contributions were $36,690.00. The Vickers property on Union Street was purchased at a cost of $28,000.00 and the sanctuary was renovated and extended. The chancel was changed entirely. A new Hillgreen, Lane and Co., pipe organ was installed, replacing the organ bought second-hand which, in turn, had succeeded the first one, bought by the church in 1899. New lights were installed in memory of Clyde Taylor, Sr., an elder in the Church for nearly 50 years. Sunday School rooms and a recreation room for the young people were built. New carpets, pew cushions, and air conditioning were also added.

At the end of 1966, the church had 495 members and total giving was $52,190.00.

In the fall of 1967, The Rev. Daniel R. Thomas was called to serve.

In 1968, the old manse was sold for $7,500.00, and the Altama Presbyterian Chapel was formed, and in 1969 the Altama Church was organized. Seventy of the 97 charter members came from First Church. Also in 1969, the Rev. John Law, a child of First Presbyterian, conducted the pre-Easter inspirational services at our church.

In 1970, the congregation voted to institute the rotation of elders, serving for a term of six years. The church had 434 members, and contributions were $48,277.00. The young people made banners and chrismons.

Presbyterian women in 1971 rolled bandages and sent them to Korea, along with sample drugs, warm clothes and 34 new blankets. These women were known as the “Holy Rollers” and the “Holy Tearers.” The church also established a church improvement fund.

In 1972, the report to the Presbytery shows 389 members with total contributions $55,378.00. In 1973, undershepherd groups were formed to encourage church attendance.

Children’s sermons were begun in 1975 and the Good Samaritan Committee was established. The church was painted and the Educational Building received a new roof. The roof was paid for from the church improvement fund.

In 1976, a budget of $59,250.00 was accepted. The communion chalice and paten, given in memory of John E. Morris, were dedicated and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was observed by using this gift. The congregation voted to change the number of elders to 12 with terms of 4 years each. The annual Christmas program was joined by the Children’s Choir, the Handbell Choir and the Adult Choir as they performed the sacred story of Jesus’ birth in words, music and songs.

Prayer breakfasts were instituted in 1977 to show appreciation to civic leaders and to call members to Christian citizenship. The Children’s Church group moved into a separate room that had been painted and furnished especially for them. After listening to the Children’s message, the children left and went to the new room for Bible stories, related arts and crafts.

In 1978, on Palm Sunday, a Grand Piano was dedicated at the morning service. It was bought with the money given as memorial gifts. Outside organizations were invited to use the Fellowship Hall for meetings, including Girl Scout Brownies, Mental Health Association, and the Old Town Preservation Group. The Women of the Church held a family night supper monthly, flowers were taken to shut-ins, and Valentine cookies were sent to the college students.

In 1979, the membership of the church was 390. “A Hunger Task Force” was led by the Rev. Richard Bass, with representatives from several churches in the community. Twenty large food baskets were carried to those in need at Christmas. The Women of the Church hosted the Women of Savannah Presbytery’s annual meeting.

The sidewalks around the church were restored in 1980. Visitors from Mexico came and spoke at a covered dish supper. Money was raised for auction machine for the St. Croix Hospital in Haiti.

The Mid-Highs began making Christmas stockings to take to the children in the Glynn County Health Department Orthopedic Clinic in 1981. This continued in 1982, along with the Senior Highs decorating the Christmas tree, delivering Christmas baskets to the needy and singing Christmas Carols for the “shut-ins”. A proposal was made by the congregation to provide the pastor with a housing allowance instead of the manse as formerly provided.

The 110th birthday of the dedication of the sanctuary was held in 1983. A new ramp was also dedicated. New brick steps replaced the old concrete ones at the church entrance and the manse was sold. This was also the year of the reunion of The Presbyterian Church U.S. and the United Presbyterian Church to form The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The Session and the Diaconate were merged in 1984. Sister church relationships were established with three churches in Mexico.

In 1985, the ceramic nativity set was donated by Mrs. Bernice Smith. The Rev. David McDonald, a son of the First Presbyterian, preached when the new class of elders, his mother being one, were installed. Church membership was 321.

250 years of Presbyterianism was celebrated in Georgia in 1986. Two thousand Presbyterians gathered in Darien for this historical celebration. Two Palestine women visited and spoke about their Christian experiences and concerns in Palestine. A prayer chain was formed.

In 1987, the Presbyterian College choir from Clinton, S.C. were invited to come to First and perform. Rob Vernon was one of the 49 members of this choir. The Rev. Robert B. Allman was hired to be an Interim Associate Pastor.

New pew cushions were purchased for the sanctuary in 1988. Church membership totaled 342. The Building Blocks support group was started to help abused women.

The General Assembly Choir from Montreat-Anderson College presented a concert of sacred music in 1989. Food, clothing, money and workmen were dispatched to the Charleston, South Carolina area which was devastated by Hurricane Hugo. In addition, a spiritual retreat at Epworth was canceled because of the hurricane. The Women of the Church filled two hundred Rehydration Kits for the Medical Benevolence Association.
In 1990, the Church steeple was repaired at the cost of $40,000.00. Rev. Dr. Daniel R. Thomas retired. The Rev. Susan Dobbs was ordained as associate pastor. In the fall of 1991, the Rev. Charles R. Traylor was called to be pastor. The Church was on the Downtown tour of Sacred Places and a reception and an organ recital was held afterwards. The Senior Highs repaired the Chrismons made in 1970 and several new symbols were added.

Church membership at the beginning of 1992 was 282 and gifts pledged to the church totaled $135,000.00. In March, an 8:15 a.m. Sunday Worship service was started. Wednesday night adult enrichment classes began as part of An Adventure in Holistic Living. As many as 60 people gathered weekly for table fellowship, worship and study. In the spring, the organ was repaired and solid state electronics were installed.

During the past 125 years, the Church has had 18 ministers, 3 associate/assistant pastors, 4 interim pastors and 3 supply pastors.

On June 16, 1996, Rev. Greg Garis was installed as Pastor. The church had 250 members and the giving for 1996 was $158,433.00. Rev. Garis has held special studies during Advent and Lent and has lead a Church-wide retreat.

On Easter, 1997, a children’s message was added again to the Sunday morning worship service and a special activity would take place after the message for children in 3rd grade and under. On Pentecost, 1997, the church celebrated with members from Second Presbyterian Church, Altama Presbyterian Church, Jekyll Island Community Presbyterian Church and St. Simons Presbyterian Church the 130th Anniversary of the church being organized. Dr. Charlie Shedd, who once was pastor of the Jekyll Island Church, was the special speaker.

Reverend Lou Ellen Burdick became Associate Pastor for Christian Education on November 12, 2000.

The church has recaptured the ministry and mission it once had in the past. “The Little Church with the Big Heart” was the slogan placed on a 1930 Order of Worship of the Church. This still adequately expresses who and what we are as a church of Jesus Christ. We are a loving and caring congregation who extends the ministry of Jesus to our members, those in the community and world.

Phone and Address
Phone: 912-265-3400 - Prayer Line 912-261-1547 - Address: 1105 Union Street, Brunswick Georgia 31520 - Glynn County
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