Thomas Jefferson was President when First Presbyterian Church met for the first time. Since then, the congregation has continued to worship in the original wood-framed sanctuary, but nearly everything else has changed.
The church has taken the surrounding city as its mission field and is actively pushing back physical, personal and economic decay. Bucking national declines in church participation, First Presbyterian has seen steady growth, especially among young professional families.
But the historic campus hadn’t kept up. Windows in the 200-year-old sanctuary hadn’t worked for years. Adult classes struggled to find the space they needed. The regular presence of a uniformed off-duty policeman at the intersection of three preschool entrances undermined the confidence it was intended to give.
- Use the historic campus in modern ministry
- Be better stewards of buildings and resources
- Demonstrate commitment to the City and its people
- Restore the sanctuary and make careful changes that accommodate a variety of worship styles (Completed 2013)
- Construct 28,000 square feet of new space for preschoolers and children, addressing ministry and safety concerns (Completed 2017)
- The worship environment is transformed by reconstructed windows, new lighting and controls, and updates to floors, walls and ceilings.
- A simplified slate platform and a pair of “garages” allow transitions between traditional worship, contemporary worship, weddings, and other occasions to be accomplished in moments rather than hours.
- The new Children’s Ministry Center started houses for babies through 5th-graders with safe, controlled access. Spaces designed for dance, music and visual arts instruction can be used on Sunday morning and for community ministry.
A new organ console can be slipped into it’s own “garage”, allowing quick transitions between differing worship experiences.