First Presbyterian church, Kerrville, began as a missionary effort of what was then known as the "Northern" Presbyterian Church, i.e., the "Presbyterian Church in the United States of America." In 1888, an evangelist, Dr. William Buchanan, serving in the "Northern" church's Western Texas Presbytery, came to Kerrville and organized First Presbyterian Church. At that time the congregation met at the "Old Union Church house," a community building housing several small congregations. First Presbyterian Church, Kerrville, remained in the "Northern" church until 1899 when this congregation transferred into the "Southern" church, or as it was then known, the "Presbyterian Church in the United States."
In 1905 the Synod of Texas established Westminster Encampment in Kerrville, bringing Presbyterians from all over the state to the Hill Country. In 1912, Dr. W.P. Dickey was called as pastor and under his leadership the church grew in every way. By 1920 the church's membership was 276 and the budget came to $8,000.00. In 1929 Dr. Dickey, having served the congregation for some 17 years, resigned due to poor health.
In 1930 Dr. Paul S. Van Dyke was called as pastor of First Presbyterian Church. Dr. Van Dyke, a native of Missouri, had been a missionary to Japan for several years. Dr. Van Dyke's ministry here was fruitful in many ways. He organized a Boy Scout troop; he started a chapel out at the Divide, a ranching community 35 miles west of town; he built the congregation up in every way. While he was here a new manse was presented to the church by Mrs. A.C. Schreiner.
In 1944 Dr. Van Dyke became superintendent of Home Missions of Western Texas presbytery. For several years the church benefited from the work of a number of visiting pastors. In 1948, Dr. William M. Logan was installed as pastor. Bill Logan was a great teacher. A new educational building was constructed under his leadership at a cost of $35,000.00 This building is still very much in use today. Also, under Bill Logan's leadership, a new church was planted in Fredericksburg, Memorial Presbyterian Church. By 1950, the congregation in Kerrville numbered some 500 souls.
In 1953 Dr. Logan left Kerrville to become pastor of University Presbyterian Church in Austin. He was succeeded by the Rev. Richard Ryan, who was then pastor in Vanderbuilt, Texas. Dick Ryan was a great pastor who loved his people and was beloved himself. He served this congregation for some 19 years, leaving to become Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio. During Dick Ryan's ministry here, the church grew in numbers and witness. The Divide Chapel was completed in 1956. A live broadcast featuring Bible studies with Andy Edington, President of Schreiner College, was presented each Sunday over KERV. In 1956, First Presbyterian church could claim over 650 members. In 1958 a new Fellowship Hall (now called the Ryan Building) was completed.
The Rev. Neil Weatherhogg preached his first sermon as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Kerrville, in June of 1974. He had served previously in Aldine, Texas, near Houston. Also in 1974, under the leadership of his wife, Janet, the pre-school program known as "Children's Corner" was established. This program is thriving at the present time with over 85 children. In 1981 the sanctuary was remodeled and the educational building expanded. In 1982 Rev. Weatherhogg accepted a call to the Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Rev. David Stringer succeeded Weatherhogg as pastor, coming in 1983 from St. Stephen's Presbyterian Church in Irving, Texas. David Stringer served as pastor here until 1988. During his tenure the church established a Stephen's Ministry program and celebrated its Centennial (1988).
In January of 1989 this congregation called Dr. Thomas W. Currie III as pastor. Dr. Currie had been pastor at the Brenham Presbyterian Church. During the past several years this congregation has built a new Family Life Center, expanded its youth ministry, supported the creation of Christian Assistance Ministry (a ministry to indigents), HOPES Kitchen (a Saturday noon free lunch) and expanded Children's Corner. Tom left First Presbyterian Church in June of 2001 to become Dean at Union-PSCE at Charlotte, NC.
On Sunday, October 27, 2002, the Pastor Nominating Committee submitted their recommendation that the congregation issue a call to The Rev. Dr. Buran Phillips. Dr. Phillips accepted the position and preached his first sermon on January 5, 2003, the first Sunday in our new sanctuary. Dr. Phillips and his family were here until December 2005.
Our current pastor, The Rev. Dr. John W. Wurster, was installed on June 24, 2007. Dr. Wurster came to us from First Presbyterian Church in Findlay, Ohio. We are so excited to begin this new phase in the life of our church.
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