The Founding

The First Presbyterian Church of Griffin started with six members lead by the Rev. Henry L. Deane. They met in an old warehouse located on what is now Broad Street. The members sat on sacks of corn and other goods, which filled the warehouse. In the first five months they grew by 67% to ten members.

Sidney Clopton Lanier and John Henry "Doc" Holiday

Sidney Clopton LanierOf special note from the early minutes: "Sunday morning, March 31, 1844, Wm. Thompson, infant son of Jas. S. and Jane E. Long; Sidney Clopton, infant son of Robt. S. and Mary J. Lanier; Ellen Elizabeth and Samuel Henry, infant children of Henry L. and Catherine T. Deane received the ordinace of infant baptism." Sidney Clopton Lanier was born on February 3, 1842 in Macon, Georgia. Soon after his birth, his family moved to the town of Griffin, and then they returned to Macon when Sidney was six years old. Lanier later became Poet Laureate of Georgia.

On August 14, 1851 in Griffin, Georgia, John Henry Holliday was born to Henry Burroughs and Alice Jane Holliday. Church records state: "John Henry, infant son of Henry B. and Alice J. Holliday, received the ordinance of baptism on Sunday, March 21, 1852, at the First Presbyterian Church in Griffin." Doc Holliday went on to become a legend in the Wild West, participating in the infamous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

The First Building

First Presbyterian Church BuildingIn 1848, more than six years after the founding, the first church building was built. The church was built on an acre lot received as a grant from Gen Lewis Lawrence Griffin, the founder of the City of Griffin. This lot was located at the corner of North Hill and Chapel streets. The building cost $2,000, $150 of which was received from the Church Extension Committee of Presbytery, the rest being raised by the members. On Sunday morning, August 16, 1848, the session adopted the following resolutions: "Whereas the meeting-house now building is expected to be finished shortly; resolved, that it be dedicated to the worship of Almighty God, and that appropriate religious services be held on the first Sabbath in October next, for that purpose, Resolved, second, that as soon as the house is finished and dedicated, that a Sabbath School be opened in it for the instruction of the children and youth of our congregation." The Griffin Presbyterian Sunday School was organized October 22, 1848 with ten teachers and forty-six pupils.

The Second Building

First Presbyterian Church Second BuildingHaving outgrown current facilities, the church began construction of a new church building in the spring of 1888. The corner stone was laid. Engraved on it are these words, "Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Corner Stone. – Ephesians 2:20." The corner stone now sits on the current church grounds. The first service was held in the new church November 4, 1888. The full report of the Treasure of the Building Committee reports that the lot cost $1420; the building $10,016; the furnishing, which was done by the ladies of the church, $450. The Ladies Society also donated $1236.20 to the building fund. The interest on the building fund was $1436.01.

On December 17, 1888, the Building Committee was instructed to move the bell from the old church to the new. The church bell had been purchased in 1871. This bell is currently on the grounds of the present church. The old church and half-acre lot were sold for $1000 and this was added to the building fund. On February 2, 1890, at a session meeting, the Moderator announced that the building was free from debt of any kind.

The Pilcher Pipe Organ

Pilcher Pipe OrganIn 1894 a Pilcher Pipe Organ was purchased at a cost of $1,425. This organ was completely rebuilt in 1978 when it was moved to the current sanctuary. The organ was the 25th organ built by the Henry Pilcher Organs Builders of Louisville KY. It originally had manual bellows. Later a hydraulic pump that operated by city water pressure powered the organ. This was not entirely satisfactory as the pump leaked and flooded the basement on many occasions. At some point an electric blower was added. In 1993, John Farmer of North Carolina reworked the pipes and added another rank for a fuller and richer tone. A new bench was added that allows the organist to adjust the seat height for more comfort while playing. All original parts of the organ, including the bench and the mirror have been preserved.

The Current Church Building

First Presbyterian Church Stained GlassOn Sunday, February 19,1967, the Building Planning Council recommended that consideration be given to moving the church to a new location. On April 23rd, the congregation voted 127 to 81 in favor of the recommendation. On September 24th, they voted to purchase five acres of land at the intersection of Memorial Drive, Futral Road and East College Street for the future location of the church. In 1975 the architect's plans for the new building were approved, and the Planning Council was directed to develop a plan for financing the new facility. 1977 was the year of decision, after many years of meetings and discussions, planning, and prayers, the decision was made to build the new church building at a total cost of $560,000. The groundbreaking ceremony took place October 2, 1977. Some of the stained class windows from the old church were moved to the new building, and the Pilcher pipe organ (purchased in 1894) was completely rebuilt. The church bell, originally purchased in 1871 that had hung in the original church building was moved to the grounds of the new building. The corner stone was removed from the old church and now sits near the bell on the current grounds.

September 10, 1978 was the last Sunday in the old church, After the worship service that morning, members of the congregation went home, ate lunch, and returned at 2 PM with trucks, station wagons, and other vehicles. In four hours everything movable had been transferred to the new building. The first service in the new building was September 17, 1978. The dedication ceremony was held November 19, 1978.

On August 24, 1980 the congregation voted to build an Activities Building. It was completed in July 1981.

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