History of the Church
The Rev. O.G. Jones, a Tusculum College student who visited Erwin in 1887, returned to Erwin in June 1891 to begin the task of organizing a Presbyterian congregation in our town where no houses of worship were structurally completed. Beginning with two persons, Mr. and Mrs. Sills, who were the only Presbyterians in the County, the Rev. Mr. Jones petitioned Presbytery to organize this congregation on October 4, 1891. The 12-member congregation grew to 36 members by the following spring. Within three years the first sanctuary structure was erected for its membership then of 63 persons, a Sunday School of about 100 persons. In 1895 the pastor left the community. When Holston Presbytery of the U.S. (Southern) Church indicated it could no longer financially assist the Erwin congregation, the church transferred to the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (National) in April 1897.
The pastors of this congregation have been these:
1891 – The Rev. O.G. Jones
1908 – The Rev. R.F. Johnston
1911 – The Rev. Dr. F.J. Tyler
1914 – The Rev. F.A. Campbell
1916 – The Rev. J.P. Cotton
1920 – The Rev. Robert L. Houston
1924 – The Rev. R.O. Franklin
1932 – The Rev. Carl S. Miller
1949 – The Rev. Edmund D. Viser
1955 – The Rev. Wilbur R. Parvin
1962 – The Rev. Robert E. Kribbs
1970 – The Rev. Earle P. Barron
1988 – The Revs. Kathryn and David Cameron
1994 – The Rev. Thomas M.L. Wade
2001 – The Rev. R. Stephenson Rembert
2013 – The Rev. Stanley N. Webster
It was during the ministry of the Rev. R.O. Franklin that the present sanctuary was erected. The Memorial Annex Building to the north of the sanctuary was constructed in 1947 shortly before Pastor Miller concluded his ministry in Erwin. The first manse was built around 1910-1912, with the second manse constructed in 1966 on ground donated by Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt Tucker and a small adjacent 84’X90’ plot purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Lee Justice.
The Erwin Presbyterian Church has been very supportive of Missions and conscious of and responsive to local needs. The purpose of the Erwin Presbyterian Church is to fulfill God’s plan for his people by preaching, living, and promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ both here and around the world.
The Erwin Presbyterian Church was founded in 1891 by the Reverend Oliver Greene Jones, after graduating from Tusculum College and then Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. The church was organized on October 4, 1891 with twelve members. In January 1892 it was decided to build a brick church and Reverend Jones was married to Miss Cornelia O’Brien in that church on February 15, 1894. A Mission School was also formed and Superintendent Jones was asked by the County School Board to take over the public school by uniting the two school systems.
Plans for a new, larger church facility were begun in 1921. Funding was arranged in mid 1925 and construction began. The building was completed in July 1927, and on July 24, 1927, Dr. Samuel T. Tilson, President of Tusculum College preached the dedicatory sermon. An Estey Pipe Organ was purchased for $4500 and paid for by the women of the church. The total cost of the building was $60,000.
1940’s to Present
In 1948, a Memorial Annex Building was added to the church property. It was used as a Scout hall and meeting place for all church activities. A new manse was constructed in 1965-66. The old manse built in 1910 is currently being used in a neighborhood help program. The Annex building is being used as a youth gathering place.