Greeneville Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Feeding the Community, Body and Soul
Organized in 1841 with thirty charter members by the Rev. Isaac S. Bonham, the Greeneville CP Church has pointed its spire heavenward since 1860 from its present location on North Main and Church Streets. Here Pastor John P. Holtsinger began construction of the first unit of the present building on a lot purchased from Senator (afterwards, President) Andrew Johnson for $1200. This spot has been the scene of a Cumberland Presbyterian Newspaper, The American Presbyterian, edited by the Rev. Joseph B. Dobson in the 1850’s.
Pastor Holtsinger was not destined to see the building completed until after the War Between the States, in which he served as a chaplain. The church also saw military duty serving as a stable and hospital, and was “wounded” with the cannon ball in the front wall on September 4, 1864. On that same day Gen. John H. Morgan was killed in the Williams garden across the street. Col. John H. Doughty completed the building in 1875, and the exterior woodwork of the cornice and steeple were designed and executed by James F. Fields and Robert D. Maloney. Done in the style of the Greek Revival, the church is on the National Register of Historic Places. The spire is surmounted by a figure of the Angel Gabriel in gold leaf.
After the War, the congregation was quite small, but by 1900 grew to more than a hundred. In the early 1900’s, a very large Men’s Bible Class came into being, and the second unit—an educational wing—was completed on the Church Street side in 1926. In 1922, the Greeneville Church entertained the General Assembly, the highest court of our denomination.
A steady, continuous growth through the mid-century years called for expanded facilities, and in 1947, adjacent property was purchased. Starting in 1949 with the restoration of the church spire, many new facilities were added in a ten-year building program. This consisted of a complete remodeling of the old units, including chapel and sanctuary, and construction of two new educational units which include the fellowship hall, kitchen, class rooms, parlor and church offices. In the 1960’s a property next door which housed the YMCA was purchased, and the church furnished this facility free of charge for “Y” activities as a part of our united outreach.
In the late 1980’s, the church again saw the need for expanded facilities. A building and lot west of the sanctuary on Church Street was purchased and incorporated into the present structure, providing space for large gatherings and Sunday School classes. The church continues to offer its space to outside groups as a part of its mission to the community.
Across the years, this church has extended its love and concern to all those seeking a warm Christian fellowship. There are now over 350 active members and they come from more than twenty denominational backgrounds. While giving full support to the program of the denomination, this church is yet ecumenical in the best sense of the term. It welcomes to its worship and membership those of all persuasions who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, and it works in harmony with all other Christians of the community to the glory of God and for the service of humankind.
If you are interested in volunteering to help archive historic photos and documents, research more of the church's past and help preserve the rich history of Greeneville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, learn more about our Heritage Ministry.
What does it mean to be a Cumberland Presbyterian?
The Cumberland Presbyterian Church (CPC) began almost 200 years ago during the fiery revivals of the early 1800's now referenced as "the Second Great Awakening." Today the CPC spans the globe, but is most prominent in the mid and southeastern United States.We follow the Presbyterian form of church government where the business and life of the church is managed by Elders elected to three year terms by the congregation at the annual Denomination Supper. The terms are staggered so that there are always new elders working with those who have already served one or two years of their term.
We baptize infants when the parents are eager to commit to the responsibility of Christian parenthood and adult believers, but always with the clear understanding that it is one's clear profession of faith that mark's one as Christ's own. The Bible is our ultimate standard for all matters of faith and practice.
If you would like to know more about being a Cumberland Presbyterian, the pastor would welcome the opportunity to talk with you more about it. Copies of our Confession of Faith with scriptural references are always available upon request.
You may also enjoy visiting our denomination's web site at: www.cumberland.org