The First Presbyterian Church of Edmond began during the year following the Land Run of 1889. On August 3, 1889, G. C. Forster, a member of the first duly elected Edmond City Council, “instructed the City Clerk to issue certificates of three lots each for the Methodist, the Christian, and the Presbyterian Churches.”A Presbyterian Sunday School missionary, Mr. William Davis, with the Rev. John H. Aughey, canvassed Edmond and found about thirty people who said they would like to see a Presbyterian church started and were willing to work to bring it about. A small group of settlers met on March 2, 1890 in the territorial school house to hear the first sermon preached in Edmond by a Presbyterian minister.
That little white frame building is the only structure from the church’s past that still stands in its original location on Second Street just west of Boulevard. It was constructed largely through the efforts of the Ladies School Aid Society who raised money, not only for the lumber and construction of this first public school house in Oklahoma territory, but also for songbooks for use by the Edmond Union (Community) Sunday School, and to pay a public school teacher. The first services of the Methodist, the Christian, the Presbyterian, and the Baptist churches of Edmond were held in this building. Since the building is of such significance to local history, the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust has renovated it for use as a living history museum.
Organization was completed on Easter Sunday, April 6, 1890, making the First Presbyterian Church of Edmond the second oldest Presbyterian church in Oklahoma County. The pastor served several churches, therefore, he only preached in Edmond the first Sunday of each month. Sunday Schools were held in homes, with Mr. Davis as the Sunday School missionary, ministering to the people by visiting every claim house in the area. Not only did Mr. Davis carry some books, Bibles, and Testaments in the back of his spring wagon, but he also carried warm hoods, mittens, stockings and shoes, with occasional shawls for the mothers. In those days this area was considered part of the Home Mission Field and was the recipient of Missionary Barrels.
On July 31, 1891 the patent certificate for the formation of a corporation known as The First Presbyterian Church of Edmond was issued by the Secretary of the Territory of Oklahoma. The first church building, a frame structure, was completed at a cost of $1275.00 and was dedicated October 25, 1891. It stood near the northwest corner of Boulevard and Second Street. Under the urging of G. H. Fink, First Presbyterian Church became self-supporting in 1906 and at that time decided to “go forward” and the church bought lots for a new building on the southeast corner of Main Street and Boulevard. This is the present location of the Edmond Public Library. Construction began in the spring of 1907. It was said, “A listing of the entire membership of the church would be necessary to give the names of all the workers for the new building. Even the pastor, working early and late, might be found on the roof, nailing shingles, or helping to lay a floor. The entire new church building was a labor of love and was dedicated free of debt.” The beautiful stained glass windows were later removed when the building was torn down, with plans to store them until they could be used in a sanctuary to be built on the Rankin Street location. However, they were lost or broken. All that remains is the small mosaic, made from the broken stained glass by children in Vacation Bible School. This hangs in our church as a reminder of that beautiful building.
The decade of the 50’s began with a membership of 318 and a budget of $14,235. It was the foresight of the church at this time to purchase the land here at 9th and Rankin for $1500 an acre. Long range plans were begun with future growth in mind. This property was considered “out in the country” at that time. In 1962, the new sanctuary (now Fellowship Hall) was built and the first service was held on November 2. Outside this room hangs a small plaque honoring Jean Coyner Haug (1892-1966). Jean Haug started the first FPCE newsletter named “The Presbyteer” in the fall of 1954 when the church was without a pastor. If a weekly newsletter could reach every family of the congregation this would tie the members together and strengthen the church. Peg Skinner continued this weekly publication (single-handed on a Royal typewriter) until the computer took over. Furnishing the new church was no easy task, but again the members cooperated to make and build many of the things needed, or participate in fund-raising efforts. For many years, items of furniture that were lovingly and carefully made by members could be seen in use throughout the church.
In December of 1976, a contract was let for $374,405 for the construction of a new and larger sanctuary to the north of the original building. This entire area has now been completely remodeled for a beautiful and well equipped Youth Center. As we entered the decade of the 80’s, Edmond was in a boom time and population was increasing rapidly. Dr. Joel David Baker came as senior pastor in October, 1980 and served for almost 24 years. Under his leadership, community involvement and service to others reached an all-time high. Mobile Meals, Mothers of Preschoolers (M.O.P.S), Citizens Caring for Children (CCC), HOPE Center, Habitat for Humanity, Project READ, the community Thanksgiving Dinner and blood drives are just a few of the programs started under the direction of our members and with their great cooperation.
The Early Childhood Program of FPCE began in 1983 and has grown in size and quality. It received NAEYC Accreditation in 2002 and now serves more than 239 families with a staff of 31. In many cases, this program is the first contact with the church many people have before becoming members of FPCE. The Boy Scout Troop #78 has been sponsored by the church since 1930. A list of the many youth who, through the years, have become Eagle Scouts in Troop #78 would sound like a Who’s Who of Edmond leaders. Adult Scouting leaders have also received many national awards.
In 1986 ,dual tragedies hit Edmond in the form of a tornado in May and the Post Office Massacre in August. Our Church responded by providing help in many areas. As children and youth programs flourished, the church became multi-staffed in the ‘80s, adding a Minister of Christian Education, who was also the first woman pastor of FPCE. A Youth Pastor and a full time Director of Music were also employed. This decade ended with a year-long observance of the 100th anniversary of FPCE. To meet the needs of our growing church, several families left the church to charter Santa Fe Presbyterian Church of Edmond. FPCE continued to grow and in the early ‘90s, again the need to build became apparent. After much research, the Smith Wing and Family Life Center were built and dedicated on June 14, 1994. This provided space for many activities and new classrooms. The theme of the dedication was “Blessed to be a Blessing.”
When the General Assembly began to take a stand on several controversial issues that differed greatly with the convictions of members of FPCE, the Session voted on June 25, 2001, to become aligned with the Confessing Church Movement within the Presbyterian Church (USA). It was believed that staying in the denomination and working to bring it back in line with traditional Biblical teachings was the right thing to do. As the twentieth century came to a close, the church was still growing with three worship services and a staff of five ordained pastors. The concept of holding both traditional and contemporary services began in August of 2001. A task force first met in January of 1999 to study how to best meet the needs in the coming years. In that same year, the congregation voted to proceed with a $9.4 million expansion consisting of a sanctuary and undercroft to provide classrooms, conference rooms and choir facilities. This would be constructed on the south side of the current structure. An important part of budgeting included building one Habitat for Humanity house each year.
Rotational Sunday School for children began in 2002. In order to better serve children and youth, over 200 volunteers worked to plan and implement Kingdom Quest renovation of ten classrooms for Children’s Sunday School. In preparation for construction of the new sanctuary and undercroft a “Dream Team” was selected to work with architects, staff and all those involved in the construction to provide continuity and communication. This team was led by Derek Turner. They met 90 times, often for 2 hours each time and made hundreds of decisions to bring the project to its conclusion. A Congregational Transition Team was initiated and charged by Session, in March of 2002, to oversee, and make recommendations to Session regarding the transitions that would result from the expansion into new facilities.
To mark the last Sunday to hold worship in the “old” sanctuary, A Service to Remember was held on May 18, 2003. Its purpose was to count our blessings and recall significant events in the life of the church from December 1977 to May 2003. On June 7, 2003, a service of dedication of the present sanctuary took place. The beautifully furnished building, professionally decorated, continues to show the handwork of members who so faithfully serve God and the church.
In the summer of 2007, Dr. Mateen Elass was called as the Senior Pastor to further the church goal of exploring missional transformation. Reaching outside our physical facility, to bring the love of Christ and the necessities of life to those in need, has whetted our appetite to see what God has in store for you is next!
The church adopted its current mission statement in 1998: “We are a community of joyful Christians, being equipped as disciples and making disciples for Jesus Christ.” In 2011, FPCE adopted a new vision statement:In January of 2013, the FPCE congregation voted 815 to 55 (with 1 abstention) in favor of leaving PCUSA and joined ECO (Evangelical Covenant Order).