In 2019, First Presbyterian Church of Houston celebrated its 180th anniversary. In the many years leading up to this milestone and the time since, FPC has been a community committed to following Jesus’ example of open-handed service.
We firmly believe that God placed First Presbyterian Church here—in this growing and changing neighborhood, in the heart of this city of opportunity and innovation, to have a profound impact for the sake of the gospel. And being Here to Serve remains at the heart of our vision for the future.
To learn more about the history of FPC, take a moment to view our clickable timeline.
The Presbyterian Foreign Mission sent Rev William Allen to the Republic of Texas as a missionary to spread the gospel and build a church. Prior to his arrival there were no churches in Houston.
On Easter Sunday 1839 an invitation was given to those present who felt willing and prepared to unite in the formation of a Presbyterian Church in this city (Houston) by Rev William Allen in the Texas Senate Chamber.
Presbyterian Church builds the first church building in Houston built at Main and Capitol.
Sam Houston attended First Presbyterian Church.
First building burned as a result of a bakery fire. Second building built in same location.
Local Missions becomes a priority and 16 church plants were established. The first is now Grace Presbyterian.
Ladies Association founded by Rev. James McNeilly. They created the first cookbook in Texas to raise funds to purchase the parsonage. Charlotte Allen, whose husband founded Houston, served as President of the ladies organization and donated property.
New building on Main and McKinney. Stained glass can be seen in Palm Court today.
Electric lights added by the Ladies Association.
Sunday School class for Rice Students begins.
First foreign missionary to China.
Ellison Van Hoose becomes the choir director and Handel’s Messiah is sung for the first time in Houston, which later became an FPC tradition.
Boy Scout troop established. FPC has the oldest active troop in Houston.
FPC begins weekly radio broadcast of sermons, the first church in Texas to do so.
Current location property is purchased, but plans are put on hold due to the depression and World War II.
Dr. Charles King called to be head pastor and serves as pastor for 28 years.
Building on Main and McKinney was destroyed in a fire. Without a building the congregation met in various locations, including First Methodist, Temple Beth Israel Synagogue and the Metropolitan Theatre.
Ground breaking for the current location at 5300 Main.
Current church building is complete. The first Sunday of worship was May 2. It was the first air-conditioned church in Texas.
With the help of Dr. King, Mo Ranch is purchased by Presbyterian Church and FPC begins annual summer retreat (King Dining Hall pictured).
The Fellowship Sunday School class begins to meet as the “Young Married Couples Class.” The class ran for 66 years (the longest-running class in FPC’s 175 year history) and ended on Sunday, June 28, 2015 with a standing ovation by the congregation.
Dr. Jack Lancaster is called and serves as head pastor until 1989. Hurricane Carla arrived during his first sermon at FPC.
Live television broadcast of services every Sunday.
Addition of Fellowship Hall, nursery and library.
Presbyterian School opens. Betty Baxter, one of the schools founding head, shaking hands with a student (a morning greeting tradition started by Betty which continues to this day).
Vic Pentz called, expanding children’s and youth ministries, and short-term mission trip opportunities.
Nehemiah Center is founded by a few women of the congregation.
Presbyterian School expands and adds grades 6-8
Addition of Lancaster Center
William Vanderblomen called, and starts the 11:05 contemporary service at FPC.
Jim Birchfield unanimously elected head pastor.
Main Street Ministries is founded to house the ministries of Operation ID, Shepherd Center and Holy Ground.
Holy Ground Garden is open.
Adoption of Vision 2020.
Staff member Jeremiah Morris and a team of FPC members and others birthed Seven Mile Road, a new church plant in Houston.
Dismissed from the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination to ECO A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians
First Project Flourish competition for social ventures begins
Main Street Fellowship leadership development program launches inaugural year
Church Plant launched: Kingdom Story Fellowship
Church Plant: Jericho Road Renewal
Here To Serve vision is introduced
Expansion of media capabilities to address the changing needs of the FPC community and those we are trying to reach