1904 – 2004: Celebrating 100 Years
The First Presbyterian Church of Texarkana was organized in 1894 with a membership of both Arkansas and Texas residents meeting in a building located at Third and Maple Streets. In 1904, members withdrew to organize the First Presbyterian Church in Arkansas. There were 187 charter members that worshiped in the Methodist Church at Fourth and Hazel, which is now used by the Salvation Army.
The church was built in its present location in 1905, and Reverend F. E. Maddox of Little Rock began his work as the first pastor of the church. The first service held in the present sanctuary was on June 3, 1906, less than two years after it was begun. In 1908, reverend Maddox resigned to start the Congregational Church in Texarkana, Texas, taking with him 138 members of the congregation. In 1911, the church purchased its first Manse at 320 East Fifth Street. The women of the church assumed this obligation since the church was in debt due to the split in membership.
As the membership grew and the church received many generous donations, the church undertook a number of capital improvements, including adding the Education Building in 1954, renovating the sanctuary in 1961, and enlarging the Education Building in 1986. In 2003, the church purchased the two buildings to the East with plans for expansion and community outreach programs.
First Presbyterian Church has answered the community’s call in sponsoring programs. In 1917, during World War I, the church provided a Red Cross Sewing Room in which the women knitted sweaters and socks for the soldiers and made and rolled bandages. Among the community programs and agencies the church began are Texarkana Special Education Kindergarten (now Opportunities, Inc.), Habitat for Humanity, the Community Mental Health Association, the Refugee Resettlement program and English Tutorial Program (Monday School). Along with Pines Presbytery, the church has been and continues to be a generous contributor to the Randy Sam’s Homeless Shelter. The church also sponsors a Boy Scout Troop, Al Anon and Al Ateen, and Federal Retirees. The Wednesday after school inJoy Program offers children an opportunity for spiritual growth through Bible study, music and recreation. The Angel Quilt ministry provides handmade quilts for warmth and comfort for cancer patients. Believing that our Christian faith should be exercised in all of life, the First Presbyterian Family has always had an influence out of proportion to its size in the professions, business, leadership, public service and elected office.
The music ministry is First Presbyterian Church’s avenue toward making a joyful noise to our Lord. In 1986, the Bell Tower with its ring of eight bronze bells cast by the Taylor Foundry, England, was furnished through memorials and generous gifts from members. Ringers from all over the country and England come to our church occasionally for a Change Ringing Festival. Five octaves of Schulmerich hand bells and three octaves of hand chimes add to many services and events. The new church Casavant pipe organ, installed in 2000 is central to the music ministry, and the most recent acquisition of a Kawaii grand piano for the sanctuary further enhances this impressive program. The Annual Noon Advent Concerts have become a highlight of the Christmas Season, not only within our church, but also within the community.
First Presbyterian Church continues to look to the future with humility and hope through our God.
We envision First Presbyterian Church, Texarkana, Arkansas, as a family of faith, worshiping through evangelism and outreach, nurturing all believers, and bringing forth new disciples.