About Our Church
First Presbyterian Church History
The Presbyterian Church in Milledgeville was organized on June 11, 1826, with six charter members. The Reverend Joseph Stiles (Yale College and Andover Seminary graduate) and Dr. John Brown (former president of Georgia University) were primarily responsible for the organization of the church. The church has had 26 installed pastors and currently has approximately 200 members.
The first church building was constructed on the Statehouse Square on land provided by the State Legislature. It stood adjacent to the Methodist, Baptist and Episcopal churches on the square. After several renovations of the original church, it was replaced by the present building. With the laying of the cornerstone, which was brought from Scotland and laid in 1904, the name of the church was changed to the First Presbyterian Church of Milledgeville. The new building was dedicated in 1906. In 1952, major renovations were made to the building.
What we believe
Presbyterians trace their history to the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation. Our heritage, and much of what we believe, began with the French lawyer John Calvin (1509-1564), whose writings crystallized much of the Reformed thinking that came before him.
Calvin did much of his writing from Geneva, Switzerland. From there, the Reformed movement spread to other parts of Europe and the British Isles.
Many of the early Presbyterians in America came from England, Scotland and Ireland. The first American Presbytery was organized at Philadelphia in 1706. The first General Assembly was held in the same city in 1789. The first Assembly was convened by the Rev. John Witherspoon, one of the few ordained ministers to sign the Declaration of Independence.
We are a Matthew 25 church! Our congregation has accepted the PC(USA)’s invitation to follow Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 25:31–46 by becoming active disciples and making a difference in our community and the world. As part of our Matthew 25 commitment, we pledge to embrace one or more of these three areas of focus: • Building congregational vitality by deepening and energizing our faith and growing as joyful leaders and disciples actively engaged with our community as we share the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed • Dismantling structural racism by fearlessly applying our faith to advocate and break down the systems, practices and thinking that underlie discrimination, bias, prejudice and oppression of people of color • Eradicating systemic poverty by acting on our beliefs and working to change laws, policies, plans and structures in our society that perpetuate economic exploitation of people who are poor To learn more and for ideas on how to get involved and do your vital part as a member of a Matthew 25 church, please visit pcusa.org/matthew25.
The First Presbyterian Church of Milledgeville is saddened to hear of the decision of First Methodist Church on Log Cabin to leave the United Methodist denomination. While the affirmative vote was sustained by a reportedly significant majority, there was some opposition; any time a church holds such a vote, there will be some members who are hurt in the process. We pray for our neighbor church, but most especially for those who most acutely feel the rift.
We recognize that our neighbor church—as do most churches—seeks to honor God in their theology and policies. We are, however, disappointed in this turn of events. As a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA), we believe we are Spirit-led to proudly stand with our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, supporting their rights in all aspects of life, be it marriage and family, vocational fulfillment, access to appropriate healthcare, and freedom from discrimination. We affirm the wondrous diversity of God’s good creation, including the various expressions of gender and sexuality with which each of us is divinely gifted. We are determined to be a safe and affirming place of worship and fellowship for non-heteronormative and non-cisgender persons and their families and friends.
As we begin Pride Month, we witness to the divine origins of creation in all its wondrous diversity. The Gospel of John proclaims that not one thing came into being apart from the Son, that every human being is therefore a precious gift from God. We believe that no human being exists apart from God’s loving, creating hand. While many voices are raised in opposition to and condemnation of LGBTQIA+ people, we affirm the personhood of each individual, complete with and in their gender and sexual identity. We especially witness to the truth of trans individuals of all ages and affirm their right to live in the fullest expression of who God created them to be: one of the many and beautiful manifestation of divine imagination and will. We are committed to being a safe place for LGBTQIA+ persons. You are seen; you are loved; you are affirmed.
Signed this first day of June, 2023,
by the Session of the First Presbyterian Church of Milledgeville, GA