Dickinson’s History

church paint

On September 10, 1810 a small group, which called itself the Presbyterian Congregation of Walnut Bottom made an application to the Presbytery of Carlisle for the services of a supply pastor. Even though this congregation was apparently never formally organized, several early histories of area churches suggest direct link between the 1810 group and the current church which was formally founded in 1823 when a group of “seventeen to twenty” individuals residing in the vicinity of what is now Mooredale, applied to the Presbytery of Carlisle to be organized into a church. We accept 1823 as our founding year and celebrated our 175th anniversary in 1998.

On April 21, 1827, after several years without a place of worship it could call its own, the congregation met and initiated plans to build a church. An offer by William L. Weakly to give one acre of land was accepted. The sanctuary was built on this land and is the first and only sanctuary constructed by the congregation. There have, of course, been several renovations. When the Trustees met to clear the timber from the site they decided to save as many of the majestic oaks as possible and a few of those original oaks remain today. In the spring of 1996 one of them was severely damaged and, of necessity, taken down. Two hundred and fifty rings were counted making the tree at least 80 years older than the building itself. Several seedlings from the old oaks have been replanted on the church property. The current manse was built in 1867 and, with several renovations, continues to serve as the pastor’s residence.

From its founding in 1823 until 1908, the church was served by 14 installed pastors. In 1908, Rev. James L. Glenn accepted a call and served the church until his retirement in 1943. There have been 6 installed pastors since Rev. Glenn. Dr. Randolph was awarded Pastor Emeritus of Dickinson Presbyterian Church on November 18, 1999 by an unanimous congregational vote. On January 24, 2010 Rev. Jeanette Mater became the twenty-second pastor of Dickinson Presbyterian Church.

In 1925, the church purchased the no longer used one room school building across the road from the sanctuary, enlarged it and it became the Parish House. Much of the financial support for that effort came from Miss Mary Cameron of the Cameron Family which summered at Kings Gap. In 1994 planning began for an education building to be appended to the sanctuary and that building was formally dedicated in 1995. Financial support for the education building came largely from the G. B. Stuart Charitable Foundation. The Stuart Family has a long relationship with the church from its founding in 1823.

We believe, over the years, Dickinson Presbyterian Church has served the community well as a place of worship and as a community center. It has grown and changed along with the community which it serves. It was founded as a country church serving a predominately farming community and has evolved into a friendly church, serving a much more diverse congregation. Now, in the era of unprecedented change, the church is at yet another fork in the road. It could choose the road which holds on to the past and remain static or it can follow the lead of our Savior which leads us into the future with all its uncertainties and challenges. Dickinson Presbyterian Church has chosen the latter.