Elizabethton First Presbyterian will celebrate 240th anniversary in Sunday service at park
Published 2:43 pm Thursday, August 11, 2022
The first historical record of a Presbyterian Church service in Carter County was listed in the Hanover Presbytery, dated Oct. 25, 1782, when Samuel Houston (the uncle of the Sam Houston who would become governor of Tennessee and president of the Texas Republic) led a church service at Fort Watauga.
Actually, the historical presence of the denomination in Carter County goes back a few years earlier, when the Rev. Samuel Doak delivered his famous “Sword of the Lord and Gideon” sermon to the Overmountain Men on Sept. 26, 1780, before their march over Yellow Mountain Gap to defeat the loyalist forces led by Major Patrick Ferguson at Kings Mountain.
First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton will commemorate the 240th anniversary of the 1782 church meeting led by Houston. Appropriately, it will be an outdoor service at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. The commemorative event will take place on Sunday, Aug. 14, at 11 a.m. at the park’s amphitheater next to the recreated Fort Watauga. The service is open to the public. All attendees are invited to a free barbecue picnic lunch at the the park’s pavilion following the service.
Dr. Paul Gabinet, a church elder and 2022 Holston Presbytery Moderator, will speak at the service and share the church’s history. He will also present a message from Nehemiah 12 titled “Who We Were…Who We Are…What’s Next?”
Singer-musicians Jim and Cheri Miller, Roddy Bird and Joan Denny will provide music along with the church’s chancel choir ensemble.
According to the church’s history web page, sometime prior to 1835 the congregation in Elizabethton sensed the need for a new church building and constructed “the beautiful brick structure, which now stands on Main Street.” That building is now a wedding chapel.
“In this building, the Presbyterians of Elizabethton worshipped God and experienced with the entire country the agonies and ecstasies of nationhood,” the church history reads.
The church relocated to its present building at 119 West F Street in 1951.
Dr. Brian Wyatt presently serves as pastor of the congregation.