Our History

How it all started...

The First Presbyterian Church and Society of Worthington, Ohio,  traces its history back to late 1805  when the Presbytery sent licentiate ministers to Worthington to lead worship and begin the organization of a church.  Records of the time were notoriously sketchy, but we do know that a group of eleven men and women meeting in the Peter Barker home (now 957 High Street) organized the congregation.  Ebenezer Washburn was appointed by the Presbytery as the stated supply minister and remained for two years.  He said in a letter, “I was the first that preached steadily to that church.”  He was appointed the principal of the Worthington Presbyterian Academy, which was founded  in 1826.

At this time, as there was yet no church building, the congregation met in the Worthington Academy building, which was located on the site of the present school administration building. However, feeling the rental was excessive, the officers of the church ordered the Goble Blacksmith Shop to be made ready for services. Squire Abbot, a member of the group, operated the shop, which stood where the present church now stands. This arrangement proved unsatisfactory and they later moved to a red brick schoolhouse on Oxford Street. On January 1, 1822, the Trustees of the church received rent-free use of the Masonic Hall for worship services for the next six and one-half years. At first the Worthington Church belonged to Ohio Presbytery, then to Lancaster Presbytery when it was formed in 1809, and in the Columbus Presbytery since 1823.  We are now members of the Presbytery of Scioto Valley.  As population moved westward, new presbyteries and synods were formed.  This necessitated changes in affiliation. The church was added to the General Assembly list of churches in 1809.

Expanding the vision...

The first regular pastor, The Reverend H. Hulburd, came in 1826 and soon after a building was planned.  Money was scarce and The Reverend Hulburd and a session member made the long trip to Philadelphia to appeal for funds at the National Presbyterian Offices.  The trip took more than a month but was successful and the new building was constructed and later dedicated on April 17, 1830.  The Society’s membership of 85 moved into the new building.  It was a small box-like building with three windows on a side and two doors facing the Village Green.  The pulpit was between the doors so that the faithful entered facing the congregation. The first book of records has been long lost but our files are fairly complete as far back as May 24, 1832.  The church was remodeled in 1842 when a vestibule, steeple and bell were added.  The pulpit was later placed opposite the door.

Through war and peace we have always moved forward. In April 1863, $3,820.00 was subscribed and land worth $500.00 was donated for a new building. The funds were not used at the time, possibly due to the Civil War. Finally, in 1927, sixty-four years after plans for a second building had been discussed, a new building was dedicated. The building was started under the pastorate of Dr. Edward Milton Page and completed under the pastorate of Tom Penn Ullom. Reflecting the village’s deep feeling for history, a colonial structure housing a beautiful nave was combined with the 1832 building (it was turned around and encased in brick). The community and the church began to mushroom in 1950. A new educational unit was added in 1952-1953 and further expanded in 1964. A new sanctuary, with its charm and dignity reminiscent of our community’s New England heritage, was dedicated in the autumn of 1959. In 1992, a new educational wing and Chapel were dedicated, using land the church had purchased in the 1960’s. Our recent building renovations and expanded sanctuary were dedicated on October 23, 2005.

Over the years, more than sixty ministers have carried the ministry of the love of Christ to the community through the pulpit, education, and counsel. Beginning in 1957, the church reached a size large enough to begin calling associate ministers. Notable past clergy serving the church include Highland Hulburd(1826-30), who led the church to the Village Green site and built the first structure; Thomas Woodrow, D.D., (1849-57), active in the “underground railroad” and grandfather of President Woodrow Wilson; Edward Milton Page, D.D. (1923-25), inspiration for building the new sanctuary; Paul Johnston, D.D. (1950-77), leader of the great building drives of the 1950’s; Jane Mykrantz (1980-89), an associate minister and the first ordained woman on the staff; and Dr. Phil Hazelton, Pastor Emeritus, who led the congregation for more than a decade, retiring in 2007 after leading the congregation through significant growth in membership and the most recent building expansion.  

No past history, present effort, or future hopes can be condensed into these few paragraphs. Through our pride in our heritage and our work for the glory of God in our community and in the entire world at all times, our future will be ever brighter with Christian meaning and love.

Be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together at 10am