History

3firstpres_jpg_w300h179The First Presbyterian Church was organized in Roswell on September 3, 1899, by the Reverend R.M. Craig, synod Superintendent of New Mexico and Arizona. The initial membership numbered twenty-two, which included two men and twelve women. The Reverend J. McL. Gardner conducted the first church service on October 22, 1899, in the adobe building on N. Pennsylvania Avenue.
The Reverend M. Gardner served as missionary pastor until 1901, during which time land was purchased at the corner of Third and Pennsylvania for a church edifice. The first service to be held in the new sanctuary, in March of 1901, was a dedication service with the Reverend R.M. Craig presiding.

Westminster Hall was built to the east of the church with dedication of the structure held November 28, 1924. Addition to the sanctuary had been necessary serveral years earlier. The Patterson home on the corner of Third and Kentucky was purchased on 1930 for use by church school and small group meetings. It was named the John Knox House.

On January 25, 1932, the original church building at Third and Pennsylvania was totally destoyed by fire. The Women’s Club building was used for morning worship services during the next five years. John Knox House was torn down on July 30, 1936. The late Mrs. J.P. White, the only charter member then living in Roswell, broke ground for the present church structure. Dr. Leroy Thompson was the pastor at the time of the dedication of the present building on September 26, 1937. The art glass windows designed and built by Ludwg Von Gerichten were dedicated December 10, 1937. The Christian Education wing was completed September,1953 while Dr. F. Horner Tegler was pastor.

In May of 1983 an expansion program was started which has provided a larger sanctuary, a new Fellowship Hall and parlor, modern and efficient offices, a library, thirteen new and refurbished classrooms, a room for the music department and another for the quilters. These facilities were dedicated September 9, 1984.

On April 1, 1992, the building loan having been paid off by the generous contributions of time, treasures and talents of the church members, the mortgage was ceremonially burned.
This history is chiefly a story centering around the buildings and those people who helped mold over a hundred years of history. The real story is to be found in the lives of all the people who serve Christ in this fellowship of love. We give thanks for their dedication and foresight which have made our present fellowship possible.