A Brief History of First Presbyterian Church of Lufkin, Texas

first presbyterian church lufkin texas, sanctuaryThe church was organized by Rev. J.D. Burkhead, evangelist of Eastern Texas Presbytery, and was enrolled November 2, 1883, with ten members and two ruling elders. There is no record of who the charter members were. However, it is known that Mr. And Mrs. J.D. Gann, Mrs. M.E. Crosier, Mr. And Mrs. J.M. Stockton, Mr. And Mrs. J.D. Moffett, Mr. W.L. Chestnut, Mr. And Mrs. A.R. Moore, and Mr. And Mrs. O. H. Butler were very early members of the church.

After the First Methodist church was completed in 1884, the Presbyterians met with the Methodists, with a Presbyterian Supply Pastor coming in about once a month.

In 1907, the Presbyterians started their own Sunday school and began meeting separately. A supply Pastor continued to come in once a month.

In the early 1900’s, Mr. And Mrs. D.A. Singleton, Mr. And Mrs. W.A. Collmorgen, Mrs. M.E. Crosier, Mr. And Mrs. A.C. Kennedy, Sr., Mrs. Lelia Allwine Massengale, Mr. M.M. Cowsert, Mr. And Mrs. H.E. Fowler, Mr. And Mrs. S.L. Dixon and others worked diligently in the community to stimulate interest.

The little congregation struggled, meeting in homes, the Knights of Pythias Hall on Lufkin Avenue, a room over Hicks Grocery, in the Hoo Hoo Theater, and in the Woodman of the World Hall, above W.A. Collmorgen’s Bakery and Grocery on North First. In 1914, a small house was purchased on Groesbeck Street and remodeled into a Chapel. At that time, the first regularly called minister, Rev. L.W. Matthews, was secured for half time. After several attempts to build, in 1923, the Presbytery sent the Rev. W.A. Zeigler to Lufkin to get a church and Manse built. A lot in the 400 block of Ellis Avenue was purchased and a beautiful red brick church and manse were built. These were occupied on July 1, 1924.

Needing additional Sunday school space, new church facilities at Jane Way and Tom Temple were constructed and first services held at this location on September 15, 1963. The congregation met in the Fellowship Hall until June 2, 1991, when a beautiful new sanctuary was occupied. The other facilities were renovated at this time.

First Presbyterian Church has continued to progress, and today we celebrate over 125 years of service to the Lord in this community and beyond. We do this in loving memory of those early members through whose effort and dedication this church exists today. May we all find inspiration from them.