History of CPC

In the Churchville Presbyterian Church archives, there are records of membership, pastors, trustees, etc., going back to 1738.  Also, Elder James Pannell’s diary, detailing church activities during the ministry of Rev. Finney, is preserved in the archives of the Historical Society in Bel Air.

It is commonly understood that our congregation was established in 1738, and originally met near Graveyard Branch, which is on the Old Level Road about half a mile east of Glenville Road.  The Donegal Presbytery records indicate that the Deer Creek Presbyterian Congregation existed by 1738, and that the Presbytery sent supply preachers from time to time.

Tradition holds that in 1739 George Whitefield is said to have preached in a tent on what was later the Harlan Farm, known ever since as “tent field”, and recently purchased by the church.

The Deer Creek Congregation, originally connected with Donegal Presbytery, was transferred to New Castle Presbytery some time after 1738.  The first regular pastor of the church was Rev. Andrew Bay who came by 1759.  In 1760 the church moved its location to Deer Creek Lower Crossroads (now Churchville) and erected a brick building with no ceiling except the rafters and no means of heating it. Rev. Andrew Bay was pastor until 1767 when, after a stormy pastorate, he was given an honorable dismissal.

For 25 years the church was without a pastor, or had pastors who were not officially installed.

In 1792 the Rev. Caleb Johnson was called but was very unpopular.  During his ministry the congregation was in much turmoil, some members joining other denominations and some just drifting away.  Families were divided, and the effect on the church was almost disastrous.  This pastoral relationship was dissolved in 1795.

The Rev. William Finney was called as pastor in 1813 and served for 41 years.  He held the call under advisement for nearly a year in order to determine whether enough of the congregation remained to justify his acceptance.  He had been pastor for about one year when chimneys were built and stoves were put in the church for the first time.  In 1820 a badly needed new building was constructed.  On March 1, 1824, the building debt of $1,791.75 ½ was retired.  In 1830 money was collected for the erection of a stone wall along the Bel Air road, which still stands.  In 1837 a group of people including 19 members of Churchville Presbyterian Church, met at the Prospect School House (still standing) near Darlington to form another church closer to their homes.  This was the beginning of the Deer Creek Harmony Presbyterian Church.  Rev. Finney filled the pulpit at both churches for two years.

The Rev. Amos H. Sill was called in 1856, but never was installed as the Presbytery declined to ordain him.  The Rev. Smith G. Visschor then supplied the church for a short time.

The last joint pastorate with Deer Creek Harmony was under the Rev. Robert H. Williams who was called in 1861 and remained until 1864.  Although this was a time when churches and communities were frequently divided or otherwise disturbed, Churchville and Deer Creek Harmony increased by leaps and bounds, so that after Rev. Williams left, each church could support its own minister.  The church purchased a melodeon in 1862 for $50.00, and at Christmas time in the same year an offering was taken for Miss Elizabeth Chamberlaine who played the melodeon

The Rev. W. W. Ralston was called to the church in 1864 and remained for two years.  During his pastorate 5 acres of land were purchased on the Aberdeen Road (Rt. 22) and a manse built, which was used until 1954.  This is the former Mitchell Coale house which is still standing.

The Rev. John K. Cramer followed Rev. Ralston but due to ill health Rev. Cramer was never installed.

The Rev. John R. Paxton was called in 1870 and served for four years.  His original preaching style gave new life to the congregation.  During his pastorate the church was completely renovated, the bell tower was added, and the present pulpit alcove replaced the old high pulpit.  The doors were moved to their present location.

The Women’s Missionary Society was first organized in 1872 and has continued to the present time.

The Rev. W. T. L. Kieffer became minister in 1875 and remained for 8 years.  During this time the building debt was retired.  One of his most valuable contributions was the collection of all available historical information concerning the church.

The Rev. Calvin D. Wilson ministered for 10 years beginning in 1883.  During this time the 150th anniversary of the church’s founding was celebrated.

The Rev. Samuel Carson Wasson served as minister from 1894 to 1909.  Many changes took place during this time, for example, the rental of pews was discontinued.

The Rev. Frederick A. Kullmer served from 1910 until 1914.  During that time the church purchased its first organ, a second-hand reed organ.  Land was acquired which nearly doubled the size of the graveyard.

The Rev. Harold F. Pellegrin ministered here until 1920.  In 1917 a Delco plant was purchased to supply the church with light and its use continued for 8 years until the power line came through Churchville.

In 1921, the Rev. J. Edward Grant became minister.  In 1923 the stone wall was extended to surround the church property.  In 1942 the church’ first organ was retired and a Hammond electric organ was purchased.  During this time the Westminster Fellowship for teenagers was organized and remains active today.

In 1947, the Rev. Robert E. Hansen accepted a call to the pulpit.  One of his many accomplishments was the erection and dedication of the Fellowship Hall, with pastor’s study, a kitchen and rest rooms.

The Rev. Prescott H. Williams was called in 1951.  During his ministry, a rotation system for ruling elders was instituted.  The boards of Trustees and Deacons had previously been so elected.

The Rev. Bruce R. Miller began his ministry in 1956.  Sunday School classes were cramped in Fellowship Hall and the Christian Education Building was dedicated in 1958.  A church secretary was hired for the first time.  That position had previously been filled by volunteers.

The Rev. Charles P. Wright came to this church in 1961.  He instituted a brief period of prayer with the Session in his study just prior to worship, and the custom continues.

The Rev. Eugene W. Stambaugh was called in 1964.  In 1969, the church established a Day Care Center in the Christian Education Building which to this day provides a much needed community service.  In 1972 the church sanctuary and grounds were designated as a Harford County Historic Site.  An Allen electronic organ was installed and dedicated in 1973.

From November 1974, to January 1976, the Rev. David T. Tomlinson served the church faithfully as interim pastor.

In 1976, the Rev. J. William Kokie was installed as pastor and served until October 1989.  During his ministry:  Cemetery Guidelines were formulated in 1978; children’s sermons were instituted; Day Care Guidelines were formulated and placed in effect in December 1979; a Memorial Committee was formed in 1980; in January 1982 Churchville Presbyterian Church’s By-laws were established; in 1985 much needed administrative wing was added and in 1986 the church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In November 1989 Rev. William Berlin became the Interim Pastor and served until March 1991. Upon his death in June 1991 he was buried in the Churchville Presbyterian  Church Cemetery.

The Rev. Dr. Edgar Caldwell Mayse became the pastor at Churchville in April 1991 and moved into the Manse on Rt. 22.  Later in the year Rev. Mayse found more acceptable housing and in due process a decision by the Trustees to sell the manse was approved by the congregation.  A Long Range Planning Committee was formed in July 1992 with the responsibility of developing a plan to implement the Vision Statement recently approved by the Session.  The adjoining property owned by Dr. Streett became available and was purchased in 1996.  Additional property available from the Harlan family was approved for purchase by the congregation and the purchase was finalized in 1998.  In 1997 the sanctuary was completely renovated by refinishing the pews, wainscoting, doors and framework.  The walls and ceiling were painted, the floors refinished and new carpeting was laid in the aisles and the choir loft expanded.  During the renovations a new piano was purchased.  Rev. Mayse completed his pastorate in August 1997.

Pastor Wesley C. Baker became Churchville’s Interim Pastor in November 1997 and remained until April 1999.  The year 1998 brought forth a new “Mission Statement” and description of Churchville’s aims and goals.  In 1998 the Pastor Nominating Committee made extensive use of information gathered from two Retreats, the Percept Program and its home meetings and the Percepts Task Force to complete the Church Information Form (CIF) for securing a new pastor.

In March 1999 Rev. Dr. Joseph Condro was called to be the pastor of Churchville Presbyterian Church and he assumed office in May 1999.  Visitation, involvement in new membership classes, communicant’s class, officer training and extensive work with the youth have ingratiated Rev. Condro with the congregation.  A new “Sand Mound” septic system, sketches for improved parking and building construction, large scale improvements to the church cemetery, initiation of an informal worship service, a first mission work camp experience, a “rotation” system for Sunday School, instituting a part-time Administrative Assistant and part-time Director of Christian Education is bringing to fruition ideas and programs that have been floating around for some time.  In April 2000 a new Allen Organ was installed to replace the first Allen Organ that was purchased 1973.  Then 4.6 acres of land (Harlan Property) was purchased in 1998 to provide an area for repair of the septic system and possible expansion of the church.

On March 14, 2002, settlement was made to purchase the “Mitchell Property”.  In the summer of 2002 the expansion of the Church’s parking lot was begun and completed.  In 2002 the Parish Nurse program and the Stephen Ministry program were started as a means of feeding our congregation spiritually and taking better care of physical and medical needs as well.  The beginning of the Words of ‘Wisdom (WOW) program enables our college students to have continued contact with church members, which has blessed their lives and as a result a ministry with older adults has emerged.

In November 2003, the Congregation voted to proceed forward with the Christian Education expansion project.  A groundbreaking ceremony was held on 18 July 2004 for construction of the new Christian Education/Day Care Facility.  December 2004-January 2005 is the expected completion time for construction of the new building.  Renovation of the current Christian Education Building will then proceed toward an estimated project completion of mid-2005.

On October 2004, the Congregation voted to merge the Session and Trustees into one governing body known as the Session to begin 1 January 2005.  The Session will then conduct the Congregational and Corporation business with twelve Elders.

In 2004 the Stephen Ministry program was expanded and a Grief Share program was initiated to help members and neighbors to recover from their grief after their loss of a family member, friend or acquaintance.  The Presbyterian Coffee House opened on Friday, September 24, 2004 and provides an outreach to WF age youth in the Churchville area.

In 2005 the three parcels of land owned by Churchville Presbyterian Church were consolidated and recorded in the land records of Harford County.  The Mitchell Property is not included in this consolidation.  The Session approved a five year Scope and Sequence for Nursery through Grade Five; a Middle and Senior High Task Force Report; and a five year Scope and Sequence for Adult Studies prepared by the Christian Education Committee. A first annual get acquainted Undershepherds’ luncheon was held in April, with all Undershepherds and their Flocks, after the Worship Service.  On May 22, 2005 A Dedication Service was held for the Christian Education Building Renovation and completed construction of the new Day Care Building as three dozen monarch butterflies were given flight, and a red ribbon was cut.


At a meeting of all the male members of the Churchville Presbyterian Congregation convened by public notice at the Church of Congregation situated at Herbert's Crossroads in Harford County on Monday the 7th day of March, Eighteen Hundred and Twenty-five at the hour of eleven o'clock, the same being the time and place ordinarily used for public meeting of the said Congregation, the Reverend William Finney was called to the Chair and James Pannell was appointed Secretary.

Whereupon it was resolved as the unanimous sense of the Congregation that it would be advisable that the same be incorporated in conformity with provisions of the Act of the General Assembly of Maryland passed on the Eighth day of January in the year 1803, entitled, "An Act to incorporate certain persons in every Christian Church or Congregation in the State": And that to carry said intention into effect it was further resolved that the Congregation should proceed to choose five persons, each of whom shall be twenty-one years of age and of the Presbyterian persuasion, as Trustees of said Church or Congregation.

The members of said Church did then proceed to choose five Trustees by an election viva voce, the same being the usual method by which elections are made in said Congregation, and it appeared that Thomas Jeffrey, S. Archer, John Kirk, John Hanna, and James McGraw were elected Trustees, the which said persons are of the Presbyterian denomination, to manage the estate property and interest and inheritance of the said Church in conformity with the provisions of the aforesaid Act. It was further resolved that the name, style and title of this Church as an incorporated body shall be "The Trustees of the Churchville Presbyterian Congregation".

It was further resolved that all vacancies which shall accrue in said body of Trustees shall be filled by a majority of male members of said Congregation who shall be convened at the Church by public notice delivered from the pulpit by the pastor of said Church, and that the qualification of persons so to be elected to said vacancies shall be the following: He shall be over twenty-one years of age and a member of the said Congregation. Resolved that in case of the death, removal from the bounds of the Church, resignation or removal by majority of the male members of the Congregation aforesaid, who shall be convened as aforesaid for the appointment, election shall be held to fill the vacancy thus created in said body.

            James Pannell, Sec'y                                  W. Finney, Chairman


On this seventh day of March, in the year 1825, personally appeared before us, two of the State of Maryland Justices of Peace for said County, Thomas Jeffery, S. Archer, John Kirk, and John Hanna, a majority of the Trustees as above named, and did acknowledge that the aforegoing proceedings were had at the time and place herein stated in the order in which they are set down in the proceeding instrument of writing, all being satisfied that the proceedings in the said instrument contained, have been legally and duly conducted.

                                                                                    James McGraw

                                                                                    F. Bayless

Received and recorded the Twelth day of march, Eighteen Hundred and twenty-five, and examined by

                                                                                    Henry Dorsey, Clk.