Church History

1872 - Founded by the Rev. Sheldon Jackson on August 17, 1872. At that time the population of Colorado Springs was about 1,250.  First Presbyterian Church was received by the Presbytery on September 8, 1872, with eight enthusiastic members on its rolls. Rev. Henry B. Gage became the first pastor of our Church in a half-time capacity.  He received $40 for his services.

1873 - The first building to be known as First Presbyterian Church was completed.  Rev. J. S. Lowrie was called as the new pastor and preached the first sermon to be heard in the new building.

1875 - After three years of ministry in the community of Colorado Springs, membership had grown to about 100.

1887 - The Church had outgrown its building and began dreaming of a new sanctuary, which would enable the church to grow in numbers and spiritual vitality.

1889 - Through prayer and hard work the dream was realized.  The new building was completed on the corner of Bijou and Nevada and was dedicated on March 9, 1889. The pastor was Dr. James S. Black.

1894 - Rev. W.H. Wray Boyle, a Canadian, was called as pastor of the Church.  Under his leadership the congregation grew from 540 members to over 1,000.

1905 - Under the pastoral leadership of Dr. Edgar Work, a Californian, 300 new members were added to the rolls of the Church and the Sunday School enrollment exceeded 600 for the first time.

1911 - God continued to bless the ministry of First Presbyterian Church during these busy years.  The Sunday School in particular continued to prosper.  It soon became apparent that an addition to the main building would be required to meet the needs of the overflow classes.  The coming of Dr. Samuel E. Garvin, highly regarded for his pulpit oratory, marked the beginning of a period of unprecedented growth for First Presbyterian Church.  He was to lead the Church for eighteen years, during which the membership of the Church would grow at the rate of 100 members a year.

1922 - The First Presbyterian Church celebrated its 50th birthday.  The following statement appeared in the 50th Anniversary Program:  “The growth has been a normal and healthy one through all these fifty years.  Her charter membership was eight.  Her present membership, 2,050.”

1932 - During this year, women began finding places of service on the policy-making board of the Church. The first woman was elected to the Board of Trustees. She was Mrs. Ed Honnen for whom the present Margaret Honnen Parlor was named. That same year there were three women on the Board of Deacons which then had twelve members.

1938 - Dr. Howard Hansen was called as senior pastor and installed on March 8. His first sermon to the congregation was entitled, “The Church in Your House.”

1954 - This year marked the beginning of growth on the pastoral staff, in response to the increasing numbers and needs of the congregation. Rev. Elmer Larson was called to the Church as associate pastor and began a special ministry of calling and outreach.  By 1957 the membership of the Church was up to 2,809.  Amidst mixed feelings of joy and sadness, the old 1888 sanctuary was demolished to make room for an even larger one.  

1959 - March 29 marked the completion and the dedication of the present sanctuary on the corner of Bijou and Nevada. Reports at the end of the year revealed a membership of 2,991, the largest in the history of the Church.

1968 - This year marked the retirement of Rev. Elmer Larson.  Herbert Lockyer, Jr. was called to assume his responsibilities in January of 1969.

1969 - January marked the arrival of two associate ministers from California, Rev. John H. Stevens and Rev. William L. Flanagan.  

1970 - This year brought more changes to the Church. Dr. Hansen, pastor of the Church for over 32 years, announced his retirement as of June 30.

1971 - Rev. John H. Stevens was called as Senior Pastor on March 7, and was installed on April 18. Rev. James R. Edwards joined the staff as Minister of Youth. The membership stood at 3,053.

1976 - Construction was completed on a five-story Hansen Hall addition to relieve the need for additional classroom and office space.

1977 - Rev. James W. Smith joined the staff as Minister of Evangelism. The singles ministry exploded with the first Divorce Recovery Workshop.

1979 - The property adjacent to Hansen Hall was acquired and remodeled for Youth and College age ministries.

1980 - A third identical Sunday morning worship service was added at the 9:30 a.m. hour to accommodate growth.  Church membership reached 4,113.

1981 - An all-church reception was held to honor Rev. Stevens’ tenth anniversary as Senior Minister. The average attendance of the Sunday School reached 2,300. “Getting Together Wednesdays,” the midweek program of dinners, classes and activities attracted hundreds in its first year.

1982 - Adult Sunday School classes numbered fourteen.  Church membership numbered 4,414.  Mission giving reached $490,000 with 126 missionaries and mission projects.  New positions and changes on the Church staff included a new Director of Music, Jim DeJarnette and Kathy Boyles, Music Assistant for Children’s Choirs. First Presbyterian became a founding member of the Ecumenical Social Ministries serving those who are in need.

1985 - A two-level parking structure to accommodate 340 vehicles, jointly owned by the Pikes Peak Y and First Presbyterian Church was dedicated September 22, 1983. Membership reached, 4,805, and $661,117 was contributed to missions.

1986 - Rev. John Stevens was honored during morning worship on the occasion of his 15th anniversary as Senior Minister. Groundbreaking services, April 6, signaled the beginning of construction on the new four-level, 4.3 million dollar addition to the church’s facility. Membership reached 4,926 in this 115th anniversary year of the church’s founding.

1987 - A 63,000 square foot addition to Hansen Hall was dedicated to the glory of God on September 6.

1989 - A high point for First Presbyterian Church and our entire congregation was the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on May 21, 1789. In existence for 117 of those years, First Presbyterian Church continued its ministry of witness and outreach to Colorado Springs, growing to over 5,100 members.

1999 - It was a truly historic and strategic year, positioning First Presbyterian Church for the future. After closing on the 4 ½-acre Daniels property in February, the renovated Weber Street Center was opened in September, giving exciting new ministry space for Youth, Young Adult, and Recreational Ministries and badly needed office space. Final preparations were made for the demolition of the Dome Room and construction of the new addition to the Sanctuary Building.

2000 - This was a year of saying goodbye to the old and celebrating the new. In January, the Dome Room portion of the Sanctuary Building was torn down. A gift from the past was in the cornerstone: a time capsule with items from 1911 which made our church heritage very personal through pictures, letters and newspaper clippings. The new addition with covered walkways connecting Hansen Hall and the Sanctuary Building, new nurseries, Get-Set facilities, music rehearsal rooms, classrooms and an expanded Narthex was dedicated on December 17.

2002 - An exciting milestone for ministry occurred on May 19 when a special Congregational Meeting authorized a major construction and renovation project. The congregation enthusiastically approved adding a 4th floor to Hansen Hall South, the upgrade of mechanical systems and a renovation of Hansen Hall North.

2004 - At the Congregational Meeting on January 18, Dr. Stevens announced his plans to retire as Senior Pastor.  A Co-Pastor Nominating Committee was nominated and elected to begin the search for his successor. 

2005 - Thanks be to God for his gracious gift of Jim Singleton as our new Senior Pastor along with his lovely and gifted wife, Sara.  Jim preached in worship on February 13 and was overwhelmingly affirmed at the Congregational Meeting that evening.  The congregation celebrated John and Gail Stevens' thirty-four years of ministry on July 24 with an evening filled with love, laughter, stories, music and videos marking their profound impact on our lives.  He was named Pastor-Emeritus and will continue to be a part of our church life. 

2011 - In January, more than 600 members of the congregation participated in the Transforming Church Index (TCI). This helped clarify our Core Values, and spurred a discussion among leadership in the spring and summer about the direction for First Pres long-term.

2012 - In April 2012, First Pres voted to leave the Presbyterian Church USA in favor of a new denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO).

2012 - On May 6, 2012 Graham Baird offered a candidate sermon and was called by the congregation to serve as the new Senior Pastor at First Pres. He arrived in July of 2012, and a few weeks later Jim and Sara Singleton moved on after more than seven years of faithful service and ministry at First Pres.

2013 - In April of 2013, First Pres unveiled a new vision statement that was the result of three years of hard work, prayer and study by the congregation. Our new vision is "To Prepare All Generation To Impact Lives For Christ." 

2014 - In April 2014 we were saddened to see Rev. Graham Baird resign as Senior Pastor and return to California. We were not exactly sure of what God wanted us to do with this turn of events so we prayed, talked and waited. As He always does, God began to turn what we thought was a disaster. into something good. Our associate pastors began taking turns preaching and demonstrating skills of which we were unaware. The Executive Leadership Team, Session and Trustees have worked tightly to make sure that no vital programs have been lost. The program staff and ministry support staff have proved to be more creative and self directed. The choir still sings in tune, diapers in the nursery are getting changed, giving is up, new members keep coming and God is glorified in the sanctuary.

2015 - On January 4, at a special Congregational Meeting, we chose the 12 members of the Pastor Nominating Committee who have begun the hard work of seeking out the Pastor God has already identified to minister to First Pres.