History

  • March 1924: A weekly Sunday School was organized, consisting of six persons who met in the home of Mrs. Thomas Neal, on the corner of Wattles Road and Livernois in Troy. By Easter Sunday 1928 the group had grown so large it moved temporarily to the Troy Township Hall.
  • 1928: A dairy barn on Livernois in Troy was jointly purchased by Joseph Grindly and Fredrick P. Smith, and then given to the Presbytery of Detroit as a future church building. The Presbytery remodeled the barn, and appointed L. W. Porter to conduct Sunday services. The people now had a new church home that would serve them for many years.
  • October 27, 1929: The congregation was organized by the Presbytery of Detroit as the Troy Center Presbyterian Church with forty-seven charter members. There remains one original member from this charter group – Mildred Chonka. The Rev. Milton Bennett was appointed to conduct Sunday services.
  • September 1933: The Rev. W.J.C. Belch was appointed by the Presbytery as Stated Supply Preacher. Under his faithful leadership, this young congregation gradually took root and grew during the following eighteen years.
  • February 1951: Dr. John N. Stone became the Stated Supply Preacher. During the seven years of his ministry the church grew, both in stature and strength. Many major improvements were made as the facility had to be expanded to meet the needs of the growing congregation.
  • December 1956: The name of the church was officially changed to “The First Presbyterian Church of Troy.” With the church and the community growing rapidly, Dr. Stone requested a full time pastor be called.
  • January 1, 1958: The Rev. W. Donald Pendell became the church’s first full time pastor. His enthusiasm brought more youth to the church, and under his guidance a youth program was developed. As the church continued its growth and development, Rev. Pendell continued to serve as pastor for the next six years. It soon became apparent the present building would not be able to keep pace with the growing congregation. To prepare for future growth ten acres of land were purchased two hundred yards north of the converted dairy barn. The dairy barn building was then sold to the Emerson Unitarian Church.
  • 1964: Rev. Fred Huish was called as minister. Through the years 1964 through 1967 the church continued to grow and develop under his leadership.
  • February 1968: Rev. Douglas D. Carter became pastor. Several important events in the life of the First Presbyterian Church of Troy occurred during his 23 year ministry.
  • December 5, 1971: Ground was broken for the new church, and construction started.
  • October 1972: The congregation moved to its present site – 4328 Livernois, Troy.
  • During the 70s and 80s the congregation developed several outreach missions in support of groups such as: The Ionia School for Boys in Jamaica, Focus Hope, Troy People Concerned, and Haven.
  • June 1978: The Baptist Church at Petite Grove, Haiti was selected as the FPCT’s sister church. About fifteen of the members went to Haiti on a working mission. A Haitian Craft shop was established where members sold handcrafted items, then sent the proceeds back to Haiti. The congregation also began its support of the Bethany Project – members would “adopt” a Haitian child, by providing funds for food and clothing for that child.
  • 1982-1985: The church building was shared with the Korean Presbyterian Church.
  • 1988: The congregation began its support for Habitat for Humanity.
  • 1988-1994: The church building was shared with the Arab Presbyterian Church.
  • 1989: Once again the congregation had outgrown the existing building, and an educational wing and Fellowship Hall were added to the facility.
  • March 1991: Rev. Carter left after 23 years of devoted service to our congregation and to the community.
  • May 1991: Rev. Larry R. Austin became our Interim Pastor, serving during the pastoral search for a permanent pastor. His focus was to involve the entire congregation in the operation of the church, and he was instrumental in preparing us for our new minister.
  • During 1991 the Sr. High youth group began attending week long mission/retreats sponsored by Group Work Camps. This annual activity continues as an important part of youth mission, serving in various communities throughout the US.
  • November, 1992: Rev. Randolph F. Cullen was called as Pastor. He initiated monthly children’s sermons during the worship service.
  • During 1993 through 1998, Elliot Martinez began a youth choir called, “Roaring Lambs,” open to all Sr. High and young adult members. The group sang and played contemporary Christian music at many services.
  • January 1998: Rev. Cullen and the Session agreed to dissolve the pastoral relationship. A self-study was started in May, and in August of that year Rev. Kenneth D. Lister became the Interim Pastor. His focus was on Adult Christian Education on Sunday morning, as well as a day-by-day bible series. Children’s sermons during worship hour were continued.
  • May 2000: Rev. Barbara G. Swartzel was called as Pastor. Her focus was on guiding the congregation through the process of redevelopment. She initiated the Disciple Adult Bible Study program, which is still running today.
  • June 2003: Rev. Swartzel agreed to dissolve the pastoral relationship, and Dr. Robert Larson began ministering to the congregation.
  • September 2003: The FPCT resumed Sunday services to begin at 10:00 a.m., with the children’s’ Sunday School running concurrently. A Family Service, including the Praise Team with expanded youth participation, is still held on the first Sunday of the month with no Sunday School on that day.
  • August 2004: Rev. Dr. J. Harold Ellens was called as Interim Pastor and a pastoral agreement with the Session was executed. He continued to provide the congregation with leadership and spiritual development through mid-November 2008.
  • October 2004: The congregation of the FPCT celebrated its 75th anniversary, which included activities held during several months of the year. Some of the activities included a Heritage Dinner, Commemorative Christmas ornament sale, and a 75th anniversary float in the Troy Daze Parade. That month the food drive for Troy People Concerned exceeded the goal of 75 bags of groceries. Many former members who had moved away returned to join the Church for a reunion during the festivities. A special service was held which featured an expanded choir of both current and former choir members singing together with joy for the celebration. A special gift of a brass advent wreath holder was placed in the sanctuary to commemorate the 75th year since founding.
  • August 2006: Mark D. Van Soestberg joined our leadership as Youth Director. Meetings are held with young people on a weekly basis. The youth group participates in bible study, and various activities including service projects, mission trips, and organizing the Family Service. Fundraisers for mission trips are held during the year. In 2007 the congregation began to actively participate in the Detroit Presbytery Acts 16:5 initiative. As only a part of this strengthening our presence in the community, several small groups were formed: Book Club, Movie Night, Metro Facets, Craft Club, and a Bread Baking group.
  • November 2008: The congregation welcomed Rev. Judith McMillan as the next pastor. She has brought creativity to our ministries and energizes worship with art and drama teams. Her work as pastor also involves teaching confirmation classes, helping with community dinners and our Art Camp.
  • July 2015: Pastor Judi took a three-month sabbatical that was granted to her, with the purpose of returning refreshed and renewed. Come by and meet Pastor Judi. She is available to discuss your spiritual needs.

-edited from various notes compiled by FPCT members