First Presbyterian Church is a Stephen Ministry Congregation
206 Washington Avenue
Inverness, FL 34450
“The Presbyterian Church of Inverness was organized here Sunday under the leadership of Rev. Roseborough, an evangelist of that church. We understand that up to last night there was a membership of about 25. J.K. Kelley and T.H. Ramsey were elected and ordained as Elders of the church, and E.P. Graham and O.M. Johnson as deacons. The members of this new church are among the very best citizens of the town, and it is thought that prospects are exceedingly bright.”
Citrus County Chronicle, Inverness, FL Oct. 13, 1911
The First Presbyterian Church of Inverness began with a congregation of 25 citizens, in a very humble setting, and today, over 100 years later, the church is home to approximately 450 souls. God has truly blessed this house of worship in the ever growing community of Inverness. The following information, on the period 1911-1961, was extracted from our 50 Year Anniversary Booklet and represents a unique picture of our roots.
The congregation worshipped during its first year in the First Baptist Church of Inverness. A study of the early minutes of the Session reveal that the little flock, with courageous faith, began immediate plans to build a Sanctuary to the glory of God.
The site was purchased for $220; erection of the building was $2,000. The pews were a little over $500. These items, along with a reed organ, hymn books, a pulpit Bible, communion set, collection plates, and some carpet, totaled just under $3,000.
Exactly one year after the congregation was organized, the new church was completed on Main Street between Seminole and Osceola Streets. Two services were held that day, and both were preached by Rev. W.B.Y. Wilkie, Chairman of the Home missions, St. John’s Presbytery. At the conclusion of the morning service, the keys and the deed to the building were turned over to the trustees, O.M. Johnson, E.P. Graham, and Adam Noble.
During the evening service, Dr. Wilkie preached from the text, “This do ye, in remembrance of me.” At the conclusion of the evening service, the pastor, The Rev. B.H. Dupuy, held the first communion, with Rev. Dupuy serving the bread, and Dr. Wilkie serving the wine.
According to the Citrus County Chronicle of October 18, 1911, “Those who listened closely to it, and whose souls drank it in, were made to feel as if they were present with the blessed Master in Jerusalem, gazing upon His troubled face, as He was about to return to His Father in heaven.”
The size of the congregation grew slowly over the years. The years between 1912-1950 were not easy years. There was World War I, the economic upheaval in Florida, the Great Depression of the thirties, and World War II with its aftermath. These disturbances affected men, institutions, and communities everywhere, and Inverness did not escape. During this period, we remained a small home mission church in a small community. The church was served by 21 different ministers, sent to the church as Stated Supplies.
The little congregation must have labored faithfully for the church continued a living church which endured many trials, overcame many obstacles, and experienced many joys. This period closed showing a membership of 74 and total giving for 1950 of $1,850.
The years 1950-1961 were indeed the beginning of a new era. A religious census taken in 1951 showed that the First Presbyterian Church had 94 members in its congregation. The church was then the third largest in Inverness. The town was prospering from the timber industry, the mining of phosphate, and from citrus groves. Florida was experiencing a “population explosion” – people began to settle in the state from everywhere. Inverness began to experience a change, and our own First Presbyterian Church strongly felt its stirrings.
The congregation continued to worship at the Main Street church until 1963. In that year, a new church was built on Grace Street. Most notable in the new building was a rose window given by The Trinity United Presbyterian Church of Uniontown, Pa. The congregation continued to grow and in 1969 ground was broken for an addition – a Fellowship Hall and Sunday School class rooms. In 1986 further expansion would take place as the Methodist Church at the corner of Osceola and Main Streets was acquired and incorporated into the Grace Street church.
In 1989, yet a new home was sought as the Citrus Memorial Hospital was expanding and offered to purchase the Grace Street church. In 1992, land was purchased at the intersection of Highway 44 and Washington Street for the construction of our current church building, which was completed in 1994.
Our Church Today