History

 

 

The Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church was established “on the banks of the Potomac River” primarily by Scotch-Irish in 1743. That’s our historic heritage but since then we have become a diverse and ecumenical church.

Even though we are a Presbyterian Church in the Reformed tradition of Christian faith, our roots go back through the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, through Judaism and into a promise held in the heart of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, a promise that they and their children would someday find a way to be a blessing for all peoples and nations of the whole earth. We hold that promise dear in our desire to work together for good to bring peace, freedom, health, justice, and love to the whole world, both near and far.

Our first known church building (on the current site of the Shepherdstown Post Office) burned in 1834. Our current church building, completed in 1836, is similar and of the same meeting house architecture as the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria, VA.

In 1862 SPC, along with nearly all other churches, shops and many homes in Shepherdstown, became a hospice for the wounded and dying from the Battle of Antietam—the single deadliest day of war on America soil. Ever since those tragic days, we have "heard" cries and prayers for peace arising from these bloodied floorboards. It has led us to become a house of peace and healing for all people.

In January 2000, as our town hosted peace talks between the Syrian and Israeli governments with President Clinton serving as moderator, SPC hosted an interfaith prayer service on January 1.  Jews, Muslims, Christians, Baha’is and people of no official faith, gathered and joined together in praying for peace.

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, in response to growing prejudice against Muslims, SPC reached out to a local Muslim congregation in solidarity, friendship and peace. Since that time, our two communities have cosponsored numerous events including a peace camp for children and a shared celebration of peace (PEACEFEST, 2011).

In 2012 SPC's governing council (Session) adopted the Charter for Compassion, linking our community with this worldwide movement dedicated to making compassion “a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world.”

An active member of More Light Presbyterians, SPC has been working for decades for the full inclusion of LBGT people in church and society, celebrating this diverse community in a variety of ways, educational offerings and public events. In June, 2019 our Service of Celebration and Blessing kicked off the Eastern Panhandle Pride weekend.

Today, our work for peace and justice continues in the spirit of compassion. Please join us any way you are able.