History


Historical Highlights
Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church

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January 5, 1890 Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church is established with 22 charter members. R. S. Veech gives a lot for church. T. E. Converse serves as stated supply.

September 19, 1890 Call extended to B. Lewis Hobson, graduate of Princeton Seminary.

February 1, 1891 First service is held in the new sanctuary, a small stone building on the present site.

1891 First youth group, the Westminster League, is organized. CHPC sponsors a mission Sunday school, which grows and becomes a chartered congregation, Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church, in 1916.

1893 Sunday school classes buy shares in the Lapsley, the first Congo mission steamboat. Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society is founded.

1895 CHPC assists in the establishment of James Lees Presbyterian Church.

March 21, 1898 First African American member, Rose Mary Humble, is received.

March 4, 1900 First manse is purchased. Matthew Branch Porter (pastor, 1899–1907), and family become the first residents.

1907–1916 First church newsletter, The Crescent Hill Presbyterian, is published.

1910 C. W. Sommerville (pastor, 1907–1910) resigns in the midst of controversy over an ambitious building program. Many families withdraw their membership. New pastor William Wirt Akers brings healing. Membership increases to 202. Ladies Aid Society leads fundraising effort to build a small multipurpose building called the Bungalow (former Scout Hut) on the back lot.

1916 World War I brings tense times. Akers resigns his pastorate in the wake of dissention over a proposal to use duplex offering envelopes in order to separate donations for mission from gifts to the building fund. Presbytery appoints an administrative commission to investigate.

1917 Boy Scout Troop 23 organized. C. N. Wharton (pastor, 1917–1919) is scoutmaster.

1918 Work begins on building expansion. This includes erecting a Christian education building and enlarging the sanctuary. The back wall of the church is torn out to extend seating, add space for the choir, and install a pipe organ. Changes made in the basement include adding the first kitchen.

May 25, 1924 First candidate for ministry, Samuel Cramer, Jr., taken under care of presbytery.

1920 J.V. Logan (1920–1926) becomes pastor of CHPC. By training and experience, he is an authority on Sunday school organization. This, along with the new education building and Logan’s winsome personality, helps bring about new directions in education and mission.

June 1925 First paid youth director and church secretary, Thelma Wykstrom, is hired.

1925–1929 Church provides total support for missionary Gertrude Sloan in China.

1927 Church buys a larger manse at 122 Hillcrest Ave. to accommodate G. F. Bell (pastor, 1927–1936) and his family of six.

1934 Crescent Hill Girl Scout Troop organized.

January 1937 Major flood occurs in Louisville. CHPC provides aid to those left homeless.

1938 Hunter Memorial Chapel is dissolved by Louisville Presbytery and made a mission of Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church. The arrival of Kingsley John Morgan as pastor (1937–1946) helped further longtime fundraising and plans for church building expansion. The front of the church was expanded to create a more formal entrance and a deep vestibule with classrooms on either side. The present cornerstone was laid.

1942 Stella Graves starts a new church newsletter, The Broadcast, which is mailed to the 65 CHPC members serving in the military during World War II.

1947 First director of religious education, Mary Evelyn Allen, is hired. First Cub Scout pack is organized.
E. Ashby Johnson (1947–1951) begins serving as pastor.

1948 Elizabeth Logsdon organizes a day school kindergarten ministry after the city’s public schools eliminate kindergarten due to budget cuts.

1949 North bay section is added to the sanctuary.

1951 A new education building is dedicated.

1952 J. Harvey Glass becomes pastor (1952–1957). Church membership has grown to 500. Sunday school enrollment is 338.

1953 Mission Closet for the Furlough Home is organized and chaired by CHPC women for the next two decades.

1955 Henry Young Sr. becomes church sexton. (Following his retirement in 1967, his son, Henry Young Jr., becomes sexton. When he retires in 2014, the church fellowship hall is named “Henry Young Hall” in his honor.)

1958 A new manse is bought at 573 Sunset Road. Conrad Crow becomes pastor (1958–1968). Retired Men’s Club is started.

1959 Session authorizes an every-home subscription to the denominational magazine Presbyterian Survey (now Presbyterians Today).

1961 Monthly newsletter Westminster Ways begins publication. Fellowship of Covenant prayer begins. The men of the church, led by Ken Taylor, build “The Crow’s Nest” (named for Pastor Crow), a cabin at Cedar Ridge camp.

1964 After a 14-month study of the church’s mission, a committee recommends that the church expand its service to the community. The purchase of a house (“the Lord’s House”) and two acres of land between the church and Frankfort Avenue provides space for parking and Sunday school classes.

1967 A remodeled sanctuary is dedicated. It features an enlarged chancel, red carpet, and a balcony with a rose window for the church organ and choir.

1968 The Session votes to sell the manse at 573 Sunset Road, the last pastor’s residence to be owned by the church.

December 7, 1969 John Kirstein (1969–1977) is installed as the 12th pastor of CHPC.

December 31, 1970 The Diaconate is dissolved and the Session is expanded to 18 members.

1972 A tea room is established in the “Lord’s House” to benefit the Louisville Autistic School.

April 4, 1974 A tornado damages homes of more than 25 members of CHPC. The church building and grounds sustain damage of more than $20,000. Cooperative efforts to repair and rebuild the community lead to creation of United Crescent Hill Ministries in 1975.

May 7, 1978 CHPC unanimously votes to call J. Mark Barnes as pastor (1978–1997).

1980 The church sponsors a Hmong refugee family, the Mouas, from Laos.

1981 Mark Barnes becomes an adjunct professor at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, strengthening the relationship between the seminary and CHPC. The Woosley Scholarship Fund is established to assist college students. As CHPC’s commitment to peacemaking grows, the session votes to support the
work of the Peace Task Force of Louisville Presbytery.

June 1983 Session supports reunion of the northern and southern streams of the Presbyterian Church to create the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).

1984 Barbara Barnes is taken under care as candidate for the ministry.

1985 Debbie Dierks becomes music director.

June 25, 1986 After several months of prayerful discussion involving the whole congregation, the session votes (by a narrow margin) to support St. William Church, a local Catholic congregation, in its involvement in the Sanctuary Movement, offering a safe haven to refugees fleeing violence in Central America.

1987 Barbara Barnes is ordained as co-pastor of the church with Mark Barnes.

1988 CHPC adopts “Definitions and Guidelines on Inclusive Language” endorsed by the 197th General Assembly (1985). The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) moves its national offices to Louisville, bringing a fresh spurt of growth to CHPC.

1989 Phase One of a long-range plan to update the church building is completed with renovation of the fellowship hall, bathrooms, and Sunday school rooms.

1990 A children’s choir and youth team are organized.

1991 Worship bulletin is put on a disk so a member who is blind can print it on his Braille printer for himself and others.

1992 A Journey’s Way ministry is organized to support members with physical and intellectual disabilities and their families.

1995 Covenant group forms with the goal of resettling a Bosnian refugee family: Sameja Rizvanovic and Maliha and Jozefina Ikras.

1996–97 Phase Two of the building program is completed, with the theme “Opening the Way.” It includes interior renovations to expand access for wheelchair users, improved access to the chancel area for worship leaders, and a sound system for those with hearing disabilities. A plaza was added in front of the sanctuary entrance to provide better visibility in the neighborhood and space for outdoor fellowship. This also allowed for stairs to the sanctuary to be removed and a ramp added to make the building more accessible.

1997 John Leake Memorial Community Garden is planted behind the church. Mark and Barbara Barnes resign to accept a call in Oxford, Ohio.

1999 CHPC becomes active in Habitat for Humanity.

2000 The congregation calls Jane Larsen-Wigger as pastor on April 30. Congregation helps resettle Sudanese refugees (“Lost Boys”), Abraham Deu, Daniel Kuol, Jacob Ayom, and Gabriel Ajieth, in partnership with St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and Beargrass Missionary Baptist Church.

2002 CHPC joins Covenant Network, working for full inclusion of gays and lesbians. First summer Garden Camps for children are hosted by the church.

2003 CHPC begins supporting the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in their Fair Food campaign, hosting sleepovers and providing meals for CIW members coming to Louisville to protest low pay and poor working conditions for farmworkers.

2004–2005 CHPC helps host Soila Matute, a missionary from Honduras, as part of the Mission and Reconciliation Program of the PC(USA).

2006 A Lilly grant for the National Clergy Renewal Program allows Jane Larsen-Wigger to take a 12-week sabbatical. While she travels in Appalachia and Guatemala, CHPC is led by guest preachers, including Carlos Lara Gabb from Guatemala.

2007 First mission trips to Appalachia and Guatemala launch ongoing mission involvement in those areas.

2008 The Diaconate is restored; six deacons are ordained and installed. The Guatemala Partnership Task Force is launched. CHPC begins offering English classes for immigrants (ELL), in partnership with James Lees Presbyterian Church, Covenant Community Church, and Second Presbyterian Church.

2010 French Language Outreach Ministry is started under leadership of Lengulula Kashama and Paula Tibbs.

2011 Guatemala Partnership brings first visitors to CHPC from Estoreno Presbytery. At the request of Kentucky Refugee Ministries, CHPC helps resettle a refugee family from Congo in partnership with the French Language Outreach Ministry. Dancila and Marcel, along with children Neema, Baraka, Fred, Lela, Eric, and Nelamu, had been living in a refugee camp in Kenya for many years. The day school ministry closes after more than 60 years of serving children.

2012 Eco-Justice Worship Collective begins under leadership of Rebecca Barnes.

2013 CHPC is certified by the PC(USA) as an Earth Care Congregation. CHPC provides support for Story Ministry led by Jennifer Thalman Kepler.

2015 Commitments to accessibility and care for the environment lead to completion of the Better Space campaign, which includes restoring stained glass windows, improving fellowship hall acoustics, and moving church offices to back building.

2016 CHPC hosts (in partnership with First Presbyterian Church, Shelbyville) the Mehe Aldeen family from Syria: Abdulkarim and Rana and their children, Ibrihim, Yamen, Yaman, and Joud. They are Sunni Muslims originally from Homs, Syria, who fled Syria in April of 2012.

2017 Soni Castleberry and Megan McCarty attended the Estoreno Presbytery Women’s Meeting in Guatemala. Pastor Jane Larsen-Wigger retired and preached her final sermon for us on October 1. We welcomed transitional pastor, Elisa Owen, on November 1.