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Our History

Organized on June 4, 1795, First Presbyterian Church is the oldest congregation in Columbia. Today, our membership numbers some 2,500, representing around 1,000 family units. Though we live and work all over the Midlands of South Carolina, we are a community in Christ, joined together by the grace of God, worshipping and glorifying Him in fellowship and in service.

The history of the church is closely tied to that of the city of Columbia and the state of South Carolina. The church’s forefathers first met in the old State House and later in a simple wooden meeting house on our present grounds. The sanctuary, built in 1853, and the graveyard are both on The Historic Register. The 180-foot church spire, once the tallest structure in Columbia, is a spiritual beacon of faith in the city’s skyline.

In 1983, this congregation requested and received dismissal from Congaree Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the United States and affiliated itself with Catawba Presbytery of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

An extensive renovation and restoration project was completed in 2002. It has provided excellent accommodations for worship, education, fellowship and recreation.

To learn more about the church’s history, ministers, theology, buildings and the family of God which has gathered here, we recommend the book The Glory of the LORD Risen Upon It, written by Dr. David Calhoun on the occasion of the 1995 bicentennial celebration.

Download the The Glory of the Lord Risen Upon It  in PDF format.

Associate Reformed Presbyterian

First Presbyterian Church is a congregation of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod – an association which began in 1983 – and a member of Catawba Presbytery. For more information on the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod visit their website,

Church Government

The church is governed by the Session, made up of 40 Elders and moderated by its Senior Minister. The church also has a board of 48 Deacons who attend to the material, financial, and practical needs of the church’s ministry. (For more information, see our "Church Officers" page.)

First Presbyterian Church, along with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod, subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith and its Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Subscribe to the ARP Maganzine

Music History

The Ronald Miller Memorial Library was established in honor of the late Ronald E. Miller, Sr., who served as the organist for First Presbyterian Church for 45 years. The generous bequest of his extensive personal collection of organ music forms the foundation of this unique library. For more information about this library, visit the Ronald Miller Memorial Library page.