A Rich History
Park Presbyterian Church of Beaver, Pennsylvania celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 2003. In conjunction with that event extensive renovations were made to the facility to provide additional useful educational space, modernize and expand rest room facilities, provide an elevator to all levels and redecorate the entire complex. The cost exceeded $1,500,000 and the church is free of any debt related to that renovation.
Park Presbyterian Church had its origin as a congregation of the Associate Presbyterian Church in 1853. For several years before that time the pastor of the Four Mile Associate Presbyterian Church came to Beaver to hold services at various locations for several families in the Beaver area.
The first permanent church for the congregation was built in 1861, a brick building that remains today as an apartment building. The present church, a brown stone building overlooking McIntosh Square was completed in 1905. It included the first pipe organ ever to grace the worship service for the Beaver congregation. The Education Building addition was added in 1931. It was begun in the fall of 1929, just as the stock market crash occurred and the Great Depression set in.
The Beaver congregation became the First United Presbyterian Church of Beaver with the merger in 1858 of the Associate Presbyterian and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian denominations to form the United Presbyterian Church of North America. As a result of the subsequent merger with the Presbyterian Church in the United States in 1953 the congregation became a member of the Beaver-Butler Presbytery of the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. When the Presbyterian Church in the United States rejoined the denomination in 1958 the Presbyterian Church (USA) became the name of our denomination.
The Beaver congregation changed its name in 1959 to Park United Presbyterian Church of Beaver to avoid confusion with the First Presbyterian Church in the same community. In 1984 the “United” was dropped from the official name.
Sixteen pastors have been called and served Park Church in its 155 years of existence. As a testimony to the stability of leadership, only five permanent pastors have served since 1913.
Coming from the mission-oriented United Presbyterian background, Park Church is proud of its heritage as a giving church. A number of missionaries have ventured into the foreign mission fields as both long term and short term missionaries. One has even given her life literally in a violent African country. In recent years, teams of Park members exchanged visits with Brazilians teams annually, in support of a sister church ministering in the favellas of Belo Horizonte. Park Church has a rich history of sending sons and daughters into the ministry as well.
Not to be overlooked is the place women have served in Park Church. For years the Women’s Missionary Societies supported missionaries in foreign services. In 1915 the first woman to ever hold the office of trustee in the local church was elected. The first woman deacon was elected in 1969 and the first woman elder in 1970, nine years before the General Assembly adopted “inclusiveness” in our Book of Order.
For a more complete history, stop by or email our office for a copy of the history book we published in 2003.