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Our History

“Remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other…”

Isaiah 46: 9 (NRSV)

First Presbyterian Church of Easton has a very long and proud history with strong inclinations towards outreach to the community and world.  The seeds were sown in 1744 when David Brainerd arrived in Easton with the intent of bringing the gospel to the local Indians, but additionally reached out to a small gathering of settlers.

This small group grew and finally was officially incorporated in 1794 and immediately began a school, the Union Academy, to teach English to the mostly German-speaking community.  Very quickly, however, they began using the building on Sundays for the worship of God, calling themselves the Easton Religious Society.  Within 12 years, the First Presbyterian Church of Easton was officially established in 1811.

The pastor at that time began Easton’s first Sunday School and was well known for his “good works among the Easton negroes,” saving a place for them in Sunday worship.  FPC grew and flourished adding many members and activities, most notably the numerous Mission Sunday Schools that branched out to the surrounding neighborhoods.  There were mission societies for all ages that incorporated education, fellowship, service and giving.

After the Civil War, our church supported the Freedmen’s Bureau for newly emancipated slaves and charity work within the community and world.  Under the “we will come to you” philosophy, there was significant outreach establishing multiple area Sunday Schools guided by members of FPC.  Additionally FPC supported foreign mission long before it became popular.  A school in India received our church’s financial support and Thomas Wilson, an African-American, was ordained from our congregation for missionary work in Africa.

Many of those branches grew into their own individual churches, including the current College Hill Presbyterian Church.

By the turn of the 20th Century, an old mission evolved into teaching English to the influx of Italian immigrants to our area.

As heirs to this impressive, varied history, we continue First Church’s commitment to mission.  We have evolved.  The commitment is the same, but the methods have changed to accommodate social, economic, and technological trends.

In 1955, we established the Spring Garden Children’s Center which operated out of the current church building.  While still in existence, the Center now operates independently in another Easton location.

In 2004, the congregation affirmed an earlier decision to stay in Easton and continue our work from there.  We completed a major renovation of the church with renewed commitment to continue our missions locally, nationally and internationally, and to be a recognizable force in the Easton area.

Our congregation is slowly growing not only in numbers but also in diversity of ages, races, ethnic groups, and sexual orientations.  The faces of our church have been changing with approximately a quarter of our members having joined in the last five years.

For a more intimate perspective, check out these histories written by two of our long-time members:

Jim Van Norman
Nancy Wilson