History of the Church

Timeline of First United Presbyterian Church - Fayetteville, Arkansas

  • 1830 Early settlers met with the Reverend Buchanan to form Fayetteville's first church, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Fayetteville. Worship services were first held in a blacksmith's shop.
  • 1862 A brick church was built with volunteer labor at a cost of $2,500 on 229 Block St. This building was used for Federal quarters during the Civil War.
  • 1863 Confederates burned down the church building, and all records were lost in the fire.
  • 1867 The congregation reorganized, rebuilt after the fire, and provided three moderators for the church's General Assembly.
  • 1873 The "Southern Church" (Presbyterian Church U.S.) organized the First Presbyterian Church of Fayetteville.
  • 1874 The first pastor, the Reverend Davies, was called to the First Presbyterian Church. A sanctuary was dedicated on the corner of College Avenue and Spring Street. The lot and building cost $1750.
  • 1904 First Presbyterian built a new brick church. The original frame structure was moved to South College Avenue, where the sanctuary became The White Chapel mission.
  • 1906 The congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church followed the main body of the Cumberland denomination in reuniting with the "Northern Church" (Presbyterian Church U.S.A.), and became the Central Presbyterian Church. The sanctuary and educational rooms were built at the corner of Dickson and St. Charles Streets, the present site of the U.S. Post Office.
  • 1939 The White Chapel Mission closed.
  • 1953 The two congregations federated (combined) with the name First Presbyterian Church.
  • 1956 The two congregations merged boards to form one congregation under the discipline (governance) of the "Northern Church."
  • 1958 This denomination united with another Presbyterian body to form the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The local congregation used this occasion to adopt its present name: The First United Presbyterian Church of Fayetteville.
  • 1960 In joy and prayer, the congregation broke ground on Nov. 20 for the present church building.
  • 1961 The congregation moved to the beautiful hilltop in July. The church campus on "Presbyterian Hill" included a fellowship hall, an office building, and two education buildings. The church worshiped in the Fellowship Hall.
  • 1970 The current sanctuary was completed.
  • 1995 The sanctuary configuration underwent renovations by adding a dais, changing the carpet from gold to red, and adding several ranks of exposed pipes to the organ.
  • 2000 An ambitious expansion and renovation effort added 14,930 square feet to the church, bringing the total footage to 42,825 square feet. During this period, the church’s mission statement became “a Light on the Hill.”
  • 2003 The church, mindful of past and present servants who built for future generations, joyfully dedicated the updated campus to the glory of God.
  • 2010 The church began an exciting new season of its ministry and outreach as Co-Pastors Jan and Phil Butin began service as a clergy couple. They were installed in a joyful celebration on April 18, 2010.
  • Cumberland Church 1867Cumberland Church

  • First Presbyterian Church 1873First Presbyterian Church

  • First Presbyterian Church 1904First Presbyterian Church

  • Central Presbyterian Church 1906Central Presbyterian Church

  • Two congregations merge 1956Two congregations merge

  • Grounds for the current sanctuaryGrounds for the current sanctuary

Throughout our 180 years of service in Northwest Arkansas, the changing face of the church has continually served the local community in Christ’s name. The University of Arkansas Infirmary, Butterfield Trail Village, Richardson Center, Cooperative Emergency Outreach, Creative School, Yellow Brick House, Boy and Girl Scout Troops, Habitat for Humanity, Life Styles, and First School are a few examples of institutions benefiting from Presbyterian leadership and active volunteers. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, multiple mission trips by adult and youth members helped with the needed community restoration.

No doubt in part due to its location in a university community, First United Presbyterian Church has had the privilege of nurturing an exceptional number of members in responding to God’s call to full time Christian ministry, including a remarkable number of women.

In keeping with the church’s mission of being "a light on the hill" for Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas, current church priorities focus around prayerfully seeking to provide

  • Worship that is vibrant, profound, and transformative
  • Spiritual growth and education that sustain hope, cultivate wonder, and develop a joyful and genuine faith grounded in scripture
  • Evangelism and fellowship that welcome, nurture, and draw us into a caring community
  • Service and outreach through which God sends us to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace
  • Stewardship of God's gifts that is enthusiastic, wise, and faithful
  • Leadership that is visionary, inspirational, and missional.