First United Presbyterian Church

The 1953 Cross

In the Calvin building, outside of the classroom used for the Present Word Bible Study class, there hangs a sort of tapestry commemorating the fusion of the three churches that combined to create the present day First United Presbyterian Church.

It has the names of three churches: Central Presbyterian, First Presbyterian, and Cumberland Presbyterian, with their active years.

Cumberland Presbyterian was the first of the churches, and indeed the first church in Fayetteville, organizing in Arkansas Territory in 1830, just ten years after the region was opened to settlers from the United States. Meetings took place in a blacksmith shop owned by John Lewis, in members’ homes, and in a variety of other buildings.

First Presbyterian was founded in 1873 as a part of PC(USA).

In 1906, Cumberland Presbyterian merged with another Presbyterian congregation in the area to become Central Presbyterian Church.

Members of Central Presbyterian and First Presbyterian first considered a merger in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1953 that the union took place. The new church was known as the “Federated” church.

The hanging reminds us of the important event of 1953, and lifts high the cross in celebration.

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