HISTORY OF THE BECKLEY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Rev. Patterson resigned from the pulpit in October, 1911. He had not only served the church, but the community as well. He taught Bible studies at the Beckley Institute and organized a boys baseball team in Beckley called The Covenanters. (In the picture – First Row: Howard George, Virgil Rhodes, Fred Hawley, Price Hawley, Paul Stanley; Back Row: Beecher Dunn, D.Crozier, Wash Aliff, Jess Crozier, Grady Shumate) Patterson died in 1968 and is buried in the Davidson Cemetery, NC.
In August, 1924 records show that they were still using both buildings. Then in the fall of 1925 the old church property was sold to the City of Beckley for $23,000 which included money for renovation. The original building still stands and has served the City over the years as a Mayor’s office, Police and Fire Department, Sanitary Board, and Council Chambers.
In March, 1926 the church purchased its first pipe organ for $5600. Also, in that same month, the office of Church Secretary was officially created, and Miss Kate Johnson was appointed and approved for the job. Her salary was $150 a month, and along with her regular office duties her job included being the Director of Religious Education and secretary for all the Sunday Schools. (She is shown in the picture watching the piano being lifted up the steps.)
The Church Library
The Church Library was organized in July, 1939 with the object of securing valuable Christian reference books which, free of cost, could be used by all church members in the study of God’s word. The Library started with 17 books that were donated by church members. Several of the Circles as well as other church members made monetary contributions for purchasing books. Over the years many ladies have served on the Library Committee and as Librarians. From a collection of 17 books, the number is now well over 1000. Today the Library is located in the Educational Building.
The year 1939 closed with two outpost Sunday Schools and Mission work sponsored at Raleigh, Terry, and Wright. The enrollment in the three Sunday Schools was 675.
In August, 1966 Dr. Witherspoon retired, and in November Dr. Fred H. Leach came to the church as Interim Pastor. The church sold the old manse on Beaver Avenue and purchased a new one on Woodlawn Avenue. This became the home of the new pastor, Rev. R. Jack Sadler*, and his family. In 1968 Samuel Curtis Patterson became the Assistant Pastor.
In March, 1993 the church approved the adoption of the Unicameral System: The persons making up the Session was enlarged, and those already making up the Deaconate became nominees for the next class of the Session to be elected.
Following the resignation of Rev. Debnam, the Rev. Dr. Malcolm Brownlee became interim paster and served from 2002-2004. Interestingly enough, Rev. Brownlee and his wife Sarah had been our church’s missionaries in Indonesia for many years. The search for a new pastor ended in September 2004 with the hiring of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt, who at the time was pastor of the Fayetteville Presbyterian Church
On Sunday, September 4, 2011, the Rev. John McKinnon began serving as Senior Pastor at Beckley Presbyterian Church. He and his family are from New Bern, NC, where John served as Associate Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church for five years following his graduation from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA. While in New Bern, John’s work focused on the areas of Education, Mission & Outreach, and Fellowship.
When in seminary John served as the Youth Director at Tuckahoe Presbyterian Church. Prior to seminary he was the Director of Camp Albemarle, a Presbyterian camp and retreat center on Bogue Sound near Morehead City, NC. While serving as camp director he met the love of his life, Darci.
In 2016 Rev. McKinney and his family left Beckley and moved to Oklahoma where John was installed as pastor of the Presbyterian church in Oklahoma City.