Beckley Presbyterian Church

203 South Kanawha St
Beckley, WV 25801

Sunday School 9:45 a.m.
Sunday Worship 11:00 a.m.
Radio Broadcast 7:00 p.m. on WJLS 99.5 FM

Our Church History


~  Since   1872  ~
Early Meetings
The Beckley Presbyterian Church had its beginning in 1872, although all original records before May 12, 1907 were lost.  From a newspaper article and statements from older residents of the community, it is definitely established that about the year 1870 a Presbyterian Church was organized in Raleigh County, WV, under the name “Raleigh Presbyterian Church.”   For 37 years the congregation, composed of not more than 12  at any time, met in the homes of the people, in the schoolhouse, and in the churches of other denominations.  They relied on guest ministers from the Greenbrier Presbytery and visiting ministers of other denominations. 
The Founder
The first official church member and Elder was John Wallace McCreery*, who joined by letter on July 21, 1872.
*McCreery was born July 31, 1845.  He was a lawyer, and had a law office called “McCreery & Patterson” on the corner of Main and S. Kanawha Street.  He was a family man, a democrat, a State Senator, and a Prosecuting Attorney for 8 years. He helped form the Bank of Raleigh and was the president the rest of his life.  He was president of Beckley Seminary, the old Beckley Electric Light and Power Company, and the Piney Coking Coal Land Company.  From 1897-1900 he served as Master of Beckley Masonic Lodge No. 95, A.F. & A.M.  He died May 22, 1917 at his home on South Kanawha, which was directly across from the present-day church.
The First Pastor
On May 12, 1907, the Rev. W. S. Patterson was called to be the first pastor of the Raleigh Presbyterian Church.  He was a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan in Buckhannon, WV, and the Union Theological Seminary of Richmond, VA.  At that time the church membership was approximately 22 people.  Rev. Patterson accepted the call, and the members immediately started plans for a church of their own.  Senator McCreery donated a lot on South Kanawha Street, opposite his residence, as the site for a church building.
Rev. W. S. Patterson
The First Church Building
In June, 1909, the first church building was ready for use, and dedication was set for July 25th.  It was a substantial structure built of pressed brick, and the cost, including furnishings, was about $8000.  According to the local newspaper, “The congregation met for the first time in their handsome and comfortable new church, the first and only brick church building in the city.  The auditorium was comfortably filled, and Rev. Patterson delivered an excellent sermon.  Mrs. W. M. Taylor presided at the organ assisted by two coronet players, a duet was sung by Mr.& Mrs. W. MacTaggart and a solo by Mrs. McGavock.”

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.

Rev. T.K. Young of Holden, WV served the church until April 27, 1913 when Rev. G. N. Thomas of Concord, NC became the new pastor.  At that time there were 4 Elders, 2 Deacons, 46 Communicates, and 60 Sunday School members.  He resigned in 1917, having brought in many new members.  In May, 1917 the church called Rev. C. O. Pardo, then pastor of the Community Church at Glen White.  But he stayed less than one year, resigning to engage in YMCA work under the War Work Council.
The Covenanters Baseball Team
Good Shepherd Window
The Good Shepherd Window
On May 22, 1917, the same time that the church was again looking for a new pastor, Senator John W. McCreery (first Elder and church member who donated the land for the original church building) died at his home on South Kanawha Street.  In memory of Senator McCreery, a beautiful stained glass window, “The Good Shepherd,” was given to the church by the E. M. Payne family, and it can be seen today centered above the Beckley Presbyterian Church entrance facing McCreery Street.
Dr. Lineweaver Begins Longest
Pastoral Term
In May, 1919 the Rev. J. L. Lineweaver* of Alderson, WV accepted the call to become the new pastor.  During the first year he helped start the new Davis-Stuart Orphanage in Alderson, dividing his time between the two jobs.  He served the Beckley church until he retired in 1943.
*Rev. Lineweaver was born at Mount Clinton, VA on February 15, 1872 and received his early schooling at Harrisonburg.  Working his way through school after the death of his father, he entered Hampden-Sidney College before going to the Seminary to begin studying for the ministry.  He received his Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1904, and the DD degree was conferred upon him at Davis Elkins College in 1926.  He was aided in his ministry by his wife, Lucy, until her death in 1926, and his daughter, Ruth.
Along with his pastoral duties, Rev. Lineweaver was very active in community affairs.  He was a charter member of the Beckley Chamber of Commerce and vice president of the Co-operative Building and Loan Association.  In1926-27 he served as probation officer in the county.  He was elected President of the Raleigh County Board of Education in 1933, and was a charter member of Kiwanis International, serving as President in 1941-43.  Dr. Lineweaver died March 18, 1956 after serving as Pastor for 16 years and Pastor Emeritus 12 years.
Rev. J. L. Lineweaver
Church Acquires a Manse and a Secretary
The church leaders saw the need for a manse for the pastor, and in October, 1919 bought the “Foote” property at 303 North Kanawha Street from Elder William MacTaggart for $5800.  This home still stands today, although no longer the manse. 
In 1921 Miss Kate Johnson, a new member from VA, became the first secretary of the Beckley church and remained in that position until she retired in 1943.  Over the years, she worked closely with Dr. Lineweaver in the duties of secretary and into the outreach field of Sunday Schools that was conducted in many outlying areas.
Ladies’ Groups Become “Circles”
The Ladies Aid and Missionary Society of the Beckley church was active as early as 1911.  They had bazaars, silver teas, suppers, days of self denial, parcel post sales, and quilting bees to raise money.  From their treasury, they paid for items such as part of the new organ, repair of the roof, painting the church, stained oil paper for the windows, printing invitational cards, and purchasing new lights and electrical wiring for church repairs.  They cleaned and decorated the church, gave to and supported Sunday School programs in other churches, and collected for foreign mission work.
In September, 1921 the Session consented to the reorganization of the women and girls on the Auxiliary Circle plan.  That was the beginning of what we know today as “Circle Meetings.”
Present-Day Church Building is Constructed
Another decade had ended with the church steadily growing.  The building debt had finally been paid off, and already they were in need of more Sunday School rooms.  A lot close to the old church was purchased for a new church building from Hal M. Scott, and the decision was made to erect a stone building at an estimated cost of $75,000.  It is unclear exactly when the name Raleigh Presbyterian Church became Beckley Presbyterian Church, but by now it was being referred to as the latter.
On September 3, 1923 the cornerstone was laid by the Masonic Fraternity, Beckley Lodge Number 95 with a box of articles sealed inside.  It was estimated that over 1000 people attended the ceremony.  Over the next few years, the church had a large out-reach program with Sunday Schools at Teel, Beckley Junction, Cranberry, McAlpin, Mabscott, Raleigh, Skelton, Sprague, Stanaford, and Sylvia.  Members and church staff worked in the various Sunday Schools as superintendents, treasurers, choirs, and teachers.  And as the schools grew, so did the church membership.

 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.

Old church is sold to the city and used for a fire house.
Kate Johnson watches a piano being lifted up the steps.

 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 dedication for the new stone church was held on October 2, 1927.  In 1928 Rev. C. V. Brown, Jr. was appointed Associate Pastor.  He left after one year and was replaced by Rev. F. L. Shannon of Enfield, NC.  Shannon took on the task of “Minister for Community Work.”  This relieved the church of the responsibility of Sunday Schools at three locations – Sprague, Cranberry, and Skelton.
     Another decade was coming to an end, and by 1930 records showed a Main Sunday School, and Cranberry, Skelton, Teel, and Stanaford outpost Sunday Schools.  The Woman’s Auxiliary (14 Circles) were still supporting Foreign Missions, Home Missions, the Davis-Staurt Orphanage, and Greenbrier College.  Along with their spiritual life, they studied church literature, served in Christian Education with the young people, in outpost Sunday School programs, and as Pastor’s aides.
The Depression Years
Retirement Fund, A Girl Scout Troop
Although the church continued to grow, it was beginning to feel the crunch of the depression.  They cut back on electricity, outpost Sunday Schools, and staff salaries, including the pastor’s.  By the late 1930’s, Teel, Raleigh, and Stanaford were the only remaining outposts, as community churches had been formed and replaced the need for outpost Sunday Schools.
In 1937 the Beckley church agreed to participate in the Ministers Annuity Fund, which was implemented by the Presbytery to provide for ministers in their retirement years.  In 1939 the first Girl Scout Troop was organized and sponsored by the Gleaners Bible Class.  Miss Jane Clay was leader, and Miss Rowena Peters was assistant leader.  This was the first of about 50 years of sponsoring Girl Scout troops in the church.  (By the mid 40’s, all ranges of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts were sponsored by the church with members as leaders.)

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.

The Library
World War II Years Bring Many Changes
In April, 1940 the church paid off its sixteen year old debt for the new building.  In March, 1942 Rev. David Rees became the new Associate Pastor.  Miss Kate Johnson, church Secretary, retired in February, 1943, and Dr. Lineweaver announced his retirement in April of the same year.
In December, 1943 new church pews were installed at a cost of $1019, and opera chairs were installed in the balconies for $430.  As a bequest in the will of Miss Laura Pierson, the church received a gift of $500.  This gift was used to redecorate the Gleaner’s Class room, and it was renamed the “Laura Pierson Memorial Class Room.”  (The room is currently the Chapel, which in 1976 was dedicated in memory of Mr.& Mrs. Nick Rahall.  The Laura Pierson plaque was removed and placed on the Parlor door in her honor.)
Miss Hazel Adell Underwood, who came to the church in 1935, became the new church Secretary.  She was an active member of the Supper Circle and the Choir.  She was Superintendent of the church school’s Junior Department, and had taught in area Laboratory Schools in our Synod, in Montreat, and in other states.  (She later married a beloved member of the congregation, Mr. Maxwell Ott, in 1958, and she died on August 12, 1965.) 
In March, 1944 Rev. Rees resigned to enlist as Chaplain of the US Naval Reserves, and Rev. Lineweaver was elected Pastor Emeritus.  The church had 97 young men and women in active service, and before the end of the war, two had died – L.A. Gates, Jr. and C.J. Kinzer, Jr.
Dr. Witherspoon Becomes New Pastor
In 1945 Dr. James W. Witherspoon was called to be the new pastor of the Beckley Presbyterian Church.  Born in Greensboro, NC, he was a graduate of Davidson College in Davidson, NC and Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA.  The Old manse on North Kanawha Street was sold for $8500, and a larger manse was purchased on Beaver Avenue from G.C. Porter for $15,000.
In May, 1949 the church lost its oldest member, both in years and service – Elder William MacTaggart.  He was a charter member and elected Elder when the church was first organized.  By this time many of the older members had passed away, but the church continued to grow.  In fact, they were again seeing the need for additional space for Sunday School classes.
Dr. James W. Witherspoon
Church School Annex Purchased
On May 8, 1949 the Church purchased the Willie Patterson property beside the church (to the south side), for $35,000.  The Junior, Primary, Beginners, and Nursery Departments were moved into this house in June, 1950.  The Patterson house was referred to as the Church School Annex, and the property would be large enough for a future Church School Building.  Under the leadership of Miss Doreen Eachus, Christian Education Director for 17 years, the Church School flourished.  Enrollment was 484 with an average of 265.  Enrollment in the Women’s Bible Class alone was 105.  Church membership for 1950-51 was 845 members.
The Christian Education Building
By 1952 the congregation saw the need for a new Educational Building to replace the Church School Annex.  Classes were crowded, and fire safety was a major factor in the old frame house, so it was torn down in preparation for a new building. The architect’s estimated cost for a building of about 11,000 square feet was $160,000, exclusive of furnishings.  A loan was secured, and the contract was given to Vipperman Construction Company in September, 1953.  Furniture was ordered in July, 1954, and Open House was set for November 12th.
On December 1, 1957, the Rotary System of Elders and Deacons on a three year basis was approved.  When this system was first authorized by the General Assembly in 1933, the church tried it out for several years and then voted to abolish it in 1936, stating that to continue it was not in their best interest.
In September, 1959, the Session appointed an Evaluation Committee to thoroughly study the program and work of the Church.  With thoughts of the evaluation in mind, and with a slight decline in membership as well as being short on funds, the church entered into a new decade full of plans and determination.  They voted not to cut benevolences, but to rededicate themselves to meet current challenges.
Men’s Group Forms, Sadler Becomes Pastor
The Men of the Presbyterian Church formed in the early 60’s but disbanded ten years later.  Each meeting was a dinner meeting with devotions, programs, local speakers, etc., and attendance was good.  They supported the Boy Scout movement, organized the COVE for Beckley College students, helped with a food closet and funds for the needy, and contributed to the Davis-Stuart School.

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.

*Rev. Sadler was a native of Rock Hill SC, and he and his wife, Phyllis, had four children.  He was a graduate of Davidson College and Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA.  Prior to coming to Beckley he pastored the Commonwealth Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.  While here, he served three years on the Beckley Chamber of Commerce and the Raleigh County Community Action Association, and he was a past president of the Beckley Ministerial Association.  He received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Union Seminary in 1973 and resigned from the Beckley church in January 1974 to become pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Richmond.
Rev. Jack Sadler
First Woman Elder and Deacon
Church Renovation
Many changes had begun to take place within the church.  Over the years very few women were involved in committee work and leadership roles, but now women were being asked to serve.  In January, 1969 Mrs. A. J. (Liz) Walker became the first woman at the Beckley Presbyterian Church to be elected Elder.  The same year Mrs. William (Betty) Sutphin became the first woman Deacon.
In the mid 60’s the church underwent some extensive renovations and redecorating.  The building was completely re-roofed, much of the church interior was repainted including rooms in the Educational Building, the balcony rail in the sanctuary was raised for safety purposes, the fire escape was upgraded, the sanctuary carpeted, pianos tuned, choir robes replaced, the parking lot paved, and the kitchen got a new sink.  On top of all this, the pipe organ needed repaired.  In 1964 more pipes and a new console were added, doubling the organ’s size to 21 ranks of pipes.  The decade ended with a membership of 822 people.
Montessori School “Children’s House” Opens
During Dr. Sadler’s tenure the church started a new service to the community – a Montessori School and Day Care Center.  A non-profit undertaking, the school was started by Richard D. Kanakanui as well as volunteers from many community churches.  It’s purpose was to serve children from economically disadvantaged families.  Through public donations, welfare subsidies, and paid tuition by those able to pay, the school soon had 40 children, ages 3-5.  After ten years the enrollment was 75 students, which included kindergarten and first grade.  The school continued to operate in the Educational Building, along with the YMCA Happy Kids” Day Care program, until November 30, 2006 when it was determined that the program was no longer needed in the community.   
Dr. Friedrich (Fritz) Schilling, Jr.
Dr. Fritz Schilling Becomes Pastor
In November, 1972 Associate Pastor, Rev. Patterson, resigned, and in June, 1973 Rev. Julian W. Walthall accepted the position.  Then in February, 1974 Dr. Sadler resigned, and Dr. Friedrich Schiling, Jr.* from VA came to undertake the work of senior pastor.
*Dr. Schilling was born in Lynchburg, VA on August 2, 1934.  He took his degree in Forestry in 1956 at the Univ. of the South at Sewanee, TN.  He earned his Master’s Degree in Forestry at Yale in 1958.  He then worked as a forester with the Virginia Division of Forestry and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute .  From 1958-1961 Fritz served in the Air Force both as a radar interceptor controller in Alaska and with the M.I.T research lab in Boston.  In 1964 he enrolled at the Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA where he received his Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1967.  He earned a Master of Sacred Theology degree at Yale Divinity School in 1968, and his Doctoral degree at UTS in 1976.
      In May, 1977 Rev. Walthall resigned to attend Yale Divinity School, and on February 1, 1978 Dr. Phillip W. Leftwich of Atlanta, GA became the new Associate Pastor.  He worked closely with the young people meeting weekly, playing softball, hiking, canoeing, and going on retreats.  His wife, Betty, sang in the choir, directed the handbells, and volunteered as a nurse at the Red Cross.  They had three children. 
The New Noack Pipe Organ
The organ was an on-going project all during the 1970’s.  The old organ, purchased in 1926, was too old and expensive to keep repairing.  So in 1976 the church began looking for an organ builder and soliciting members for pledges and contributions to purchase it.  The contract went to the Noack Organ Company in Georgetown, Mass.  The organ was a three manual tracker of 36 stops, representing one of the finest examples of modern organ building in the eastern United States.  After eight months of building and installing, it was completed and dedicated on October 28, 1979.
Shepherd's Center sign on church grounds
 The Shepherd’s Center of Beckley
In 1979 the church was working on another project – organizing a Shepherd’s Center.  Mr. James Scott and his wife, Callie, learned about the Shepherd’s Center of Kansas City, MO after attending a conference at Montreat, NC in 1978.  Jim convinced the church that a Center would be a good thing for Beckley.  Just as the church had shared their facilities and financially aided the Children’s House to reach out to the young, now under the leadership of Jim Scott they were willing to help the senior citizens.  It was an ecumenical undertaking which would benefit seniors in many of the area churches.  After a year of intense planning, the Beckley Shepherd’s Center had their Grand Opening on January 22, 1980 with 116 participants and 11 sponsoring churches.  Though not as large, they are still active today and meet weekly at the Beckley Presbyterian Church.  See the  Shepherd’s Center of Beckley website
Elevator is Installed, More New Pastors
In the early 1980’s plans were made to renovate “Floor C,” the area of the church which houses the kitchen and a large fellowship area.  After the renovation it was renamed “Friendship Hall.”  Soon after this an elevator was installed, making it easier to transport things from the lower level to the first floor.  It also made the main church building more handicapped accessible.
On July 7, 1985 Dr. Fritz Schilling resigned after 10 years to accept a call to the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, TN.  Rev. Sherwood McKay, Jr. became the next pastor.  He resigned after 5 years,  and Rev. Edith A. Gause (Edie), a trained interim, was hired to serve as Interim Pastor.  In 1992 the church Secretary, Jeanette Harvey, retired after 27 years of service. 

 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.

The search for a new minister took 18 months, and on September 28, 1993 Rev. Robert W. Debnam* accepted the call to be pastor.  He remained with the church for nine years before retiring in 2002.
*Rev. Debnam (“Robin”) was born August 12, 1942 in Ashville, NC.  He graduated from Davidson College in 1964 with a B.S. degree in premedical science, and from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA in 1970.  He served in the US Army ROTC and was a second lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps.  He received an honorable discharge as a captain after 7 years of service.  He received the Govenor’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service, was awarded an Army Commendation Medal, helped build Scotia Village Retirement Community in Laurinburg, NC, and started Hospice of Scotland County, NC.    
Rev. Robert W. Debnam
Rev. Malcolm Brownlee

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

Rev. Adrian J. Pratt became the church pastor on November 28, 2004.  He was born in Wallasey, England in 1957 and married his wife, Yvonne, in 1978.  They have two children,  Helen and Matthew.  At the same time, his wife became the new church secretary, replacing Mrs. Sherri Winders.  The end of January 2009 Rev. Pratt resigned but stayed on through the end of March, having only served close to 4 1/2 years. He and his family then moved to Long Island, NY where he accepted a new call.
 *In 1984, following a four year course of study at Aberystwyth Theological College, he was ordained a minister within the Presbyterian church of Wales and took care of his first churches of Ruthin and Denbigh in Northeast Wales.  His second call was to inner city Liverpool, where took care of two congregations and served a year as a part-time chaplain at a children’s hospital.  Prior to moving to the USA, Adrian spent five and a half years ministering in the rural Welsh communities of Caernarfon and Menai Bridge in Northwestern Wales.  Following an exchange visit to Minnesota, the Pratts started exploring the possibility of serving a church in this country.  This resulted in a call to the Fayetteville Presbyterian Church, where he served for 8 years before coming to Beckley.
Rev. Adrian J. Pratt
On May 6, 2007, Rev. Janice M Tiedeck was ordained at Beckley Presbyterian Church and installed as Associate Pastor, where much of her work would be with the youth and the MSU Campus Ministry.  While here she gave birth to two daughters.  By the end of 2012 the church decided to do away with the Associate Pator position, so she accepted a new call as pastor of a church in Pennsylvania.
*Janice was born in 1980 in Hornell, NY and grew up in Schenectady, where she was very active in church activities. She attended Eastern University near Philadelphia, PA and earned a BA degree in Political Science with minors in American History and Christian Leadership.  In the Fall of 2002 Janice entered Palmer Seminary and did 2 years of Field Education at Wallingford Presbyterian Church.  It was here where she met and married her husband, Jay.  Following graduation she did a year of clinical pastoral education at Christiana Hospital in Delaware and Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.
In the Fall of 2008, the Rev. Dr. William A. dePrater became the new intirim pastor and served for 2 years.  He and his wife “Mickey” (Rev. Margaret R. dePrater) have 3 grown daughters.
*Dr. dePrater is a native of Fayetteville, NC, and a ninth generation Presbyterian.  He is a graduate of Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC, and of Erskine Seminary in Due West, SC.  Following ordination to the ministry by the Pee Dee Presbytery in SC, he began studies in the Doctor of Ministry program at McCormick Seminary in Chicago with an emphasis in congregational revitalization.  Upon graduation from McCormick Seminary, he further completed a Residency in Clinical Pastoral Education at the William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute in Columbia, SC.  Throughout his ministerial career he served churches and presbyteries in many capacities (the list is long!).  By the Fall of 2010 his work at the Beckley church was finished.  
Dr. William dePrater

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.

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