A letter by Rev.
S.Q. Proctor, presbyterial missionary, requesting the
presbytery to take the newly organized church at Longview, Texas,
under its care was read, and on motion, was taken under the care
of the presbytery.
To the McAdow
The undersigned respectfully represent that on the 4th day of June A. D. 1935, there was organized by the Rev. S. Q. Proctor at Longview, Texas, a new church, adopting the principles of the government of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, with a membership of seven (7), and electing the undersigned as ruling elders.
Under and by authority of said church, we do hereby apply to be received under your care, and we promise a cheerful compliance on its part, as well as our own, with all the duties and obligations enjoined upon particular churches and their officers by the government of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Elder Joe C. McKinley,
Elder Albert Tubbs.
Date, July 7, 1935.
On motion, Elder Joe C. McKinley of the Longview Church was
seated as a member of the body.
[Source: Minutes of McAdow Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, July 9, 1935, page 6]
The report was read, concurred in, amended and finally adopted as follows:
Your Board of Missions, by recommendation of the regular meeting of presbytery, have employed Rev. S. Q. Proctor as a presbyterial missionary for a period of six months at a salary of seventy-five ($75.00) dollars per month. He has made several visits over different parts of the presbytery. And after investigating the possibilities of organizing a church in Longview, he thought it would be worth while to try to perfect a church there. The board purchased a tent and seats costing thirty ($30.00) dollars. He raised it at Longview and held a meeting there which resulted in the organization of a church of seven members. He has a regular Sunday school, and is supplying them with preaching.
Two lots have been donated by D. H. Jones and Bun E. Rodden
on which to erect a church building. Brother
Proctor has raised in subscription the sum of sixteen
hundred ($1,600.00) dollars towards the erection of a church building.
This project is under the direction of the Board of Missions.
[Source: Minutes of McAdow Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, July 9, 1935, page 7]
I am happy to announce the organization of a new Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Longview. This resulted from a revival effort sponsored by the Presbyterial Board of Missions.
Two lots have been donated on the corner in a fast growing addition. A piano is promised when the building is erected. We are making plans to begin the erection of a small brick veneer building with some five Sunday school rooms.
We would like to have up to twenty copies of literature for
the different ages as we need the variety. This is a new Sunday
school organized June 9--and you promise free literature to new
schools. Send to Mr. Billy Holt, Longview, Tex., Box 781.--Reporter.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, July 11, 1935, page 12]
We are happy, in fact very happy, to announce the completion of another Cumberland Presbyterian church (Longview, Texas) for which we thank God, the giver of every good and perfect gift. We believe it is one of the prettiest and most worship-inspiring churches in the entire church. The total cost of church and church property amounts to better than seven thousand dollars. We are able to handle the financial end very well with the help of our good friends.
A few years after the union the church had died out, and practically every member joined some other church. Last summer, after praying over the matter, the Board of Missions of this presbytery decided to send their missionary here to try to organize. A meeting was held and a church was finally organized with only seven members and one of these unable to attend.
Yet through faith in God and hard work these few and some others
who were deeply interested have, after only some six months, erected
and put into operation a beautiful church opened for worship by
December 30, 1935. "For with God all things are possible."--Rev.
S. Q. Proctor.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, January 9, 1936, page 16]
A 50th anniversary was celebrated at First Church on June 2, with a special service and homecoming program with the theme "Remembering the Past and Preparing for the Future." Approximately 150 persons were present including former members and other visitors from distant cities.
Guest speaker was Rev. S. Q. Proctor of Mesquite, TX, who organized the congregation with seven charter members in June, 1935, during a tent revival. He served as pastor, 1935-1936, and again from 1972-1979.
Greetings from three other former pastors, Reverends Loyce S. Estes, T. C. Stockton and Oris W. Ray, were read and a former interim pastor, Rev. L. L. Thomas, was present.
Mrs. J. C. McKinley, the only surviving charter member, recalled the early days of the church and her son, Jimmie J. McKinley, read a brief history. Other descendants of charter members were recognized as were present and former elders and other leaders and members of the anniversary planning committee, chaired by Mrs. Boyd Bolton.
Old photographs and other memorabilia were displayed along with original art works in the form of a model of the 1935 tent and a fabric picture of the present sanctuary building made by Mrs. D. H. Miller, and three large drawings (the McAdow log house in Tennessee, the tent and the present building) by David Holt.
The congregation has purchased property on the north side on
Longview and is planning to build and relocate. The pastor is
Rev. Merlyn A. Alexander, who came in 1980. June P. Johnson,
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, September 15, 1985, page 15]
On Sunday, August 21, the members of First Church, pledged more than $114,000.00 to be paid to the building fund by April 1989. With this commitment of faith, the Session voted unanimously to begin construction immediately on the new church plant.
A ground breaking service was held Sunday morning, September 25 at the site on the north side of Longview in a newly-developed residential area. Ninety-seven church members and friends were present for the impressive service. Mrs. J. C. McKinley, the only living charter member of the church, turned the first shovel of dirt.
The new building will feature a sanctuary seating 230 people, modern nursery facilities with private bath, ten fully-carpeted educational classrooms, administrative offices for the secretary and minister, an ultra-modern kitchen, a fellowship hall seating 150, and a covered driveway for bad weather conditions. The entire facility should be completed and ready for occupancy in approximately eight months.
The church is entering a new era of growth under the capable
leadership of the pastor, the Rev. Wayne Schwitz.--June Johnson,
Wayne Schwitz, pastor of First Church, Longview, with Mrs. J. C. McKinley, only living charter member of the congregation (left). More than 97 church members and friends, including the Session and Building Committee members (right), attended the service.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, November 1, 1988, page 14]
TX, LONGVIEW, FIRST
The Sunday evening worship service on June 25 marked the end of an era for First church as it was the last service held in its building at South Green and Radio Streets. One hundred members, former members and friends gathered for this historic occasion.
The Rev. S. Q. Proctor of Mesquite was the guest minister for the service. He was the church's founding minister in 1935 when the present sanctuary was built, and so had the distinction of having preached at the first and last Cumberland Presbyterian worship services in this building.
There was a period of "recognition and remembrances" with many in the congregation recalling special events in their lives which had occurred in this sanctuary. Mrs. J. C. McKinley, the only living charter member of the church, was given special recognition and was presented a beautiful silk corsage. A social hour, with homemade ice cream and cake, followed in the Fellowship Hall.
On Sunday, July 2, the congregation was invited to worship with the Elmira Chapel congregation because of a parking lot problem at the new location.
However, the long-awaited day arrived on Sunday, July 9, when the first services were held in the new building at 2401 Alpine Road. One hundred forty-six people gathered at 11:00 AM for the joyous occasion.
The following members of the building committee were recognized for their faithful service: Betty Johnson, chairperson; Sally Halliburton, secretary; Billy Holt, Virdell Johnson, Donald Miller, Bob Smith, and Bruce Stott.
Also recognized was Helen Green, nursery attendant for many years, on her retirement.
Formal dedication services for the new church will be September
24. The Rev. G. Wayne Schwitz is the pastor.--June Johnson,
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, August 15, 1989, page 13]
TX, LONGVIEW, FIRST
Growing into a new church
By G. Wayne Schwitz, Editor-at-large
The dedication service for the new church building of the First Church, Longview, TX, was held September 24.
The facility was built at a total cost of $580,000 and fifteen new members have joined the congregation in the first weeks in the building. The church anticipates a bright future of growth and ministry as they have experienced a 35% increase in active membership since February 1988.
Velma McKinley, the only living charter member of the church, was escorted to the chancel by her son, Jimmie McKinley, and a special presentation was made by Mr. Schwitz. He announced that the fellowship hall had been named McKinley Hall in her honor.
More than 200 people attended the worship service directed
by the pastor, the Rev. G. Wayne Schwitz. Other ministers participating
in the worship service included the Rev. Paul Cook, the Rev. Loyce
Estes, a former minister, and the Rev. Paul Allen.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, November 15, 1989, page 12]
A CHURCH IS BORN
The first steps toward organizing the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Longview, TX, were taken in 1935 by the Rev. S. Q. Proctor under the direction of the Board of Missions of McAdow Presbytery whose members were the Rev. W. R. Harber, Mr. B. E. Rodden and Mr. R. S. McKinley.
Rev. Proctor conducted a tent revival on Electra Street from May 29 through June 6, 1935. On the night of June 3, the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized with the following charter members: Alex Fisher, Mr. and Mrs. Charley Harper, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. McKinley and Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Tubbs.
Immediately following the revival, Sunday School and morning worship services were held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Holt until the completion of the church building in December 1935. This building was located on the corner of South Green and Radio Streets. A frame house on Holly Street was soon purchased and served for many years as the manse.
The first Session consisted of the following elders: W. E. Jones, J. C. McKinley and A. H. Tubbs.
The membership increased as neighborhood families began to attend, and people from throughout the area learned of the new church and they, also, came to worship there.
Rev. Proctor resigned in November 1936 to go into mission work, and he was followed in the pastorate by the Rev. L. L. Bryant (November 1936-September 1937) and the Rev. W. H. Cheatham (December 1937-July 1949).
The church had one of its most active periods under the leadership of Rev. Cheatham. The membership increased and attendance was good. There was an active women's organization called the Missionary Auxiliary, an active children's organization and a large number of young people including two--Billy and Grace Tubbs Holt--who are still very active in the church today.
A CHURCH AT WORK
Throughout the next several years, the church showed very little growth, but its members remained steadfast and faithful in the Lord's work. They were loyal supporters of the denominational programs, and the women's organization was active in local projects as well as in the support of missions.
During this period, a two-story building was erected west of the original building. Later, the two buildings were joined with a middle section. During the pastorate of the Rev. Loyce Estes (October 1949-June 1952), work was started on a brick manse on the church property.
There was a period of noticeable growth during the pastorate of the Rev. T. C. Stockton (November 1953-January 1963). However, during the ensuing years, the neighborhood declined and members moved to distant areas of the city. Some united with other local Cumberland Presbyterian churches while others left our denomination. As often happens, many young people married and moved away or chose to join another denomination with their spouses.
A few new members continued to come into First Church, but the membership was in a declining or "holding" pattern. Nevertheless, First Church remained a church "at work." It maintained continuous support of the denominational programs including mission work, and it continued being a friendly church whose members loved and cared for each other as well as for the needy of the community and city.
The Rev. S. Q. Proctor returned to pastor the church (November 1971-November 1979), and it was during this time that the fellowship hall was built just south of the other buildings.
A CHURCH ON THE MOVE
It was during the pastorate of the Rev. Merlyn A. Alexander (June 1980-September 1987) that the church members and Session began serious discussions concerning relocation. It appeared that the opportunity for church growth would be greater in another area of the city.
A building committee was appointed in the mid 1980s, and land was purchased on Alpine Road just south of Loop 281, a major thoroughfare around the city. Plans were discussed, the architect's drawings were presented for approval and many fund raisers were held.
Rev. Alexander resigned in September 1987 to accept a pastorate in another state, and the Rev. Paul H. Allen served as interim pastor for the next several months while the pastoral search committee was seeking a full time pastor. Rev. Allen's enthusiasm was contagious. His sermons challenged the congregation to move forward and to step out on faith. Attendance at the worship services picked up, and there was a feeling of excitement as the building plans progressed.
A new pastor, the Rev. G. Wayne Schwitz, was employed and was on the field by February 1988. He was truly called by the Lord to this work, and he and his wife, Nancy, have been a blessing to the congregation and to the entire community.
With the leadership and enthusiasm of Rev. Schwitz, the building program progressed at a rapid pace. In August 1988, the Session approved construction of the entire new church facility at a cost of $477,230.00 based on pledges received from the congregation. The manse on Radio Street was sold, thus providing ready cash to help facilitate the start of construction.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held on September 25, 1988, at the site of the new church on Alpine Road. Mrs. J. C. (Velma) McKinley, the only living charter member of the church, turned the first spade of dirt. B. B. Reese Construction Company of Longview was awarded the building contract, and First Church was "on the move."
A CHURCH GOING FORWARD
Enthusiasm had been running high during the months the building was under construction, and the move to their new church home in a different part of the city had been eagerly awaited by the members. Before leaving the south side location which had been their church's home for more than 50 years, Rev. Schwitz admonished the members that they could not move into their new church facilities and just sit down and hold their hands and expect to gain new members. The reality of this statement put the people to work with renewed interest and enthusiasm.
Hundreds of visits and phone calls were made, letters were sent throughout the area and advertisements were placed in the local newspaper inviting people to visit the church. And visit they did!
Attendance at the worship services increased rapidly, and many of these people began to unite with the church--some coming for the fist time to accept Christ as their Savior.
The first service was held in the new building on July 9, 1989, and from that time through Sunday, April 15, 1990, there have been 34 additions to the First Church family. When asked what led them to choose First Church for their home, the new members gave the same basic response: the friendliness of the people, and the love and warmth we feel in the fellowship.
The members of First Church would be quick to tell you that moving to a new location was a wise choice, but it was their friendly spirit and genuine sincere love for their fellow man that facilitated this explosive growth in membership. This growth has provided a stimulus for the congregation, and all programs of the church are moving forward in a positive manner.
It is our prayer that all things done in the First Cumberland Presbyterian church will be done for the glory of God and for the furtherance of His Kingdom here on Earth.
Active elders when the new church was completed: Kathleen Collins, Joe Hart, Virdell Johnson, Florence Pennewill, T. J. Roberts, Bruce Stott, and F. P. (Jake) Waits.
Building Committee: Betty Johnson, chairman; Sally Halliburton, Billy Holt, Virdell Johnson, Don (Smoke) Miller, Bob Smith and Bruce Stott.
[Source: Compiled by June Johnson-April 17, 1990]
S. Q. Proctor (organizing pastor), June 1935-November 1936
L. L. Bryant, November 1936-September 1937
W. H. Cheatham, December 1937-July 1949
Loyce S. Estes, October 1949-June 1952
W. Ed Glover, August 1952-October 1953
T. C. Stockton, November 1953-January 1963
H. Glenn Finley, March 1963-September 1965
Oris W. Ray, November 1965-March 1967
Tom Sisk, June 1967-December 1971
S. Q. Proctor, November 1971-November 1979
Merlyn A. Alexander, June 1980-September 1987
G. Wayne Schwitz, February 1988-August 1990
Charles Hughes, October 1990-December 1996
Mark Horner, May 1997-Present
On the last Sunday of October 2003, the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Longview, Texas, surprised and honored one of its long-time faithful members--Jimmie Joe McKinley. With special music, hand bells, and a standing ovation, the congregation announced the Jimmie Joe McKinley Heritage Fund, a new endowment established by the session and members for the support of the Historical Foundation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America. Also at that service, the church was itself honored by the Historical Foundation for becoming the first congregation to achieve the designation as a Silver Heritage Church.
The new Jimmie Joe McKinley Heritage Fund was created as part of the current campaign to "Bring Home Our Records!" This is a multi-year project of the Historical Foundation which was inaugurated with the 2003 Denomination Day Offering and will be continued with the 2004 Denomination Day Offering. The goal of the project is to secure microfilm copies of records of Cumberland Presbyterian synods, presbyteries, and congregations held in the collections of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and usable copies of similar records in other archives around the country.
Part of the funds raised "Bring Home Our Records!" will buy additional storage cabinets to house the records acquired on microfilm and additional microfilm readers/printers. Equipment will also be purchased to take out into the field to scan and print Cumberland Presbyterian records wherever they may be found.
The honoree on that October day, Jimmie McKinley, is a descendant of Cumberland Presbyterians who pioneered in Texas, as well as a lifelong member of and an elder in the Longview (Texas) church, where both his parents were charter members. With energy and intelligence, he has used his wide range of interests and skills to serve his denomination in many ways: as both a staff member and trustee at Bethel College, as a member of the boards of Mission of East Texas and Caddo Presbyteries, and as a member of the Board of Missions of Texas Synod. Using his training as a journalist, Mr. McKinley edited copy for A People Called Cumberland Presbyterians (the denominational history published in 1972) and Hearth and Chalice: The Story of Cumberland Presbyterian Women and World Mission (published in 1980). He has been a consistent supporter of the Historical Foundation in its efforts to preserve and promote the heritage of his church family.
In his local community, Jimmie McKinley has worked faithfully with the Longview-Piney Woods Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Texas Shakespeare Festival Guild, the East Texas Oil Museum Guild, the Gregg County Historical Society, and other organizations too numerous to mention. He is active in the Love in Action and Young at Heart programs of his local church and assists in organizing his congregation's participation in Means on Wheels and the Food Box. The appreciation felt by church members and friends in the community for this quiet and unassuming man who supports so many worthy causes was evident on the day he was honored.
While honoring a faithful member, the Longview congregation also achieved a distinction for itself. The Historical Foundation has put in place a method for honoring congregations that support the work of the Foundation by establishing an endowment or by working with the Historical Foundation to add to an already established endowment. Churches that raise $1,000 for this cause are designated Heritage Churches; those that raise $5,000 are named Silver Heritage Churches; and those that raise $10,000 become Golden Heritage Churches.
Although the Longview church is the first to named a Silver
Heritage Church, other churches have been designated Heritage
CPC, Ovilla (Texas) became the first Heritage Church. The women
of the church contributed $2,000 from a major fund-raising event
and challenged the session to match that amount for an endowment
honoring their own church, the oldest continually-active CP church
in Texas. Other churches achieving the distinction of a Heritage
Church are the Hopewell
CPC (Sharon, Tenn.) for its contributions to the Robert
and Kathy Hull Heritage Fund; Elmira
Chapel CPC (Longview, Texas) for its contributions to
the Paul and Ann Allen Heritage Fund; and Jerusalem CPC (Murfreesboro,
Tenn.) for its contributions to the Anne E. Swain Odom Heritage
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, January 2004, page 19]
The Historical Foundation is pleased to announce the creation of the Florence Pennewill Heritage Fund for the support of its project of securing microfilm copies of all Cumberland Presbyterian records held by the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, Pa.
The session of the First CPC, Longview, Texas, established this endowment from gifts in memory of faithful member, Florence Elizabeth "Penny" Pennewill, In May, Richard Magrill, secretary/treasurer of the Foundation joined the congregation for worship and presented a formal resolution of acceptance to June Johnson, with whom Penny shared a home for 27 years.
Penny was a native of Maryland, a registered nurse by profession,
and a Cumberland Presbyterian by choice. She was held in high
esteem as a fair and firm director of nurses, a compassionate
caregiver, and a loyal friend. She joined First Church in 1979,
served as president of the CPW, and was ordained as an elder at
age 77. "The Historical Foundation is indeed honored to have
an endowment established in honor of such a remarkable lady,"
said James Gilbert, representative of the Foundation's Development
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, October 2004, page 19]
First CP Church, Longview, Texas, recalled her heritage on June 3, 2005 which marked the 70th birthday of this vital congregation. Jimmie McKinley writes in the church newsletter that is was on this date in 1935 the church was organized in connection with a tent revival. The preacher was the Rev. S. Q. Proctor and the son leader was the Rev. T. C. Stockton. Rev. Proctor was the organizing pastor and the first building was erected before the end of that calendar year.
The move to organize a new congregation in the city limits
of Longview was a project of the Board of Missions of McAdow
Presbytery, a predecessor of Trinity
Presbytery. The seven charter members came, with their
home churches' blessing, from Elmira
Chapel and Pine
Tree, both already long-established congregations in rural
areas west of town. The seven had all died but descendants of
the three couples remain on the active membership roll today.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, July 2005, page 21]
CPW Yearbook 1991-1992
CPW Yearbook 2001-2002
Church Directory September 1, 1981
Missionary Auxiliary Yearbook 1965