History

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CONYERS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

The first Presbyterians to come to Georgia were Scottish Highlanders.  James Oglethorpe, who founded the colony in 1733, needed soldiers to defend against the Spanish in Florida.  Oglethorpe recruited the Scots because they were considered among the best fighting men in Europe.  They settled between Savannah and Fort Frederica at Darien.

The first Presbyterians into what became Rockdale County were Scotch-Irish who moved into the southern end of the county following rivers and streams from what is now Henry County.  They founded Smyrna Presbyterian Church in 1827 under the old Hopewell Presbytery.  At that time the area was part of DeKalb County.

History086 smallConyers Presbyterian Church was organized by the Rev. Hampton C. Carter.  Twenty-six dedicated individuals gathered to form the church and elect Elders on July 28th, 1860.  Soon after the organization, a new church was built in Conyers on a plot of ground in front of the residence of Mrs. Sarah O’Kelley.  The original church was located on what is today O’Kelly Street where the employee parking lot is for the Green Street Post Office.  On April 12, 1861, less than nine months after the church’s establishment, Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter and the War Between the States began.

For many years the church’s ministers were hired part-time and alternated preaching at the local churches.  Sometimes the church went for long periods, even years, with no minister. Conyers Presbyterian did not have a full time pastor until 1946 when Rev. J. F. Akin was employed.

CPC Original Building 101017WRAround 1880 a large wooden church was constructed where the church now stands on Main Street.  Conyers First Methodist Church next door had been founded in 1852.  First Baptist Church moved in on the other side of the Presbyterian Church in 1898.  The close proximity of the three led to them being known as the “sidewalk churches.”

Rev. Henry Quigg, D. D. served as pastor of CPC from 1875 to 1895.  He was much beloved by both the Conyers and Smyrna churches.  The round stained glass window at the front of the present church known as “the Sower,” done by the German artist F. C. Fisher was dedicated to the memory of Reverend Quigg.

In the later 1800s Conyers Presbyterians joined in the national movement against alcohol.  Local reformers included James Hollingsworth (1836-1896) and his wife, Martha Warren (1840-1921), who were charter members of the church. James and Samuel D. Night, another Presbyterian, served on the local Temperance Committee.  The movement succeeded and the county became dry in 1882, prohibiting the sale and manufacture of liquor except by a licensed pharmacist as prescribed by a physician.  Conyers stayed dry for over a hundred years afterwards.

In June of 1903 the church decided to enter into a month of prayer and meditation concerning the rebuilding or remodeling of the church.  In March 1907, it was decided that the new church building would be stone rather than wood.  The project generated so much conflict that three of the trustees resigned and two of them, along with all of their family members, moved their church letters of membership.

By hard toil on the part of the pastor, Ladies Auxiliary, and a few who stayed faithful from the beginning, the new church building was dedicated the second Sabbath in January, 1919.

The church had to struggle through the years of the Depression but by the eve of World War II, the church reported that it had a membership of 146 with a budget of $2,091.  Many church members served with distinction in the war and one, William (Bill) Henson, Jr. gave his life for his country.

In 1964, Mrs. Bura Bradford became the first woman elected an Elder in the then 112 year old history of Conyers Presbyterian Church. In 1969, a man came to CPC who served the church in more ways than can be listed.  This was Dr. Albert Aldrich (Al) Myers, Jr., who would make the church his own for 30 years.

The Church grew after the war. A new education building was completed in 1958.  In 1963 the sanctuary was remodeled and ground CPC Boldwas broken for a two-story wing to the church in 1979.  The church hired its first associate minister, the Rev. James L. Morgan in 1981.  By 1989, the church had an active membership of 656 and a new Fellowship Hall/Classroom building was approved.

 

    Today, after more than 155 years, despite membership and financial worries, Conyers Presbyterian Church is hard working and responsible.  CPC continues to be a dynamic force in the changing Rockdale community. The current pastor is Rev. Kevin Hicks.  Pastor Kevin, called to CPC in early 2016, previously served at Vidalia Presbyterian Church.

Get In Touch

  • 911 North Main Street
    Conyers, GA 30012-0039
  •  Phone: 770-929-0700
  • Fax: 770-929-1940
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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