We are the body of Christ – worshiping, learning, serving, loving, giving – seeking to realize God’s vision for the world.
To Make Our Vision a Reality, We Will:
Worship God in the Reformed tradition, with integrity and diversity. Accept our personal call and mission from God to make a difference.
Educate ourselves and our families so that we continue to grow in grace and learning. Engage and nurture those who study and work at Davidson College.
Participate in activities that attack the causes of poverty and injustice, both here and around the world.
Form a true community for everyone wherever they are in their faith journey.
Give our time and resources to support our vision, acknowledging that everything we have belongs to God.
To Further Our Vision of God's Kingdom, In Every Decision We Will:
Live according to the cooperative community Jesus taught by using respect, generosity, and grace in our interactions. Use inclusive methods that engage and integrate, intending a fulfilling spiritual experience for everyone. Follow the Bible as the inspired word of God, using its teachings as encouragement and example to seek and fulfill our role in God’s world.
Presbyterians trace their history to the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation. Our heritage, and much of what we believe, began with the French lawyer John Calvin (1509-1564), whose writings crystallized much of the Reformed thinking that came before him.
Some of the principles articulated by John Calvin are still at the core of Presbyterian beliefs. Among these are the sovereignty of God, the authority of Scripture, justification by grace through faith, and the priesthood of all believers. What these tenets mean is that God is the supreme authority throughout the universe. Our knowledge of God and God’s purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ. Our salvation (justification) through Jesus is God’s generous gift to us and not the result of our own accomplishments. It is everyone’s job — ministers and lay people alike — to share this Good News with the whole world. That is also why the Presbyterian church is governed at all levels by a combination of clergy and laity, men and women alike.
Presbyterians confess their beliefs through statements that have been adopted over the years and are contained in The Book of Confessions. These statements reflect our understanding of God and what God expects of us at different times in history, but all are faithful to the fundamental beliefs described above. Even though we share these common beliefs, Presbyterians understand that God alone is lord of the conscience, and it is up to each individual to understand what these principles mean in his or her life.
At DCPC, we identify ourselves as a welcoming, affirming and inclusive community of faith. In 2018, our Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly passed a series of statements about the welcome, inclusion, and celebration of our LGBTQ(IA)+ siblings. You can read them here. At DCPC, we are grateful to share in this welcome, affirmation, and celebration of our LGBTQ(IA)+ siblings.
The history of Davidson Presbyterian Church is closely entwined with the history of Davidson College. Davidson College was founded by the Presbyterian Church; in 1835, Concord Presbytery authorized a committee to raise funds for the establishment of a manual labor school. Classes began at Davidson College in 1837 and shortly thereafter, the Concord Presbytery asked that a church be organized at the college by individuals connected to the college. The college, including our sanctuary, stands on lands once occupied by the indigenous communities of the Catawba people. The first college buildings and our first worship space were constructed by 'volunteer' laborers from bricks made by nearby enslaved people. In addition to participating in the building of the college and its chapel, former enslaved people also maintained the buildings and performed many other services. We honor their work and its contribution to our church.
Until 1885, the college president served as the pastor of the church and the congregation met in the college chapel. As Davidson grew, so did the church, with many members outside the college community joining the congregation.
In 1885, the congregation moved into its own building on the site of the present church, and for the first time called its own pastor, who was at first a stated supply (acting Pastor) and who was subsequently shared with Bethel Church. In 1889, the first full time pastor was called. The land for the church building was donated by the college and the funds for the building came from the congregation and from other churches in the North Carolina Synod. The church was enlarged twice, with the cost being partially subsidized by the college. In 1927, a manse for the pastor was built on the site of the current Congregation House.
Construction of the current church began in 1950. Funds for the $800,000 project were donated by congregation members and by Presbyterians nationally in a fundraising campaign carried out by the college. The new sanctuary could hold 1,200 students for college chapel services!
The DCPC preschool moved from members' homes to the church in 1965 when more space was needed. This is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, continuing ministries of the church.
In 1971, the first women were elected to be Elders and Deacons.
DCPC initiated the drive that led to the building of the Pines Retirement Community in 1985. Members contributed more than $800,000 to the campaign.
Five years later, the church negotiated a new relationship with the college and raised more than $1,000,000 for expansion and renovation of the church building.
A continuing concern for mission beyond the local congregation was signified in 2003 by the establishment of a partnership with the Sigona Presbyterian Church in Kikuyu, Kenya, and the beginning of the sponsorship of mission teams to Nicaragua. In 2005 the church formalized a partnership with seven communities of the Kilambe region of Nicaragua.
A new capital campaign was initiated in 2003 to raise $2.8 million dollars for the construction of the Congregation House and the Columbarium, debt retirement, renovation of the church building, rebuilding of the organ, and continued benevolence toward the community and global missions. A beloved pastor of the church, Pastor Allen Brindisi died suddenly in 2006, and the Congregation House was named in his honor.
In 2006, the church trained its first class of Stephen Ministers who began serving those in need in the congregation and the community.
The 9:45 am service was added to the existing Sunday morning worship opportunities in 2014. The new service was to be more informal and feature contemporary music. In 2015, Lingle Chapel was opened to the community for prayer and meditation 24 hours a day. Previously the chapel had only been open to students and DCPC members.
In 2010, the congregation was certified as an Earth Care Congregation. We annually commit to making earth care progress in the areas of worship, education, facilities, and outreach.
In 2020, the congregation accepted the PC(USA) invitation to follow the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 25 by becoming active disciples that make a difference in our community and the world. As part of the Matthew 25 commitment, the members will 1) deepen and energize their faith and share the gospel of Jesus Christ, 2) work to dismantle structural racism, and 3) work to eradicate systemic poverty.