- In the late 1950's after much struggle,
Martin Hughes and R.D. Holt were able to get assistance
from the Lampasas Presbyterian Chrch (PCUS) in re-organizing
a Presbyterian Church in Copperas Cove.
- On World Communion Sunday, October 4, 1964
the first service of the future First Presbyterian Church
was held in the Cove Theater with Rev. J. Berkeley
SoRelle leading the service and 39 people attending. The
church was officially organized on February 13, 1965 when
52 members signed the charter and petitioned the
Presbytery of Alamo to organize them into a church. The
Presbytery appointed Rev. SoRelle as organizing pastor;
and the Service of Organization of a Presbyterian Church
was held at Robertson Avenue Baptist Church on April 1,
1965. The congregation called Rev. SoRelle as the first
pastor, and he was installed on World Communion Sunday,
October 3, 1965.
The first Elders were Kenneth Bouldin, Troy Donnell, Hal
Ewing, Frank Davis, William Haynes, R.D. Holt, Martin
Hughes, Richard Kennedy, and Frank Trower. The first
Clerk of Session was R.D. Holt, and the first church
treasurer was Troy Donnell.
- FPC, CC was organized in the Presbytery of
Alamo and in 1972 was transfered to the Presbytery of
Trinit. In 1980, the church hosted the final meeting of
the Presbytery of Trinity before the Presbytery became
Mission Union Presbytery (nowMission Presbytery).
- After the 'southern branch,' Presbyterian
Church in the U.S. (PCUSA), and the 'northern branch,'United
Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA), reunited in
1983 as Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PC/USA), the Copperas
Cove church was renamed 'First United Presbyterian Church.'
The church returned to the name 'First Presbyterian
Church' in 2008.
Building The Facility
The congregation rented a house at 501 Turner Street and
began meeting there on November 8, 1964. In August 1965
the congregation obtained a loan to purchase six lots in
the Nauert Addition. They held a ground-breaking ceremony
on March 27, 1966; held the first service in the new
building on August 8, 1966; and dedicated the church on
World Communion Sunday, October 2, 1966. The original
building consisted of a small narthex, a combined
sanctuary / fellowship hall, a kitchen, two bathrooms, a
pastors office, and four Sunday School rooms. The
pulpit,communion table, two chairs, and baptismal font
came from the chaple at Camp Bowie, a World War II
National Guard training camp near Brownville, Texas that
was closed in 1946.
The congregation continued to improve the property with
* 1965 - purchased an additional lot behind the church
building for a playground and built a parking lot in
front of the church
* 1971 - purchased a manse at 114 Hardeman and sold it in
* 1975-76 - added three classrooms and two bathrooms at
the West end of the building
* 1984 - built a storage shed in the back yard with two
rooms and a roofed porch
* 1985 built a handicapped ramp to the front porch
* 1988 - built a private office for the pastor adjacent
to the existing office
Building Committees were formed in 197980 and again
in 1983 to discuss building a new sanctuary, but both
times plans were abandoned because of financial obstacles.
A Building Committee formed in 1991, and on January 16,
1994 the congregation broke ground for a 3,500 square
foot addition on the north side of the sanctuary /
fellowship hall that included a narthex, sanctuary, four
offices, and two bathrooms. At this time the congregation
sold the manse. The new addition was completed and
dedicated in 1995.
Over the years, the programs of the church have included
Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening
worship services; choir; Sunday School classes for
children and adults; Vacation Bible School; mid-week
Bible study groups and short-term study groups; a youth
group, a mens group, and Presbyterian Women.
Fellowship events have included musicals, fashion shows,
square dancing, bowling league, softball league, and game
Besides the denominational ministries it supports through
benevolence giving to Presbytery, Synod, and General
Assembly, the congregation has been involved in local,
national, and international missions since the church was
organized. Missions have included programs begun by the
congregation as well as offering other organizations a
place to meet.
* 1967 -- Established the Parish Visitor Program in
collaboration with the Killeen Presbyterian Church, Alamo
Presbytery, and Trinity Presbytery. As part of this
ministry, a program to help military wives visiting their
husbands in Hawaii while on R&R (Rest &
Recreation) from Vietnam began in 1968. In 1975, the
Program became the Ft Hood Area Ministry of Christian
Concern, an ecumenical ministry offering emergency food,
clothing, transportation, and other services to military
families in the area. The ministry was disbanded in the
mid-1980s when Ft Hood established its own programs to
provide these services.
* 1967 -- Opened Copperas Coves first day care
center as a mission to the community. The Day Care Center
began with members of the congregation working as
volunteer staff, but within a few years the state
developed standards for Day Care Centers which included
requirements for a paid staff. Declining enrollments, a
new requirement that four-year-olds attend pre-school in
the Copperas Cove school system, and the amount of money
required to bring the Day Care Center into compliance
with new state standards forced the Day Care Center to
close in July, 2003.
* 1970s Sponsored Citizenship classes.
* 1972 2007 -- Sponsored Boy Scout and Girl Scout
* 1973 Began Operation Friendship, a weekly
fellowship time and support group for military wives.
Operation Friendship disbanded in the mid-1980s.
* 1973 -- Joined the Ft Hood Parish, consisting of
Presbyterian churches in Temple, Killeen, Lampasas, and
* 1975 -- Sponsored Al-A-Teen, a 12-step program for
teenagers with alcohol-dependency problems.
* 1982 -- Began Operation Wind Crest at Wind Crest
Nursing Home, a program that eventually expanded to
involve five local churches leading devotional Bible
studies every week-day morning.
* 19821987 Provided the Seventh Day
Adventist Church with a place to worship on Saturdays.
* 1984 Served as the community food pantry
sponsored by the Copperas Cove Ministerial Alliance
* 1985 -- Collected vitamins for a medical mission in
* 1986 Provided a meeting place for a chapter of
Compassionate Friends, a support group for parents whose
children have died. The chapter disbanded in 2002.
* 1987 Sponsored a widowed persons support group.
* 1998-1999 Provided a Korean church with a place
to worship on Sunday afternoons.
* 2005 Established a PrayFAST (Pray For A Soldier
Team) ministry with the Ft Hood Chaplains Office to
pray for Ft Hood soldiers and their families during their
deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq
* 2007 -- Provided an Hispanic congregation a place to
worship on Sunday evenings
* 2005 - Established a PrayFAST (Pray For A Soldier Team)
ministry with the Ft Hood Chaplains Office to pray for Ft
Hood soldiers and their families during their deployment
to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Current ministries include support for Cove House
Emergency Shelter, Tools for Development, Inc., and
Souper Bowl Sunday
* 1964 1969 Rev. J. Berkeley SoRelle, organizing
pastor / first pastor, full-time
* 1971 - 1982 Rev. Charles Bushnell, full time
* 1983 - 1989 Rev. Mary Currie, part-time
* 1990 Rev. Tom Moranville, retired, pulpit supply
* 1991 - 1996 Rev. Davis Taylor, part-time
* 1997 Rev. John Lewis, retired, pulpit supply and
Moderator of Session
* 1998 - 2003 Rev. Mark Brantley-Gearhart, part-time
* 2004 - 2005 Rev. Alvin D. Koons, retired, part-time
* 2005 - 2007 Rev. Marsha E. Brown, part-time
- * 2008 - 2009 Rev. Elizabeth Pang, part-time
* 2010 - 2013 Rev. Dallas Maham. part-time
- * Feb 2014 - Rev. Naomi Ingrim. part-time
History / First Presbyterian Church / Copperas Cove, TX /