A Brief Walkersville History

(All information through 2008 has been taken from Gary Brady and Betty Lou Mosley’s Begetting Walkersville.)

1781:  John Walker II was born.  The Walkers were a highly respected and influential family.  In 1826 he became the first postmaster of the newly established “Walkersville” post office. 

Late 1800’s:  The local people wanted a house of worship in the Walkersville-Wilson’s Old Store area. This led to the establishment of the “Tirzah Chapel”.

1893:  A brush arbor was constructed about 50 yards from the site of the present church building.  A year later a plank arbor was constructed near the site of the present-day manse.

1902:  Lumber was sawed and in 1902 the first church building was erected.  This building was  referred to as “The Little Church”.

Thursday, September 10, 1908:  A commission from Mecklenburg Presbytery officially organized the church.  Rev. George W. Belk preached.  He suggested the church be named after the local post office, Walkersville.

1915:  A larger church was built and the original “Little Church” was moved to the back of this new building and became the Sunday School rooms.  In the early days of Walkersville Church the members did not go to “church”, they attended “divine service”.

1916:  The first manse was built.  Besides housing the pastor and his family, it was also used for church suppers and as Sunday School rooms.

1918-19:  The world was ravaged by the influenza pandemic.  It is estimated that 600,000 Americans died while globally 18,000,000 were killed at this time.  In the Walkersville area entire families were wiped out.

1937:  The effects of the Great Depression were still felt.  Walkersville Presbyterian Church was yoked with Rehobeth Presbyterian Church and Turner Presbyterian Church.

1940’s-1950’s:  Several pastors came and went.  A proposal for a new building was discussed but a decision was never made.

1946:  A large number of young people joined the church and the group, Presbyterian Youth Fellowship, was formed.  About this same time, a lighted tennis court/basketball court was constructed between the manse and the church. 

February 22, 1959:  Frances Alston was called as pastor and soon after arriving he began a new building program.

November, 1959:  Session voted to not be yoked to Turner Presbyterian Church.  It is unknown what happened to the yoke with Rehobeth Presbyterian Church.

1960:  The present-day education wing of the church was constructed.

1961:  At the end of the education wing a Fellowship Hall was constructed (which has now been divided into separate rooms).  During this time period the new manse was constructed.

June 7, 1964:  The new sanctuary was dedicated.  For these three buildings money was raised through donations, oyster suppers, and donated materials and labor.

1975:  The unicameral form of church government was discussed and voted on by the congregation, eliminating the Board of Deacons.  It was also decided the office of elder was to be a rotating office rather than one for life.

1977:  Air conditioning was added to the sanctuary for the first time.

1979:  A ball field was constructed north of the sanctuary and behind the manse.

1982:  The proposed union of the PCUS (southern) and the UPCUSA (northern) denominations concerned many in the church.  This union took place in 1983.

1987:  The present-day Fellowship Hall was constructed.

1989:  Hurricane Hugo blasted through the area.

2005:  The present-day parking lot was enlarged and paved.  Much of the cost was raised by Chicken and Dumpling dinners.

March, 2017:  The congregation voted to leave the PCUSA and join the EPC, citing the PCUSA's drift away from faithfully acknowledging the authority of the Bible.

2017:  Rev. Eric Bartel became Walkersville EPC's Transitional Pastor.  He provided consistent leadership while working with the church to search for a new full time pastor.

2019:  The Pastoral Search Committee presented Paul W. Rankin to be Walkersville's next full time pastor, starting in June, 2019.  Having attended seminary later in life and graduating in 2018, he was ordained and installed in October, 2019.