First Presbyterian Church, DeLand had its beginning on July 2, 1882 when Rev. Gilbert Gordon met with 23 others in the home of Mr. W.W. Cleveland. Early on in DeLand, all denominations shared a community building on the corner of Indiana Ave and Woodland Blvd. As the churches grew, the Methodists and Baptists went off to their own buildings and the Presbyterians bought the interests in the community building. We eventually sold that building to the City and it became the Town Hall.
Our first pastor was Rev. James Shearer who served two years, followed by Rev. Henry Gelston who helped in purchasing the lot for our first building. As our sanctuary was being built, we alternated worship in the First Methodist on alternate Sundays. Our first church building, on the upper left, was dedicated on March 11, 1888. In June of 1909, Dr. C. Ferran became our pastor and our congregation grew. We needed more space and the building was remodeled to hold more than 200 people.
In 1924, Dr. John Abbot came to serve us for the next 16 years. He shared his ministry with us and took the gospel to the jails. Dr. John’s ministry also marked our first support of a foreign missionary, Rev. E. Boyer, serving in Chunju, Korea in 1925.
Growing to a congregation of 900 was becoming a problem and we looked for a larger parcel of land. After 2 years of praying, we bought the land at 724 North Woodland Blvd in 1956. Groundbreaking occurred on April 21, 1957. The cornerstone was laid November 30, 1958.
Dr. Hugh Ash came to us on March 1, 1959 and developed the idea of a home for independent senior citizens. As a result, what is known as the Hugh Ash Manor came into being in 1971.
First Presbyterian Day School was established in 1960. The House Next Door was established in 1976 to help families develop and maintain healthy relationships. The Pierson Day Care Center (now Pierson Montessori Center) was established in 1985 to supply daycare and basic early education for migrant workers’ families. West Volusia Habitat For Humanity was established in 1988 to build homes for underprivileged families.
We have been and are involved in numerous mission activities both local and global. Mission activities have been and continue to be an important aspect of how our church expresses itself as followers of Jesus Christ.