The First Presbyterian Church in Prineville was organized in 1900. The building stood at the corner of NE 3rd and Elm streets near the courthouse where this photo was taken. By the late 1940’s, it had closed its doors, and later the building was razed by the fire department. Shortly thereafter, members of the Presbyterian Church and those of the Methodist Church united to form the Community Church which still exists today.
Twenty-seven years later, a group of Presbyterians expressed the desire to form its own separate congregation. In April, 1977, they began holding Sunday evening services in the rented Seventh Day Adventist Church building. They were lead by Reverend John Braund of Redmond.
Then on August 14, 1977, the Reverend Henry "Hank" Hartman of Salem was called to serve as part-time organizing pastor. Beginning September 11, 1977, he lead Sunday morning and evening services for 20 to 30 families. Under his ministry, the church celebrated its official organization on November 13, 1977.
Since Reverend Hartman's specialty was helping congregations establish their own churches, his work in Prineville was coming to an end and he left within a year to work with a church in Vancouver, Washington. Shortly thereafter, a search committee was formed and the Reverend Dean Agee was called to serve as pastor of Prineville Presbyterian Church. He was installed September 17, 1978 and he, his wife and four children made their home in Prineville. By the end of the year the church membership had nearly doubled and the church was becoming well established in the community. Reverend Agee served as pastor until 1982.
A year and a half later, the Reverend Dean Knapp was called to Prineville Presbyterian Church. He brought his wife and son Joshua and began work August 1, 1983. His installation fell on the date of the congregation's 6th anniversary, November 13, 1983. Services were still being held at the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Soon the congregation felt the need for a building of its own and began efforts to raise the money holding yard sales and selling Christmas trees. At the same time, the Presbytery of the Cascades was celebrating its bicentennial by raising money to help churches in need of financial assistance. The church applied and received a grant of $40,000. That money, plus the money from the sales and some church holdings amounted to enough to buy the land and begin the building.
The Reverend Dean Knapp had the skills to get the project under way. He had hired an architect, and a plan for the building had been chosen. Then after the ground breaking ceremony, members of the congregation began the work of cleaning up the property. They called the fire department to burn the remnants of old buildings, and others used bulldozers and shovels to clear brush. Soon after the land was ready and actual construction began, still under the direction of Dean Knapp. With members wielding hammers, sawing, running errands, etc., the church building gradually began to take shape.
On Palm Sunday, March 27, 1994, the congregation dressed warmly and brought folding chairs to have its first service in the still unfinished building. Finally, after the building was finished, the dedication service was held on October 2nd, 1994. Dean Knapp served as pastor for another four years.
Then in 1998, interim Pastor Rebecca Hazen served the church while a Pastor Nominating Committee searched for a new pastor. In the spring of 2000, the church decided to call Pastor Cheryl A. Bourne. The Church increased in attendance and membership during her tenure which lasted until January 20, 2013.
The Rev. Dr. Allan Smythe served as pulpit supply while another Pastor Nominating Committee and the Session, under the guidance of the Reverend Dr. Don Shaw and Bob Vancil led us in search of a pastor.
On January 5, 2014 the Reverend Mike Wilson was installed as pastor for Prineville Presbyterian Church. The church continues to honor its traditions while also seeking to be faithful to God’s call for its future. It’s an exciting time of growth and building.