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About Us 2017-10-11T02:23:03+00:00

Beliefs and Vision

Our Mission:  We will reach beyond complacency, nurture connections as a community of disciples, sow seeds of compassion within the community where we are planted, and grow together in the light of Christ.

What do Presbyterians believe?

God – the creator of the universe

Christ – the incarnation of God on earth

The Holy Spirit – the presence of God in the world and in the believer

The church – a universal company of Christ’s followers

Forgiveness of sin – made possible by the crucifixion of Jesus

Life everlasting – shown by the resurrection of Jesus

The Bible – inspired Word of God.

The sacraments – Baptism (which unites us with Jesus Christ and makes us members of God’s family) and Communion (a time to renew faith and strengthen participants for the duties and privileges of Christian service).

Our History

The Bedford Presbyterian Church was deeded Lot 11 from Thomas and Richard Penn on February 7, 1774. A reproduction of the deed can be found in the glass-encased narthex. The church began its official worship in 1786. The narthex also contains a bronze plaque recognizing the organists that played to the glory of God in this century and a bronze plaque with the names of the 29 Ministers of the Word and Sacrament and their years of service.The Bedford Presbyterian Church was deeded Lot 11 from Thomas and Richard Penn on February 7, 1774. A reproduction of the deed can be found in the glass-encased narthex. The church began its official worship in 1786. The narthex also contains a bronze plaque recognizing the organists that played to the glory of God in this century and a bronze plaque with the names of the 29 Ministers of the Word and Sacrament and their years of service.

The first religious services held in this pioneer settlement are said to have been conducted in 1763 by Charles Beatty and John Steel, chaplains in the Pennsylvania Provincials, the force which garrisoned Fort Bedford. The Rev. Beatty is supposed to have been an Anglican; the Rev. Steel was a Presbyterian minister.

Between 1763 and 1786, the Presbytery of Carlisle sent ministers to this mission outpost. Chosen in 1786, The Rev. David Bard served till 1789 as this church’s first pastor. Thereafter, between sessions of Congress to which he had been elected, he returned occasionally to hold services. In the first years of his pastorate he was paid in British pounds, American currency not yet having been established.

For many years worship services were held in the old court house which stood in the square opposite Bedford’s Trinity Lutheran Church. In or about 1810, a small brick building was erected on Lot No. 8, the site of the present Presbyterian Church which was built in 1829-30.

Through many discouragements and sorrows, but with much that was pleasant and precious, the church has lived and grown and today stands as the oldest [and only] Presbyterian house of worship in Bedford County.

– Compiled by Winona Garbrick , 1986

More recent changes to the building include air-conditioning, renovation of the social room, Italian tile floor to the Penn Street entrance and the addition of a handicap ramp to the front entrance of the sanctuary. The church restored the stained glass windows which are in the original frames dating back to the late 1800’s. Most recently the church installed two new glass windows in front of the church.

Bedford Presbyterian Church Pastors and Stated Supplies

The Rev. Mr. David Bard 1786 – 1789
The Rev. Mr. Alexander Boyd 1808 – 1817
The Rev. Mr. Jeremiah Chamberlain 1819 – 1822
The Rev. Mr. David McKinley 1827 – 1831
The Rev. Mr. James G. Breckenridge 1831 – 1833
The Rev. Mr. Baynard R. Hall 1833 – 1838
The Rev. Mr. Elbridge Bradburry 1839 – 1841
The Rev. Mr. Alexander Heberton 1842 – 1844
The Rev. Mr. William McClay Hall 1845 – 1847
The Rev. Mr. M. M. McCalla 1848 – 1850
The Rev. Mr. Thomas K. Davis 1850 – 1855
The Rev. Mr. Robert F. Sample 1856 – 1866
The Rev. Mr. A.V.C. Schenk 1866 – 1868
The Rev. Mr. Robert F. Wilson 1868 – 1878
The Rev. Mr. John R. Henderson 1878 – 1880
The Rev. Mr. Herbert C. Cone 1881 – 1883
The Rev. Mr. John K. Andrews 1884 – 1891
The Rev. Mr. John M. Barnett 1891 – 1892
The Rev. Mr. H. Woolverton 1892 – 1894
The Rev. Mr. George S. Bell 1894 – 1896
The Rev. Mr. Crofton C. Adams 1897 – 1901
The Rev. Mr. Henry B. Townsend 1901 – 1909
The Rev. Mr. E. F. Reiner 1910 – 1912
The Rev. Mr. Ralph W. Illingworth 1912 – 1913
The Rev. Mr. Kalil A. Bishara, Ph.D 1914 – 1918
The Rev. Mr. Rankin S. Caldwell, D.D. 1920 – 1953
The Rev. Mr. Ira O. Reed, D.Min. 1954 – 1959
The Rev. Mr. M. Edgar Datesman, D.Min. 1959 – 1992
The Rev. Mr. Stephen R. Melton, DMin. 1993 – 2000
The Rev. Douglas J. Friant 2001 – 2016
The Rev. Earl J. Stewart 2016 –

 

Historical Summary
1758 Worship Services held in Bedford by two Presbyterian Chaplains
1774 Church Deeded land in Bedford from Thomas and Richard Penn
1786 Church Worship Began
1789 First Pastor Resigns to serve in the US Congress
1810 First Church Building at the current location
1829 Current Presbyterian Church completed- oldest church building in Bedford County still in use. Cost $1515.50
193? Office and Sunday School area added to church building
195? Neighboring House purchased for Classroom space

Bedford Presbyterian Church is the first and last of 11 Presbyterian Churches that once spotted Bedford county.