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 –|
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.