Waverly Road Presbyterian Church (WRPC) had its roots in the First Presbyterian Church of Kingsport, Tennessee. With a number of apartments and some defense housing near what was then the outskirts of Kingsport, the Session of FPC appointed a chapel committee under the direction of FPC’s assistant pastor, Marion Currie. The Chapel committee purchased seven plots of land located at the present site of the church, and a regular schedule of worship began in rented space on September 1, 1944. Ground was broken for the first church building on October 1, 1945, and the first service was held in this building on November 3, 1945, just 34 days after construction had begun.
The little chapel grew rapidly. By May 5, 1946, Holston Presbytery established a period of enrollment for charter members, and the chapel became a full church on May 17, 1946, only two years after being formed as a chapel. On March 2, 1947, WRPC extended a call to Rev. Currie to be its first full-time pastor, effective April 1, 1947.
By June 1949, membership in WRPC had reached 100, and the church building was inadequate. Despite temporary facilities in a war surplus trailer, it was necessary to build a new addition. The 2 ½-story building which now houses offices, nursery and the Youth Suite, was dedicated in October 1950. Also in 1950, WRPC in cooperation with FPC started a joint kindergarten for 4- and 5-year-olds. This project continued until Kingsport adopted tax-supported kindergarten in the public schools. Since that time, the project has become the Waverly Road Child Care Center, which offers care for children of all ages up to kindergarten age. By September 18, 1955, the church celebrated the retirement of the mortgage on the church building.
WRPC continued to grow, and hardly had the previous building been paid off than the church was again planning to construct a new sanctuary. On October 9, 1955, the membership voted to proceed with the project, and the new sanctuary was dedicated on September 7, 1958.
In 1964, the Presbyterian Extension Association of Greater Kingsport began exploring the possibility of forming a new church in the Preston Woods area. WRPC committed itself to help in the effort. In February 1967, Preston Hills Presbyterian Church was organized. Sixteen families from WRPC, consisting of 47 communing members, departed to help establish PHPC. Just as FPC had organized WRPC, WRPC itself contributed to the formation of another church in the Kingsport area.
By 1966, the church was again “bursting at the seams.” Sunday school classes were meeting in a laundromat and in a barber shop across the street from the church. This time, the congregation voted to build an addition to the church to house Sunday school rooms. The educational wing was dedicated on February 4, 1968, the first time in the church’s history that Christian education had facilities specifically designed for their classes and for the kindergarten.
In 1982, the meetings of the general assemblies of the two major branches of the Presbyterian Church family met and approved a plan of a reunion of the denominations (which had been separated since the Civil War). The two presbyteries of Holston, one “northern” and one “southern,” met jointly at First Presbyterian Church in Kingsport on February 12, 1983. In separate sessions during that meeting, both presbyteries voted to reunite. The reunification was finally ratified in June 1983, closing the breach in the Presbyterian Church that had remained since 1861.
To the present day, WRPC is continuing most of the programs it has created over the years. The Child Care Center has been newly refurbished to meet changing fire code regulations. Boy Scout troop 255 has celebrated its 50th anniversary with the church. The WRPC food pantry serves dozens of persons in need of food on a weekly basis. More recent missions have included offering space for Kingsport’s Meals on Wheels program, hosting Interfaith Hospitality Network, and mission trips domestically and internationally. More of our activities and programs are highlighted in other areas of this website.
PREVIOUS MINISTERS OF WRPC
- Marion H. Currie
- John R. MacKinnon
- William M. Schotanus
- Collier S. Harvey, Jr.
- Morris D. Warren
- G. William Jones (Associate)
- C. Wylie Smith (Associate)
- David C. Kennedy
John Campbell (Interim)
Jack D. Raymore
Frank Preston (Interim)
Catherine L. Clasen (Interim Associate)
Ike Brighton (Associate)
Elizabeth Troyer (Associate)
- Daniel S. Clark
- Angus Shaw (Interim)