First Presbyterian Church was founded in 1845 as the Marion Presbyterian Church by a group of 15 Presbyterians from various churches in McDowell County. Rev. George M. Gibbs, an evangelist pastor serving the county on behalf of the presbytery at the time, became the first minister for the church while also serving Siloam Presbyterian. The first church building was completed two years later, in 1847, by Ephraim Clayton. First Presbyterian grew over the next 50 years under the watchful care of 7 pastors, starting a thriving Sunday School program and multiple small groups and organizations.
In 1904 the sanctuary was renovated, and in 1922, under Rev. James C. Story, the churchbuilding was torn down and our current sanctuary was built using the bricks from the original church. During Rev. Story's 23 year tenure, First Presbyterian helped to establish four mision churches: Clinchfield, Conley Memorial, Landis Chapel, and West Marion (now Story Memorial Church). In 1943, First Presbyterian celebrated its centennial, and in 1952 the current manse was completed, while Rev. Carl W. McMurray was pastor.
In 1961, church member Charles Barnes passed away and left his home and farm to the church. This land is now Camp Barnes, property which the church uses for outdoor events. In 1963, the Educational Building was completed, and is still used today for Sunday School, office space, and as a small group meeting area. In 1971, Rev. Dr. Carl McMurray retired from ministry after 33 years as pastor of First Presbyterian. He was succeeded by Rev. George B. Hutchins, who served until 1997. The church experienced a good deal of growth during this time, including growth in Sunday School programs, the renovation of the Fellowship Hall, impressive growth and impact by the Presbyterian Women, and a large and active music ministry.
Today Jacob Douylliez is Pastor for First Presbyterian Church, and we have approximately 150 stated members. We are still growing and are continuing to do our best to have a positive impact on Marion, McDowell County, and beyond.