We are not just any church.
LOCATED IN HISTORIC ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA, MEMORIAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IS A CONGREGATION OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.). WE ARE FLORIDA'S FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CONGREGATION, ESTABLISHED IN 1824. CNN HAS NAMED US ONE OF THE EIGHT RELIGIOUS WONDERS IN THE UNITED STATES.
A Brief History of Memorial Presbyterian Church
The Presbyterian congregation in St. Augustine was organized in June 1824, during the Territorial Period of Florida’s history. Through the efforts of Reverend Dr. William McWhir, a minister with the Presbytery of Georgia, fourteen members formed the Presbyterian congregation. With the congregation operating on its own, Dr. McWhir returned to Georgia. The congregation immediately began making plans to construct a house of worship, and in January 1825, construction began on a sanctuary and continued for five years. The cost of the building totaled $5,000 with an additional $500 for the property on South St. George Street (located across the street from the current Cathedral Parish School gymnasium). By 1830, the building was finished and the congregation continue to grow its membership.
Over the years the church building served many needs within the community. During the Civil War, the Union army used the building for military purposes, and services were not held in the building. At the end of the war, the church resumed weekly services. In 1866 the church purchased an existing home at the corner of Hypolita and St. George Streets to serve as the home of the minister and his family. The location placed the minister in a prominent location in the old city, reflective of the minister’s place in St. Augustine society. The Manse (term used for the residence of the Presbyterian minister) hosted a number of important visitors to the city as well as local organizations.
The present sanctuary was given by Henry Morrison Flagler and dedicated in 1890 as a memorial to his daughter Jenny Louise Benedict who died from complications from childbirth. Mr. Flagler, his first wife, Mary, daughter Jenny Louise and granddaughter, Marjorie, are entombed in the Flagler family mausoleum at Memorial.
For almost 200 years, Memorial Presbyterian Church has not only remained a major figure in the St. Augustine skyline but also a major contributor to the community surrounding it. We are an active congregation with a full range of worship, music, education, mission, fellowship, and pastoral ministries. Memorial Presbyterian Church members are vitally involved in the life and work of the community and the church reaches into the community and, in concert with others, into the world with the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ.
We invite you to worship with us when you’re visiting St. Augustine. Enjoy a tour of the church, Tuesday – Saturday 11 AM – 3:45PM, by one of our trained docents during the week and then return on Sunday to join us in worship. Our visitors come from across the state, the nation, and the world. If you are new to St. Augustine and St. Johns County, we hope you will consider becoming a part of our community of faith, joining us in worship, witness, fellowship, and service. We would love for you to make us your spiritual home.