A Brief History of our church

The First Presbyterian Church of DeFuniak Springs, Florida was organized in 1883 by local families of largely Scottish ancestry who had settled Euchee Valley just southeast of DeFuniak. First Presbyterian has a rich history reflected in its participation in and contribution to the mission and leadership of Presbyterianism in the state of Florida and beyond. Beginning with a membership of 10, the church was established as DeFuniak Springs became a shipping and trading center for the L & N Railroad. Today, the church has an active membership of 115, a number of whom are descendants of its original founders.

From early gatherings in a log building to the 1890 completion of a red brick church among the magnolias along the lake shores just east of its present location, the families of First Presbyterian now worship in the Graeco-Roman-styled sanctuary constructed in 1923.

Among the chief contributions to the community and its environs was the Florida Presbytery’s 1907 establishment of Palmer College in DeFuniak Springs. Leaders from First Presbyterian provided financial assistance and many other kinds of support to the college throughout its existence. The college offered general elementary, secondary, and two-year college courses, as well as training institutes for church officers and ministers until the Depression forced its closure in the 1930’s. The educational activities and spiritual development of Palmer’s students were very strong influences in the life of the church.

Christian education continues to be an integral part of the church’s ongoing mission, with Sunday school classes for all ages. Fellowship, outreach, and support of community activities are also vital to the mission of the church, the chief end of which is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

A. G. Campbell, Jr., in his 1963 history of First Presbyterian, wrote that First Presbyterian is “a church active for God, a church in which the joys and sorrows, the humor and pathos are shared, and a church in which such sharing binds its members into Christian fellowship.”

Past Installed Ministers of First Presbyterian Church:
Dr. Daniel Johnson Currie
1915-1931 and 1938-1939

Rev. Coleaton Underwood Leach

Rev. Gayle Watkins Threlkeld

Rev. Henry Dieter Mooney

Rev. Durl Odom

Rev. David Torrey

Rev. Kenneth Kelley

Rev. John Napoli

Rev. Michael Moore
2011 – 2015

Interim Commissioned Lay Pastor Joanne Kublik
2016 – 2019

Rev. Charles “Chuck” Taber
2019 – August 2021

Rev. Steve H. Rhodes

September 2021