As part of the Presbyterian Church, USA and the holy catholic Church, Laurinburg Presbyterian Church acknowledges Jesus Christ as Savior and Head of the Church. Established in 1859, our congregation has endeavored to be faithful to the Scriptures and to the reformed tradition, remaining open to whatever God wills the Church to be and do.
A Brief History of Laurinburg Presbyterian Church
Laurinburg Presbyterian Church was founded March 5th, 1859 by Scottish Highlanders in Laurinburg, N.C. with four members from Smyrna and Centre churches, and one year later three former members of Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church. Services were held in the local school building for several years, followed by relocation to a brush arbor on land purchased for church construction in 1863 on West Church St. In 1866 the building of a house of worship was initiated but finalized only after several years owing to harsh and impoverished post Civil War conditions. The Laurinburg Presbyterian Church pulpit was supplied erratically until January 1872 when the first full-time minister was called, the Rev. John H. Coble. He initiated a Sunday School and added a cupola with bell to the church roof in 1881. In 1888 the church acquired its first organ.
In 1899 the church occupied the new manse on McLaurin Ave. At this time construction plans had been developed for a large new church building of red brick and Gothic design. In 1906 the old white wood-frame church building was sold and moved to the Laurinburg Oil Mill for storage of cotton seed. During this time of construction the congregation met in the hall over the First National Bank building on the corner of Roper and N. Main Street. In July 1907 the church began to hold services in the Sunday School Auditorium of its new building. The first service was held in the new sanctuary on October 6, 1907. The dedication of the new building was delayed until March 1909 in order to coincide with the date of the founding of Laurinburg Presbyterian Church exactly 50 years earlier.
In 1925 the new Sunday School building replaced the graveyard near the sanctuary. In 1936 the sanctuary was remodeled and in the grove, across the street from the church, a playground and recreational building (the Hut) were completed. A new manse was acquired in 1947 and that year a week-day kindergarten was organized. The Laurinburg Presbyterian Educational Building was renovated in 1954. The first woman officer was elected in 1970. In 1972 accumulation of real property to the rear of the sanctuary and church perimeters were considerably enlarged to present day boundaries.
Our first female associate minister, Emily Fox was called in 1983 and served three years with Rev. Robin Debnam, who extended his ministry for a total of 13 years. In 1995 the church called Dr. J. Nicholas Mager, Jr. who served Laurinburg Presbyterian Church for seven years, acquiring his Associate Pastor Rev. Elizabeth Forester in 1998. Elizabeth served through May 2013. In the year 2002 Dr. Mager accepted a call to a church in Youngstown, Ohio. Rev. Forester guided the church in its quest for a senior minister and Laurinburg Presbyterian Church was immeasurably enriched during this transition by the presence of Interim Rev. James Holderness for a period of approximately ten months. Dr. E. Neal Carter, Jr. served as Senior Pastor from the summer of 2004 to the end of February 2016 when he accepted the call to return home to Concord, NC to pastor Rocky River Presbyterian Church.