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our history

Central Presbyterian Church was established by the Presbytery of Carlisle in August of 1868 with 28 charter members. The church was built on a lot donated by one of these members, Colonel James C. Austin.

Miss Sarah Wilson, for whom Wilson College is named, provided the initial gift for the establishment of the College as well as a gift for the construction of the steeple that graces Central Presbyterian Church. When a number of town leaders questioned the advisability of the steeple, Miss Wilson replied that if God wanted it to come down, then it would; if He didn't, then it would stand, which it has to this day. The building was dedicated in September 1871.​

The church departed radically from the practice of the times, resolving to support its work by voluntary offerings rather than pew rent.

After a disastrous fire in 1938 the original building was restored and larger facilities for the church school were added. Later the exterior walls got a face lift when the outside was encased in colonial brick. Another building program was completed in 1968 and a major expansion and renovation was completed in 2002.


The Sanctuary Organ

​Another casualty of the 1938 fire was the original pipe organ. The present instrument was built for this sanctuary by Casavant Freres, Ltd., Quebec, Canada and dedicated in February 1940. It has three manuals and 2,000 pipes located in two chambers on each side of the chancel. The organ was recently renovated and updated with electronic components to provide this unique instrument with many more years of service.

Tiffany Windows

​In 1905 the Tiffany windows in the Sanctuary were dedicated. During the fire of 1938, the roof caved in, which destroyed the organ, pews, chancel and in part, the windows. Two windows were completely ruined and the rest required varying degrees of repair. And there they remain today, repaired, restored and protected so that generations to come may enjoy them.

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