“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7 (NIV)
Central Presbyterian Church was founded in 1853 when the Reverend B. Malloy organized the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, with twelve charter members. With the union of two national Presbyterian denominations in 1905, the local congregation took the name of Central Presbyterian Church of Waxahachie, Texas.
The Current Building
The current building was first used on Easter of 1919. Designed by architect C.D. Hill, this late Gothic Revival building was constructed of oriental brick trimmed in white stone, with a seating capacity of approximately five hundred. The cost of the building and furnishings was $112,522. The pipe organ, which is an Austin Opus 809, and is still in operation, was donated.
“Today We Became A Church”
Although we love our building, we love having a part in building lives through Jesus Christ even more. In 1950, CPC sponsored a refugee family from post WWII Communist-ruled Hungary, the Zhohars. With two day’s notice, the congregation responded and got a house ready for the family. Ed Clark, head of the Men’s Bible class, said as he addressed the congregation, “Today, we became a church!”
The relationship established with the Zhohar family has had a long-lasting impact on CPC’s mission of reaching out to others beyond our walls and into the world. Surviving Through Faith, written by Zoltan Zsohar, chronicles how God used the members of CPC in 1950 to respond to the family’s needs, welcome them to their new home in Texas and to unite a church.
Commitment to Youth
The Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services (PCHAS) began its mission in Waxahachie during September 1960. The organization provides Christ-centered care and family support to children from birth to 17-years–old, as well as single mothers who have suffered from neglect, abuse, and abandonment, or children whose families are experiencing some type of family crisis or other issues which threaten family stability. Over the years, many of our members have served as mentors to the kids. The kids and home parents are an integral part of our church family, and our deep commitment to PCHAS continues today.
Our youth group, Same Difference Youth Group, has a strong tradition of fellowship with each other and connecting with other Presbyterian youth through camps at Mo Ranch and the annual Senior High Youth Conference within Grace Presbytery. Our Youth have also been leaders in service, volunteering at Our Calling, Union Gospel Mission, as well as mission trips within Texas in recent years.
In 1997, Central Presbyterian Church initiated “Bethlehem Revisited,” an event portraying a full representation of life in Bethlehem when Christ was born. It includes replications of homes, shops and other facilities authentic to the time period. Costumed characters act out the roles of merchants, clergy, soldiers and other inhabitants. Camels, donkeys, goats and other animals are part of the event. “Bethlehem” takes place on the church property, just east of the main building.
Today the event is a collaboration between several churches, businesses, organizations and individuals from the community. Bethlehem Revisited draws several thousands of visitors from throughout the region each Christmas season who are reminded that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.
Reaching Outside our Walls
For many years, CPC has been dedicated to supporting our community through relationships with partners such as Waxahachie Care, CASA, Gingerbread House, Daniel’s Den, etc. Our members have served thousands of hours through these organizations in service and leadership positions.
Stemming from a growing desire to serve our neighbors in a more hands-on fashion, CPC started a monthly outreach day called Second Saturday Service in 2013, initially focused on serving veterans. The following year, the focus shifted to our mission partners, but remains available for any neighbor in need. In the last few years, CPC has also partnered with First United Methodist Church and other churches and organizations in “Kids Against Hunger” and “Worship Outside the Walls.”
CPC is not content to rest on the accomplishments of its rich past. As the church moves into the future, it is undertaking foreign mission trips for the first time in its history and forging new commitments with the surrounding neighborhood to care for, and share God’s love with, those right in front of us.
We are all sisters and brothers in Christ when we are serving those in need.