We are an open and affirming congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination.
What we believe is expressed in the Book of Confessions. In worship we often affirm our faith using the words of the Apostle's Creed:
We believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, Our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
We believe the Bible is the word of God. By meditating on this word, we understand the grand story of redemption, through Jesus, and how his self-sacrificial love transforms hearts, minds, and systems.
FPC Dallas is a Matthew 25 church.
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With one of the largest social ministries in the nation, First Presbyterian Church offers a unique opportunity to meet Christ by serving the least of these in our midst at The Stewpot. Through The Second Chance Café at the Bridge, the city’s homeless assistance center, we serve over 1,000 meals a day. In addition, the Stewpot offers various social services to the homeless through a team of social workers, a medical clinic, a dental clinic, drug rehab and psychiatric help. The Stewpot offers employment opportunities through the sale of The Streetzine, our street newspaper. The Open Art Workshop offers people who are homeless an opportunity to express their humanity through creativity, and to earn money by selling their work. The Stewpot also operates a vital children and youth program reaching out to children living in poverty. Every Saturday we host over 100 children from the City Park neighborhood at our Saturday School, and dozens of teens participate in our Venturing Crew.
Our ministry extends beyond the city of Dallas to our partnership with Presbyterian communities in Juarez, Mexico, Guguletu, South Africa, and to our friends at the Jerusalem Baptist Church in Ft. Liberte, Haiti. Over the years, hundreds of our members have gone on mission trips to these communities to serve in places worlds away from Dallas, and to be transformed by the experience.
First Presbyterian Church offers countless opportunities to make a significant difference in the world. We invite you to join us, so that you can see the difference such service can make in your own life.
The church began with eleven members on February 3, 1856, one day after Dallas was incorporated as a city, we were founded by the Rev. Robert Hamilton Byers, stated supply pastor for Presbyterian churches in Rusk and Henderson counties. It lacked a formal place of worship so members met at various times in private homes, a blacksmith shop, a lumber yard, the courthouse, and a printing shop. Not until 1873 was the congregation able to erect its first owned building--a small frame structure at Elm and Ervay streets (later the site of the Wilson Building). As Dallas grew, First Presbyterian Church kept pace. Its second home was built in 1882 at Harwood and Main streets, the first brick church in Dallas.
By 1897 this structure had been enlarged and so extensively remodeled that it was considered to be a new (third) building. The style was Victorian eclectic. On March 2, 1913, the congregation moved into its fourth and present home, occupying a commanding position at the turn where Harwood Street intersects Wood Street.
FPC Dallas stands as a cultural landmark in downtown Dallas, as well. As the first U.S. (Southern) Presbyterian Church organized in Dallas, it is the mother church from which many other Presbyterian churches in the area have stemmed. Since the initial disbursement of food and clothing to the needy by its pioneer women, the congregation has been in the forefront of care for the disadvantaged. At the turn of the century, the need to house the city's orphaned and abandoned children was paramount. First Presbyterian Church began such a home at Annex and Bryan Streets. Today a state historical marker stands at the entrance to the Presbyterian Children's Home and Service Agency in Itasca, Texas, tracing the institution's roots to this Dallas church.
The Children's Medical Center, adjacent to the University of Texas Health-Science Center of Dallas, had its beginning as a clinic for small children in the basement of First Presbyterian Church in 1921. It was the first free clinic in the Southwest.
When the congregation began its Stewpot ministry to street people in 1975, the volunteer program ignited the concern and support of the entire community--individuals, other churches, foundations, businesses, and the city government. The Stewpot and its many related ministries, developing over the past decade, have received national recognition and today serve as models for other churches/cities.