At DHPC, we celebrate the diversity of God's creation as we call everyone into Christian community. Everyone includes people who are old. It includes people who are young. And those who are perpetually 39. It includes people of every ethnicity, race, color, and hue. It includes gay people, straight people, transgendered people, bisexual people, undecided people, private people, public people, single people, married people, divorced people, widowed people, committed people. It includes very formal people and the flip-flop crowd.…
There are so many exciting new things happening at DHPC. It can almost be bewildering. Need help keeping track? Maybe you'll find these links helpful: So, who does what now? Find out here. Where can I see the latest on our pastor search and what happens in the meantime? Find out here. What about the sanctuary renovation? Find out here. …
In 1881, a small group of citizens living just east of downtown Atlanta formed a mission Sunday School. Its success moved them to petition the Atlanta Presbytery to organize them into a new church and on June 24, 1883, the Fourth Presbyterian Church was chartered with 37 members. The new church, located at the corner of Chamberlain and Jackson Streets, flourished to 325 members by 1896, but then entered into a decline as the neighborhood gradually shifted from residential to business.
Instead of giving up and disbanding, the congregation of 60 members decided to sell the church property and move to the Copenhill neighborhood. On April 12, 1908, the congregation began meeting for two years on Sunday afternoons in the Methodist Mission, a small one room building on Highland Avenue. In March, 1910, the Rev. T. H. Newkirk, who had guided the congregation of now only 36 members, resigned but the next month the determined little congregation secured a permanent site at the corner of Highland and Blue Ridge Avenues. The church, now known as Druid Park Presbyterian Church, met in a tent for eight months until a small building was erected. Dr. Thomas E. Converse was hired as supply preacher for what was intended to be a three month temporary position until a permanent pastor could be called. That search did not develop as anticipated, and Dr. Converse was called as pastor in May, 1911. He served until his death in December, 1913.
Dr. D. M. McIver was installed as pastor the following June. Under his leadership, the congregation and church school grew to 469 members, enlarged the building, built a manse, established a young peoples’ organization, and met the stress of World War I. Under the pastorate of Dr. Charles A. Campbell, which began in 1922, the congregation bought additional adjacent land with the intent of expanding further. However, the congregation came to contemplate a more visible location and its member Dr. Lucian Lamar Knight offered to sell the church his property on Ponce de Leon Avenue with very generous financing. An education building was erected and the first services were held in the new sanctuary on the first Sunday of June, 1924. The Highland Avenue property was sold, but the church still held a sizeable debt. In the midst of this crucial period, Dr. Campbell was struck with an illness which kept him from his duties and eventually led to his resignation. The church was torn by internal disagreements but, by the grace of God and the loyalty of the members, the congregation survived.
The church was then led to call Dr. Wade H. Boggs as its next pastor in August, 1926. He was an organizer, coordinator and a fine preacher, just what the church needed during this period. The differences which had torn the congregation were soon forgotten. The church’s first Assistant Pastor and Director of Religious Education were secured and a successful Vacation Bible School was developed. The church grew to a membership of about 1,000 while almost eliminating the incurred debt, all while weathering the country’s severe economic depression. This set the stage for the congregation, under the enthusiastic leadership of Dr. William Elliott, to launch a building campaign that eliminated the remaining debt and resulted in the erection of our current English Gothic style sanctuary which opened in September, 1940, featuring brilliant stained glass windows and an exceptional Aeolian-Skinner organ. Dr. Wallace Alston came to the pastorate in 1944 bringing intelligent, positive and practical leadership, coupled with his superb ability as a preacher, and the congregation grew to its maximum membership of 2,145.
Under the leadership of Dr. Patrick D. Miller who arrived in 1949, the education building was remodeled, a manse and additional land on Ponce de Leon Avenue were purchased, McIver Hall for recreation was constructed, and the parking areas were paved. Benevolence giving became half the church’s annual budget. Under Dr. Thomas Fry, there were great advances in the youth program, and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States met in this church in 1959. With the opening of the Margaret White Dilbeck Building in 1964, there was finally adequate space for the church school. When the state planned to build a nearby expressway in 1967, the Inman Park and Druid Hills Presbyterian Churches merged into a newer, stronger congregation. A Spanish-speaking fellowship already meeting at the Inman Park Church continued worshiping at Druid Hills. We opened a day care center for young children in 1969. During the 1970s, an art therapy program flourished, the church adopted the unicameral system of government, and we purchased additional property fronting Ponce de Leon Avenue to accommodate expanded parking. A night shelter was begun in 1982 to offer a warm, safe haven for homeless men on winter nights and a community fellowship program was begun to, at first, offer Sunday afternoon ministry, fellowship and meals to residents of nearby boarding houses, but was later opened to everyone who wanted to come.
The 1990s saw the 50th anniversary celebration of our current sanctuary as well as a thorough remodeling of the first and lower floors of the education building in 1994. The church has shared its facilities with such organizations as the PC(USA) Board of Pensions, The Atlanta Bach Choir, Urban Training Organization of Atlanta, Alcoholics Anonymous, Thornwell Home and School for Children, the PC(USA) Foundation, the Presbyterian Medical Benevolence Foundation, Intown Collaborative Ministries, String Orchestra of Decatur and Atlanta, as well as a continuing relationship with the Druid Hills Child Development Center. The Presbytery of Greater Atlanta's headquarters building is located on the southwest corner of our property facing Ponce de Leon Avenue. Through its internship program, the congregation has nurtured many area seminary students as they prepare for ministry. We contribute toward the financial support of missionaries that are sponsored by the PC(USA). In 2007 we completed renovation of McIver Hall, the Child Development Center, extensive waterproofing remediation in the sanctuary and educational buildings, renovation of the parking lots and garden, and relandscaping of the front lawn.
Druid Hills Presbyterian Church has now entered the new century excited to explore God’s purpose for our lives, to celebrate God’s work in the world and to serve the needs of our neighbors.
spend your Sunday mornings with us
9:30 spiritual formation (kids' classes break from May to September; adults' classes are year-round)
Druid Hills Presbyterian Church calls everyone into Christian community, to explore God’s purpose for our lives, to celebrate God’s work in the world, and to serve the needs of our neighbors.