A tradition of faith at the top of Greenwich Avenue...


First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich was established in 1881. "The first service was held in a public hall on Easter Sunday. From the first service the divine blessing has followed and directed the work. Its members have consecrated themselves to Him who has thus far led them, and they go forward in the confidence that whatever else is needed, He, by His children, will supply..."

So begins an account of First Presbyterian Church history written by its first church officers. The confident faith of those early Presbyterians continues to inspire us today. Since its beginning, First Presbyterian Church has placed a high priority on worship. In 1887, the church dedicated a sanctuary whose renovated structure continues to serve us. From its pulpit distinguished ministers have offered sermons that instruct and inspire the congregation. Throughout its history, a succession of esteemed ministers of music have worked with the clergy to enrich our worship of God. Indeed, a reporter praising the first services wrote, "It's quite safe to say that rarely, if ever, has such church music been heard in Greenwich."

In addition to worship, Christian Education has always been a primary concern of First Presbyterian Church, and a Sunday School was established immediately after the church's formation in 1881. Since that time, the growth of the Sunday School has necessitated five building additions. Classrooms adjacent to the sanctuary were constructed in 1924 and 1955, and additional space at Collyer Center across Lafayette Place was added in 1964 and 1975. In 2007, the church completed the construction of a new four-story building with ample space for education, fellowship, community outreach and nursery school classrooms, as well as a steeple and carillon. Programs for older youth and adults have evolved over time. In addition to their weekly classes, our youth have participated in short- and long-term mission trips, ski trips, and a European tour. Our Adult Education programs have featured classes led by professors from Princeton Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary and Yale Divinity School as well as our own clergy.
Mission has been another significant emphasis of First Presbyterian Church. Today, First Presbyterian Church continues its commitment to mission through its empowerment of lay volunteers, adult mission trips and its support of many local mission organizations as well as those of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The members of our church seek to make a difference in the world and visibly show our allegiance to Christ.

What we believe...

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  • Presbyterian beliefs often begin with what is called the sovereignty, or the all-powerfulness, of God. We recognize cruelty and suffering, but we believe that cruelty and suffering will not have the last word over the human race. God will have the last word, a word of love so powerful that "nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).

  • Yes, but not in the way it is often interpreted. We do not, for example, believe that everything about our lives has been pre-determined by God. Nor do we believe that, before anyone was born, God predestined certain people to go to heaven and others to go to hell. Predestination is one way of saying that, in a relationship with God, the initiative is God's initiative, and that "we love because God first loved us" (1 John 4:19); Predestination is also closely linked to service in the Presbyterian way of thinking. God has established a relationship with us so that we might serve God in the world where we live.

  • It is possible because God, in God's love, has set things right between us. There isn't anything that a person must or can do to earn or merit God's love. God loves us simply because it is God's nature to love. It is true that the gospel invites us to choose to love and serve God, but we make that choice knowing that the decision has already been made by God to love us and to establish a relationship with us. We are forgiven not because we said the right words or did the right actions, but because God has chosen to forgive us through the love of Jesus Christ.

  • God doesn't love and forgive us and then send us indifferently on our way. God calls us to serve God in the world. This is where social justice enters the picture in many Presbyterian churches. We believe that God asks us to share the love we have been given with others—the poor, the outcast, those often seen by society as undesirable and unlovable. Why do we believe this? Because Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

  • That God loves the creation God has made, and that he wants to be in relationship with every person. And we believe that we see God's love in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Human beings are sinners, but God's love is more powerful than our sin.  God is willing to forgive every wrong that we have done.

  • We are a people who believe strongly in serving God with the mind as well as the heart. In Presbyterian circles, this is often referred to as the life of the mind in the service of Jesus Christ, and is a central part of our tradition.

  • We believe that, first and foremost, the Bible is God's self-revelation. It reveals who God is, what God is like, and how it is that God calls human beings to live. One important thing, however, is that the Bible as God's written word points to Jesus Christ as God's living word. Which means that when people use the Bible to score points in an argument and beat each other up with it, the Bible is being both misused and abused. The nature of God seen in Jesus Christ is the center.

  • Presbyterians believe that the church is the body of Christ in the world today, and as such, we are to be Christ's arms and voice of love for all people. In the Bible, whenever a person became a disciple of Jesus, that person was joined to the disciple community. Likewise, we understand that the church is the community of people who have committed themselves to discipleship to Jesus Christ. We have two sacraments—Baptism and Holy Communion, and Communion is open to all who trust Jesus Christ.