First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta

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First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta (view from Peachtree St)

First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) located in the Midtown section of Atlanta, Georgia. First Presbyterian Church was founded in 1848, and it was Atlanta's first Presbyterian house of worship.[1] The original church building on Marietta Street was vacated in April 1916 and the property was sold to the U.S. government for the construction of the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. The current church building on Peachtree Street was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2020. [2]

The church, which hosts a congregation of 2,000 members, is located across 16th Street from the High Museum of Art.[3]

First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta's History

When the church was founded on January 8, 1848 there were only nineteen Presbyterians worshiping at the log building known as the male academy. "This church was incorporated in February, 1854." "The name under which it was first incorporated was the 'First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta,' and it was the only Presbyterian church in the city." The founding pastor of First Presbyterian Church was Dr. John S. Wilson. In 1915 the church completed a Sunday School building at the new location where the first service was held on December 5, 1915. The new sanctuary, which was designed by Walter T. Downing (1865-1918), was completed in 1919. The first stained glass windows, some by Tiffany, were installed then and over the next few years.

First Presbyterian Sunday morning worship service was broadcast on local WSB (AM) radio. The only time the service on the radio was suspended was September 3, 1939, when the United Kingdom declared war on Germany and brought the world to the brink of World War II. In 1973, the church received its first black member since the days of slavery. Now the church is led by Dr. Tony Sundermeier who became pastor in 2014.


"It is our purpose as a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), to be and become a community of grace a people of praise a loving congregation rooted in tradition, open to the Spirit disciples who proclaim and serve the Lord Jesus Christ in all we say and do to the glory of God for the salvation of humankind for the healing and hope of the city, and for the reconciliation and peace of the world."[4]


Sanctuary Organ at FPC Atlanta

After finishing the church in 1919 the first organ was constructed by Henry Pilcher's Sons in 1919 with 4 manuals. In 1920 the Echo- and Solo-sections were added, and the organ had 48 stops. In 1969 organ builder M. P. Möller (Hagerstown/MD) built a completely new organ, using some stops from the Pilcher's organ from 1919. In 1992 the instrument was restored and enlarged. In 2018 the instrument again was cleaned and restored and newly enlarged by German organ builder Klais (Bonn) and US organ builder A. E. Schlueter.[5] The Instrument has got 112 ranks (6.397 pipes) on 10 divisions, with a control system by Syndyne.[6]


  1. ^ Wallace Putnam Reed (1889). History of Atlanta, Georgia: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. D. Mason & Co. p. 390. First Presbyterian Church Of Atlanta.
  2. ^ "The New Bank Meets the "World War"". Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Retrieved April 24, 2009.
  3. ^ "First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta". Home & Abroad. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2009.
  4. ^
  5. ^ See information on the webpage of the German organ building company Klais (seen June 20, 2018)
  6. ^ For specifications see webpage of the organ builder Klais (Germany) and webpage of Jens Korndoerfer

External links

Coordinates: 33°47′27″N 84°23′09″W / 33.7907°N 84.3857°W / 33.7907; -84.3857

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