History of Donegal Presbytery
The Brief History of the Presbytery of Donegal
The first presbytery in America - the Presbytery of Philadelphia - was organized in 1705. The Synod of Philadelphia was constituted in 1717. As the young nation moved westward and the church moved with it, the Presbytery of Donegal was brought into being on September 21, 1732. It consisted of five ministers - James Anderson, John Thomson, Adam Boyd, William Orr, and William Bertram; and five congregations at that time -Chestnut Level, Donegal, Little Britain, Middle Octorara, and Pequea. The first meeting of the Presbytery of Donegal was held in the Donegal Church on October 11, 1732. The original territory of the Presbytery of Donegal was Lancaster County in Pennsylvania and it extended "as far west as settlers cared to go".
Over the intervening years, Donegal's boundaries have been changed, as has the name of the Presbytery, numerous times. All or parts of the present Presbytery of Donegal have, at various times, been known as Donegal, Lancaster, Baltimore, Carlisle, New Castle, Westminster, and Chester. The dates and designations of the governing body known as Donegal Presbytery since its inception are as follows:
Presbytery of Donegal 1732-1765
Presbytery of Lancaster 1765-1766
Presbytery of Donegal 1766-1786
Presbytery of Baltimore, and
Presbytery of Carlisle, and
Presbytery of New Castle 1786-1842
Presbytery of Donegal 1842-1870
Westminster Presbytery 1870-1933
Presbytery of Donegal 1933-1959
Presbytery of Donegal, plus
Presbytery of Chester 1959-
In 1958 (the same year as the union of the former United Presbyterian Church of North America and the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.), the Synod of Pennsylvania took action to dissolve the Presbytery of Chester, and to add the churches in Chester County to the Presbytery of Donegal, bringing the number of churches in Donegal Presbytery to 71.
The *roll of churches in the Presbytery of Donegal at its newly-constituted organization in 1958 is as follows:
@Airville, Guinston *Mortonville, Doe Run (Coatesville)
Atglen, Penningtonville Mount Joy, Donegal
Avondale Mount Joy, First
Berwyn, Trinity @*Narvon, Pequea (Gap)
Brogueville, New Harmony @New London
Cardiff (MD), Slate Ridge New Park, Centre
Christiana, Latta Memorial Nottingham
@Coatesville @Nottingham, Little Britain (Peach Bottom)
@Cochranville, Fagg's Manor Oxford
Columbia Shiloh (Oxford, Second)
**Delta, Rehoboth Oxford, Union (Kirkwood)
Delta, Slateville Paoli, First
Devon, St. John's Paradise, Leacock
Downingtown, Central Parkesburg, First
East Earl, Cedar Grove @Parkesburg, Upper Octorara
#Frazer, E. Whiteland (Covenant) Phoenixville, First
@Gap, Bellevue Quarryville, Chestnut Level
@Glenmoore, Fairview Quarryville, Middle Octorara
@Glenmoore, Forks of the Brandywine Stewartstown
Hellam, Kreutz Creek Strasburg, First
Honey Brook Unionville
@Kennett Square **West Chester, Harvest Community
Lancaster, Bethany West Chester, First
Lancaster, First West Chester, Second
Lancaster, Highland West Chester, Westminster
**Lancaster, Memorial West Grove
*Laurel, Hopewell, (Felton) *Woodbine, Chanceford, (Airville)
*Laurel, Round Hill (Felton) *Woodbine, Pine Grove (Airville)
#Lincoln University, Ashmun Wrightsville
#Malvern, First (Covenant) #York, Calvary
@Malvern, Great Valley York, Eastminster
#Marietta, English #York, Faith
Mendenhall, Bethany York, First
**Modena #York (First (U.P.)
* Several congregations have been assigned to different post offices since 1958.
** Congregations dissolved.
# Congregations merged with existing congregations.
@ Withdrew from the denomination.
In the years between 1959 and 2002, nine congregations were dissolved, merged, or withdrew and two new congregations came into existence, Wayside of Landisville in 1985 and Marketplace Community of Wayne in 1997. Marketplace Community was dissolved in 2002, making a total of 62 congregations in 2002. As of 2006, the new church development projects are La Iglesia Hispana de Toughkenamon, the Oromoo Presbyterian Fellowship. Harvest Community Church was dissolved as of May 2006. Title to all real estate and property was transferred to Westminster Presbyterian Church in West Chester. Dilworthtown Community Church, meeting in the building of the former Harvest Community Church, began services in September 2006. In July 2007, the Memorial Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, PA was closed and the membership was transferred to the First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster.
In 1963, the Presbytery elected its first Executive Presbyter, the Rev. Dr. William J. Brown, who served in that position until his retirement in 1989, a total of twenty-six years. The Rev. Dr. Donald G. Campbell served as the Executive Presbyter from 1990 until 1999. The office of Associate Executive Presbyter actually began in 1974 when Miss Lena E. Musgrave was hired as the Secretary of Research and Planning. She served in this capacity until her retirement in 1979. Her work assisted the Presbytery in determining that an Associate Executive Presbyter was needed.
In 1982, the Rev. Laurean H. Warner, Jr. was hired with the title “Minister-at-Large.” In 1990, his title was changed to Associate Executive Presbyter. He served in that office until his retirement in 1994. The Rev. Thomas E. Robinson became the Associate Executive Presbyter in 1996 until 2004 when he left to assume responsibilities as Co-Executive of the Synod of the Trinity.
The Rev. Roger W. Uittenbogaard served as the Executive Presbyter from 2001 to 2006. Charles W. Gross, Jr. was ordained to the position of Interim Associate Executive Presbyter in 2004 and was called to be Associate Executive in 2006. He became Acting Executive in October of 2006 until he resumed his Associate duties until January 31, 2011. Rev. Dr. Erin Cox-Holmes was called as Executive Presbyter January 1, 2010.