Get to know First Presbyterian Church of Marietta.
Jesus promised abundant life for all who follow him, and we are committed to the flourishing of all people. As such, we welcome all people, regardless of race, creed, ability, disability, health care needs, age, sexuality or citizenship status. Women are celebrated in leadership roles throughout the church. Since 1835, our congregation has fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and welcomed the stranger, feeding 300 families each week, providing a safe space and assistance for mental health support groups, and providing afternoon tutoring, care, and support to 30 underserved children and their families, most of whom speak English as a second language. In this church family, the vulnerable are embraced and the dignity and humanity of each person is celebrated. If you are passing through, we pray safe travels. If you are here to stay, we welcome you home and invite you to join in our mission
If you’re new to Marietta, you’ll soon learn what a vital role history plays in our town. First Presbyterian Church is located right in the heart of Marietta, surrounded by historic homes, museums and the iconic Marietta Square. The Sanctuary, home to our 8:30am traditional worship service, is itself a historic landmark.
First Presbyterian Church began its life in 1835 when four families formed Marietta Presbyterian Church. Their meetings soon moved to a small frame structure on the corner of Lawrence and Waddell Streets. The church’s fifth pastor, Dr. John Jones, bequeathed the land on which our current church building stands. A Greek revival-style structure, now called our Sanctuary, was built in 1854. Remodeled between 1903 and 1905 to its present colonial revival style and renamed First Presbyterian Church, the Sanctuary is now joined by four adjacent structures.
Over more than 182 years, First Presbyterian Church’s forebearers built a strong foundation of faith and practice for those of us who attend today. We carry forward many tried and true traditions of the church, all while incorporating contemporary elements to enhance and evolve how we worship. When you visit First Presbyterian Church, you’ll find generations of families who have grown up in this church alongside visitors from all over the city and country. It’s our hope that you experience a unified church family grounded in the wisdom of previous generations, listening intently for God’s voice on how we continue to move forward in fellowship.
One important thing you should know about First Presbyterian Church is that it isn’t a staff-run church. It’s run by people like you, with dedicated staff ready to offer support. The democratic system of governance instituted long ago by the founders of the Presbyterian Church remains the foundation of how we operate today.
How we elect officers
The process through which we elect church officers is outlined in the Presbyterian Book of Order. In the first quarter of each year, several members of the congregation are elected to serve a two-year term on The Officer Nominating Committee (ONC). In April, the congregation suggests names for the new deacon and elder classes. In September, the ONC proposes a slate of deacon and elder nominees to the congregation.
How we elect deacons
A biblical description of a deacon can be found in 1 Timothy 3, and is further described in the Presbyterian Book of Order, G-6.0401. A deacon is a sincere person, worthy of respect, who follows the example of Jesus Christ in service. A deacon is elected to serve a three-year term. Three classes of deacons serve at any given time. In addition, our congregation nominates and elects youth deacons. These high school students serve a term of one year. The duties of a deacon might include but are not limited to: opening the door and greeting guests as they enter the church; collecting the offering; answering questions at the Front Desk; securing the parking lot and facilities during worship services; and being part of at least two committees.
How we elect elders
The Session is the governing body of the church and is made up of members elected to a three-year term as elder. Elders are persons of faith, dedication, and good judgment. Their manner of life is a demonstration of the Christian Gospel both within the church and in the world. Through its oversight of a multitude of councils and committees, the Session handles issues of personnel, mission, worship, congregational programs, evangelism, new member orientation, receiving and dismissing members, nurture of the congregation, and educational curriculum. Our elders also serve on committees of the Cherokee Presbytery. A current list of First Presbyterian Church’s elders and deacons is available here.
How our greater governing body works
First Presbyterian Church of Marietta is part of a larger government called the Presbytery. The Presbytery is a governing body made of several churches. The next level of governance is the Synod, which is a governing body made of several presbyteries. Our church is part of the Cherokee Presbytery and consequently the South Atlantic Synod. Churches, presbyteries, and synods are all governed by the decrees and decisions of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Beyond the General Assembly lies the Scripture and Jesus Christ, who rightfully serves as the head of all churches. Learn more about the PCUSA here.