Central Presbyterian Church is a caring, inquiring, inclusive community of faith (reaffirmed by the Session Nov. 2015)
Central Presbyterian Church History
Central Presbyterian Church was organized as First Presbyterian Church of Eugene on May 5, 1855. In 1851, the Presbyterian Board of Education and Domestic Missions sent the Rev. Geary to the Oregon Territories. Rev. Geary started the Lafayette girls boarding school, served in government positions, and pastored many churches. In 1859 Geary was appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs by President Buchanan. In 1875 Geary was called to serve Central (then known as Eugene Presbyterian Church). His activism set the path for a rich heritage of a church that would be socially active.
During Rev. Geary’s pastorate the church established local educational ministries to Chinese immigrants. Geary was the founder of Albany Collegiate Institute that eventually moved to Portland as Lewis and Clark College. The church was active in Native American and women’s rights issues and worked for justice in the court systems. He also established the ecumenical character of the congregation, working across denominational lines. During his tenure the church solidified its commitment to university students and faculty of the newly established University of Oregon. Geary was appointed to the University’s first Board of Regents.
In 1906 the church took the name of Central Presbyterian Church at the union of the Old School Presbyterians and Cumberland Presbyterian Church. This began the “middle years” of Central’s history, 1906-1956. During this time a campus ministry at the University was established and continues as the Koinonia Center Campus Ministry at 1414 Kincaid across the street for the University Quad. Central helped establish First Presbyterian Church of Springfield and Westminster Presbyterian Church in Eugene. In 1950 Rev. Mellish began “evening forums for adults to consider problems of the present day and a Christian solution to them.” This tradition has continued ever since.
Today members and friends of Central Presbyterian maintain a deep commitment to bringing the resources of faith to the community and the world.
Central Presbyterian Church is a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), a denomination whose polity stresses our connections in ministry. Our tradition is Reformed and we take seriously the call to continually be Reforming. That is why this congregation is considered to be progressive. We believe that belonging is more important than doctrine, though we take seriously the gifts of intellect as well as heart.
We believe that each person is spiritual and on a spiritual journey. As a community of faith we work hard to help encourage spiritual growth in the context of service. Our scripture teaches that God created us to be in relationship, in community, and to care for one another and for God’s creation. These beliefs are expressed in our mission statement. We care… We inquire… We include…
Central members are involved in the following important community service activities as an expression of their faith: Habitat for Humanity, The Dining Room (feeding people in need, restaurant-style), Egan Warming Center (emergency shelter for people who are on nights below freezing), CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Sponsors (integration program for those coming out of prison), That’s My Farmer (a partnership between local farmers and faith communities), FISH (emergency food, propane, and medicine), Cesar Chavez Elementary School (lunch friends and classroom volunteers), Food for Lane County, Centro Latino Americano, SMART Reading Program, SquareOne Villages (housing for people experiencing homelessness and who have very low incomes), Rainbow Village (affordable housing complex in Springfield), Peace Corps West Region, and White Bird Clinic (medical and mental health, for financially challenged, and crisis services).