First Presbyterian Church of Kernersville, NC can trace its roots back to 1888 when local Presbyterians organized a church using the Moravian Church for it meetings. At some unknown time the group stopped meeting and never had built a church. In 1960, with the urging of Margaret Burks, a member of the Board of Alderman in Kernersville, Bill East, a local reporter and member of a Winston Salem Presbyterian Church notified the Winston Salem Presbytery (later to be known as Salem Presbytery) that a church building was available in Kernersville and that Presbyterians and others in the area desired a Presbyterian Church in Kernersville.
In 1960 Presbytery sent the Rev. Sam L. McKay to organize the formation of a Presbyterian Church in Kernersville, NC. On February 5, 1961 the Presbytery Commission met at 611 Oakhurst Street and officially organized First Presbyterian Church of Kernersville, NC with 35 charter members. The building, formerly owned by what is today Main Street Baptist Church, at 611 Oakhurst Street was now the home of Kernersville Presbyterians. This building still remains, and is currently used as an educational building.
Rev. McKay was called as pastor and elders and deacons were elected. Rev. McKay remained as pastor until August 1966. First Presbyterian Church began to grow and prosper.
In July of 1969 Rev. James E. Carriker was called as pastor. While Rev. Carriker was leader the present sanctuary was completed. The sanctuary was dedicated on October 15, 1972. This new sanctuary was used as a multi-purpose room where meals could be served from the kitchen located at the back of the sanctuary. Stackable chairs and tables were kept nearby for this purpose and the building was used by the community during the week to serve meals to the needy.
Rev. Carriker served as pastor until August 1980. In April 1981, Rev. Calvin Rice was called as pastor and served until October 1983. Rev. Donald Mimbs was called as pastor in August of 1984. While Rev. Mimbs was pastor the current Fellowship Hall was begun. Rev. Mimbs served as pastor until February 1990. The new Fellowship Hall was dedicated in September 1990 with Rev. Max Deal as Interim Pastor. This Fellowship Hall was built so that it could be used by community groups as well as the church. Each fall a Holiday Market is held in the Fellowship Hall to raise funds to help needy families in Kernersville at Christmas and throughout the year by selling baked goods, crafts, art and handmade decorations as well as serving breakfast. All of the proceeds from the Holiday Market go to the needy. The Fellowship Hall serves as a meeting place for several community organizations and is also designated as the Kernersville Area Community Shelter in the event of a disaster.
In December of 1990 Rev. George H. Murray, IV became pastor. Also, in 1990 while struggling to pay off the mortgage on the new fellowship hall, Donna Myers, a former Pennsylvanian and First Presbyterian Church member, obtained permission from a church in Pennsylvania to use their recipe for chocolate covered Easter eggs. After trial and error by Donna and Norma Stikeleather, a means of raising funds to pay off the church debt was formed. In 1999 a ceremony was held to burn the paid mortgage on the Fellowship Hall. Each year during Lent, church members as well as community volunteers of all faiths come to make chocolate covered Easter Eggs. The Easter Eggs have been a huge hit throughout the Kernersville area and are sold by local businesses and purchased by many individuals. Because of this project’s success, the church has been able to give substantial donations to many community organizations to help provide services and meet needs. With proceeds from the Easter Eggs, a Picnic Shelter was built in 2008 for use by the church, and several improvements have been made in the church buildings. First Presbyterian Church in Kernersville, NC is now known in the area as “The Egg Church”.
In January 2000, while Rev. Murray was pastor, the sanctuary was renovated. Rev. Murray remained as pastor until July 2001. In October of 2002, Rev. Clark W. Vincent was called as pastor and served until April 2014. Through the generosity of church members, a new organ was purchased for the church in 2006.
First Presbyterian Church has maintained a steady membership of 100-130. It is a warm, friendly church with activities available to all age groups. It is best known for its generosity to other organizations in the Kernersville area which help those in need. “This is a community you can call "Home". Our church family and friends actively care for one another. We are devoted to Christ and to each other through prayer and simple acts of kindness and love. First Presbyterian is also a church of mission and outreach. We believe that we are called to serve the people of Kernersville. We invite you to visit us and be part of a church that seeks to love, worship and grow in Christ.”
By: Ellen Watts