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Established 1780

learn more about DC’s oldest
continuously worshiping congregation

 

A small group of worshipers gathered in 1760…

and was organized into a church in 1780 by the Rev. Stephen Bloomer Balch, a soldier of the Revolution and a pupil of John Witherspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. It was the first Presbyterian Church in what was to become modern-day Washington, D. C. It is now the oldest church of any denomination with an unbroken ministry in the District of Columbia. 

Long after the national capital was established many of the baptisms, weddings and funerals in Washington were held in our church. Men and women of every denomination worshiped with us, including many leaders of the young republic. The first, and for many years the only, Protestant church building in Georgetown was erected by our congregation in 1782. Additions were made in 1794 with Thomas Jefferson listed among the contributors.

In 1821, President Monroe laid the cornerstone for a new building on Bridge Street (now M Street). The building was moved fifty years later to West Street (now P Street), with President Grant laying the cornerstone. This is the building which we have restored and in which we now worship.

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Our pastors remember

The GPC Heritage Committee published this collection of oral history interviews with nine former pastor in 2011.

Jolene Blozis, a member of the Heritage Committee, gave a presentation about this book at the December 4, 2011 Adult Issues Class.

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BALCH TOMBSTONE

A new Stephen Bloomer Balch tombstone, which was commissioned by GPC, now stands proudly near the chapel at Oak Hill Cemetery, dedicated on September 13, 2009. The original tombstone has been refurbished as part of this same project, and is located on the ground floor of Balch Hall.

Our Senior Pastors

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Stephen Bloomer Balch

John C. Smith

Robert T. Berry

John M.P. Atkinson

John H. Bocock

Frederick T. Brown

Archibald A.E. Taylor

David W. Moffat

Samuel H. Howe

Thomas Fullerton

1780-1833

1833-1838

1838-1848

1848-1855

1856-1861

1862-1865

1865-1870

1870-1872

1872-1883

1884-1892

William C. Alexander

James T. Marshall

Frank S. Niles

Robert M. Skinner

John Bailey Kelly

Russell Cartwright Stroup

Richard J. Oman

C. C. Campbell Gillon

Richard L. Sheffield

Camille Cook Murray

1893-1908

1908-1929

1930-1934

1934-1938

1938-1950

1950-1970

1972-1978

1980-2002

2005-2007

2010-