The Signal Mountain Church did not just happen one day. It came into being as a result of many hours of prayerful preparation.
After a community survey indicated that mountain residents were interested in organizing and supporting a local church, a Commission of the Knoxville Presbytery organized the Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church on April 7, 1929, with 140 members, including four elders and seven deacons.
Worship services were initially held at the Signal Mountain Grammar School, with the Reverend Malcolm R. Williamson as the church's first full-time pastor. At a congregational meeting on May 17, 1931, it was unanimously voted to accept the offer of Mr. W. L. Marr to erect a church building to be known as the Marr Memorial Chapel, which would be a gift to Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church from the Marr family. Construction was begun in September of 1931, and the first service held in the new building occurred on Easter Sunday, 1932.
After Mr. Williamson's resignation in 1941, the church called Dr. William S. Thorington as its pastor. Dr. Thorington served Signal Mountain Presbyterian for more than 25 years, assisted during that time by Rev. Harold Patterson and Rev. H. Howard Smith, respectively. Growth during these years necessitated the addition of an educational building, which, in 1992, became known as the "Thorington Building".
Following Dr. Thorington's untimely death in 1967, a Staff Advisory Committee administered church operations until Dr. R. Eugene Randolph became pastor in 1968. Rev. David Russel and Rev. Frank Holsclaw were associate pastors during Dr. Randolph's five year ministry.
It was during the tenure of Dr. Fredrick Z. Woodward, the church's fourth pastor, that a new sanctuary was built and dedicated in 1980. Rev. Jerry McElhinny assisted Dr. Woodward in ministry during the fifteen years of his senior pastorate.
Signal Mountain Presbyterian's current pastor, Dr. William E. Dudley, was called from Montgomery, Alabama in 1989. Numerical growth, as well as the physical expansion and embellishment of facilities are noteworthy characteristics of the present leadership. The development of unprecedented opportunities and programs in youth ministry, the enrichment of an inspiring music ministry, a new vitality and spirited depth all characterize every phase of the operation of God's work through the Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church.
In 2000, we began a new phase in the church's history, our building expansion project. This building is called the Cornerstone Building and houses Dudley Hall, Kitchen, Presbyterian Day School, Children's Sunday School classes, and some adult Sunday School classes as well.
Then in the fall of 2008, we were blessed with the opening of the new Youth Building. This building is called the Warehouse where all the youth activities are held, as well as other meetings and activities for various groups.
The 1900 member congregation today is led by Dr. Dudley and the following staff members:
Dr. Tim Filston ~ Associate Pastor of Congregational Life
Rev. Margaret Ferguson ~ Associate Pastor of Congregational Care
Rev. Andy Cornett ~ Associate Pastor of Families & Youth
Jean Smith ~ Director of Christian Education
Steven Ingram ~ Director of Music Ministry
Carolyn Miller ~ Director of Children's Ministry
Courtney Armstrong ~ Assistant Director of Children's Ministry
Mary Lake Abel ~ Nursery Director
Jimmy Latham ~ Youth Director
Sherri Cash ~ Director of Presbyterian Day School
Mary Hollingsworth ~ Director of Presbyterian Day School
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