THE PEOPLES’ PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - HISTORY
The African-American congregation under the name of The Peoples' Presbyterian Church was established in June of 1906, in the vacant store room of a building at 25th and Larimer Street by the Committee on Home Missions of the Presbytery of Denver, Colorado. The 66 member congregation elected 3 Ruling Elders and Rev. D. D. Cole, as their first pastor. Rev. Cole remained pastor from June 1906 to January 1909 and many believers were added to the church.
Negotiations for a house of worship began after the organization of Peoples’ Presbyterian Church. In 1908, the Trustees negotiated with the Cumberland Board of Church Erection in St. Louis, MO, through its attorney, Mr. O. A. Erdman, to purchase the property at East 23rd Avenue and Washington Street, known then as the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, for their house of worship.
On March 7, 1909 Rev. H. A. Gibson, D.D., from the Presbytery of Yadkin, North Carolina, was duly elected pastor, but passed 2 weeks after his arrival. Rev. J. A. Thomas-Hazell, a commissioner from the Catawba Presbytery, was elected the third pastor from 1909 to 1922 and from 1946 to 1949 (he also served as interim pastor from 1943 to 1945). During his pastorate, the church moved to East 23rd Avenue and Washington Street.
The Rev. Hugh A. Mullings, was installed as pastor in January 1949. From 1950 to 1957, the Peoples’ Presbyterian Church experienced impressive growth: (1) the congregation grew in numbers to over 500 members, (2) the church became self-supporting, no longer having to receive regular financial assistance from the Presbyterian Board of Nations Mission, and (3) in January 1955 moved into its present building at 2870 York Street. The building was formerly occupied by the Clayton Presbyterian Church.
Suffice it to say that the African-American Denver population literally exploded and moved eastward from the Five-Points area, first to York Street, then to Colorado boulevard and on to Park Hill. The ethnic and cultural composition of neighborhoods changed overnight with the African-Americans moving in and Peoples’ Presbyterian Church enjoyed a growing congregation, solvency and strength. Flourishing with energy and strength, church programs included piano lessons (taught by Pearl Mullings), ski lessons at Vail, CO, “The Mariners” for Christian cohesiveness of married couple and Sunday afternoon Vespers for young people.
The Rev. Dr. James Clark served as interim pastor on 2 separate transition periods; (1) from Rev. Mullings to Rev. Ichishita and (2) from Rev. Johnson to Rev. McKenzie. The Rev. Frank Y. Ichishita (the first Asian-American) was selected by the congregation and installed in October 1970. Rev. William Johnson served from October 1982 to December 1983. Rev. Gilbert McKenzie was installed from 1984 to 1998. Rev. T. D. deBree was interim pastor from 1998 to 2000. Rev. Nathan Byrd was installed as pastor from 2000 to 2004. In 2003 Rev. Byrd served as active duty for the U.S. Army. Rev. Clyde Miller was the temporary supply pastor from 2003 to 2006. Rev. Ebenezer Yebuah (Minister of Education) assisted Rev. Clyde Miller in pastoral duties from 2005 to 2006. Rev. Cynthia F. Burse was installed as the first woman pastor from 2006 to 2008. Rev. Timothy Mooney served as temporary supply pastor in 2009 and interim pastor from 2009 to 2012. Rev. Ebenezer Yebuah, our Minister of Christian Education, is currently handling the pastoral responsibilities.
The succession of pastors, from D. D. Cole to Ebenezer Yebuah, shows that the Peoples’ Presbyterian Church has embraced diversity in pastoral ministries and leadership from African-American, Asian-American, Caucasian backgrounds including the first African-American woman pastor.
Today we share diversity with a growing and ever changing community. We continue serving God and our community, through our minstries (worship services, feeding programs, youth, music, film, and bible studies) and outreach (Presbyterian Women and Presbyterian Men), as "A CHURCH FOR ALL PEOPLES."
(This is a brief history of our church. Our listing of pastors, on the right of this page, shows all who have served and helped our church grow and develop throughtout it's history)