Westminster Presbyterian Church
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Where loving God and neighbor is transforming lives.
About Us

Church History

Westminster is the present day descendant of Dayton’s first church, organized in 1799 by the Washington Presbytery of the Synod of Kentucky. Originally it was named First Presbyterian Church. Worshiping in a small log cabin in the heart of what would later become the downtown, the congregation began with ten people.
Church History
The church grew until 1838, when the "New School-Old School Controversy," a dispute regarding slavery, caused 72 of its 187 members to leave and form, as New School adherents, The Third Street Presbyterian Church.  The pastor who preached at Abraham Lincoln's funeral, The Reverend Phineas Gurley, served First Church in Dayton from 1849 to 1854.

For 81 years the two churches, only a city block apart, maintained their separate congregations. However, in 1919, their differences long forgotten, the two churches were reunited to become a congregation of 1146 members. They had a vision of creating more than just a church. They also launched a Choir College. They chose the name Westminster, both for the church and the Choir College.

This reunited congregation worshiped in Dayton's Memorial Hall until the current building was completed in 1926. Architect Ralph Adams Cram designed this neo-gothic structure.   From September 1999 through May 2000, Westminster celebrated its 200th birthday.  A leather-bound book, Westminster Presbyterian Church: Increasing the Love of God and Neighbor, written by parishioners as a tribute in its bicentennial year, details the history of Dayton’s first church and is available in the Church Office.

The historical records of the church have been transferred to two archive sites both to preserve them and make them more accessible to the public. The one close to us in Dayton is the Special Collections and Archives  department of the Wright State University Library: The list of their holdings of Westminster’s archives may be found here: The other is the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia: The best way to search their holdings is to use their automated catalogue:

A Cabin Grows: A History of a Church - 1799 to 1949

A History of the First Presbyterian Church of Dayton, Ohio: From 1845 to 1880

Westminster History Book 2003 part 1
Westminster History Book 2003 part 2

First Presbyterian Cook Book, 1886
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Presbyterian Cook Book, 1911 - part 1
Presbyterian Cook Book, 1911 - part 2
Presbyterian Cook Book, 1911 - part 3
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Westminster Service Club Cook Book, 1932
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Women of Westminster Cook Book, 1975
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Centenary Souvenir - First Presbyterian Church, Dayton, Ohio, 1900
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Sunday - 10:00 a.m.
125 N. Wilkinson St,
Dayton, OH 45402

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Ph: 937.223.7285
Fx: 937.223.9085
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Office Hours:
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

ID Ministry Hours:
10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

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125 N. Wilkinson Street, Dayton, OH 45402 | Ph: 937.223.7285 | Fx: 937.223.9085 | E:
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