History of Avon Park First ARPresbyterian Church
September 1961 a handful of dedicated people filled with faith and vision
founded the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church of Avon Park. Area
ministers, Rev. Frank Beard of Lake Placid and Rev. Harry Edwards of Lake
Wales, added this new work to the responsibilities they already had with their
own churches. They took turns holding 9:00 AM services in Avon Park before
going to their own pulpits. Both gave time during the week to make pastoral
calls in the Avon Park community.
three months later the women of the church met with Mrs. Frank Beard to form
the Women of the Church.
congregation was organized on February 4, 1962. There were twenty-one charter
members who formed the first congregation. Two children were baptized at that
service. Three elders and three deacons were elected to serve on a rotary
church, meeting in the Masonic Temple, moved to the Winter Guest House in
October 1962. They remained at the location until the permanent building was
completed. Early in 1963 the present property, overlooking Lake Verona was
purchased and plans were made to build a building a soon as possible. On
September 20, 1964, ground was broken for the building which was completed in
June 1965. Then in August 1993 they broke ground for the new sanctuary and
dedicated it in June 1994.
the years this congregation has shown a real spirit of dedication and
willingness to work. Volunteers sodded the lawn. They still come together to
work on the building and grounds.
church body has a heart for missions. They have sent out two families as
missionaries to Mexico, Rev. and Mrs. John Rogers and Mr. and Mrs. Bill Warner.
though some of the traditional events of the church have not continued, this
body functions as an extended family to all those who feel led by God to join
them in the work God has given them to do to further His Kingdom and to honor
Him with their hearts and hands.
of Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church developed from the Church of Scotland.
In 1733 Scotts organized the Associate Presbytery to assure a more protestant
and democratic church. Later, the Reformed Presbytery was organized by other
Scots over the issue of who was the head of the church, emphasizing Christ as
the head of the church, not the national monarch.
Members of these two branches came
to America in the middle 1700s. In 1782, these groups merged to form the
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
Distance and travel limitations in
the early 1800s led to a decision to establish separate Sy7nods of the church.
The Northern Synod eventually merged with other Presbyterian bodies. The
present A.R Presbyterian Church continues in what was the Southern Synod. Since
the advent of modern technology and vast improvements in travel, our “Southern
Synod” is not longer Southern.
Predominately in the Southeast, the
ARP Church has over 200 churches throughout the U.S. and Canada. Among our
churches are some whose services are in Korean, Spanish, Arabic and Swahili.
We do not limit our sphere of
ministry to North America. We reach out beyond our borders to Mexico, Pakistan
and many other foreign countries.