History of Our Church

Central Presbyterian Church traces its history to 1828, shortly after the founding of the city of Lafayette, Indiana.

In 1828 First Presbyterian Church was chartered in the young community of Lafayette. Following a theological division in the national denomination, First and Second Presbyterian churches both existed in the downtown area, with Second Presbyterian Church occupying the Romanesque Revival building at Seventh & Columbia, built in 1895.

Two Congregations Become One

In 1914, a healing of the rift led the First and Second Presbyterian churches to reunite into a single congregation known today as Central Presbyterian Church.

A Unique Role In Our Community

Central Presbyterian Church claims a unique role among Presbyterian churches in the Greater Lafayette community. Throughout its history, Central Presbyterian has provided both funding and congregation members to begin (or “plant”) other Presbyterian churches (including Bethany, Faith, Dayton, and Covenant Presbyterian churches) in the Greater Lafayette area, and has supported or started numerous community ministries including Lafayette Urban Ministry.

Central Presbyterian Church has two adjacent buildings: the Sanctuary Building, where the Traditional Worship service takes place, and the Education Building, for education classes and groups, childcare, and many meetings.

Sanctuary Building

Built in 1895, this historic, Richardsonian Romanesque building provides the church’s physical presence on a main thoroughfare in town. It is considered one of the outstanding architectural structures in the Ellsworth District of Lafayette.

The church’s sanctuary is a magnificent example of this classic architecture that was inspired by Trinity Church in Boston, Massachusetts whose Rector, when it was built, was the notable Reverend Phillips Brooks, great orator and author of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. The sanctuary  has been updated several times, most recently in 1990 to reflect the style it had at the end of the 19h Century. Off of our Seventh Street entrance are our church offices and the Fitch Parlor where we hold many fellowship gatherings.

A major renovation occurred in 2020 to update the sanctuary, office area, and outdoor entrance. KJG Architects guided the project with support from a congregation-led facilities planning committee. Updated painting, carpeting, and flooring enhanced the sanctuary and gathering area to meet the needs of the congregation. The office area includes an updated reception area, offices, and a handicapped restroom. The outdoor arched entrance on Seventh Street was enclosed and an additional handicapped accessible ramp was built.

Education Building

Built in 1928, the Education Building was paid for through the generous contributions of Central Presbyterian’s congregation, especially the children. Our youngest members saved their pennies and donated them for the cause, while others sacrificed during the dark days of the Great Depression to ensure the retirement of the mortgage.

Right Steps Child Development leases space in the Education Building. They provide childcare services that focus on child development and early education for children ages six months to six years. Right Steps occupies several classrooms and offices as well as shares space with Central Presbyterian (such as the large fellowship hall and kitchen). For more information, visit Right Steps.

A Rich Tradition of Pastoral Leadership

Mindful of both Central Presbyterian’s history and the congregation’s future, the leaders of Central Presbyterian look to the future with excitement, building from a rich tradition of outstanding pastoral leadership — including such notable Lafayette leaders as J. Dayton McCormick, Ernest Yorger, Ken McCullen, and David Roquemore.  Central continues this tradition of excellent leadership today.

Meeting the Changing Needs of Our Community

Working together to ensure the future viability of Central Presbyterian’s ministry, the elders and pastoral staff recognize the opportunity, responsibility, and challenge inherent in meeting social, spiritual, and physical needs in a changing Lafayette community. Central Presbyterian will continue to serve the congregation and community through worship, education, and outreach for years to come.