A Brief History of Fifth Street Presbyterian Church
On November 11, 1962, the congregation of Fifth Street Presbyterian Church held their first worship service at their present location, 1616 East Fifth Street in Tyler. Although this was a new location and name for the church, its roots go deep in the City of Tyler.
The church was founded in 1910 as Moore Memorial Mission, named in memory of the local business man, R. W. Moore. The building on South Baxter Street was partially built by the Session of the First Presbyterian Church and various assistant pastors from First Presbyterian Church ministered to the congregation until 1935 when the first full time pastor was called.
In 1954, 149 members petitioned the Presbytery to be organized as a particular church. On December 24, 1954, a commission of the Presbytery convened to particularize Moore Memorial Presbyterian Church. During the early years as an organized church several ministers served as pastor but the one who had the greatest impact in those years was Dr. Robert Hill. After serving 31 years as pastor of Tyler’s First Presbyterian Church, Dr Hill retired and was called in 1946 by the congregation of Moore Memorial Presbyterian Church, to pastor the congregation. It was under Dr. Hill’s leadership that the church began to look for another location which would enhance its visibility in the community and provide space for growth. In 1960, marking the 50th anniversary of the church’s founding, the growing church purchased land on Fifth Street and built a new building. The name of the church was then changed to Fifth Street Presbyterian Church. One of the determining factors which led the congregation to choose the East Fifth Street location was its proximity to Tyler Junior College. After the church relocated the Lord opened an opportunity for ministry on the campus of Tyler Junior College with the establishment of The Presbyterian Bible Chair which was taught by the pastor of the church.
The Fifth Street congregation was affiliated for over sixty years with the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS). In the early 1970’s the Fifth Street congregation withdrew this affiliation with the PCUS due to their continued liberalization—seen in their movement away from the authority of Holy Scripture and the resulting abandonment of the theology and ethics of the Bible. It was then and is now the conviction of our church that views on social issues, ethics, and theology must be the result of the study of God’s Word. It was a difficult move for our church and for all those who left to form the the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), but it was a move that was mandated by a commitment to the Bible.
In 1973 the Fifth Street congregation voted unanimously to join the newly formed National Presbyterian Church whose name was changed the following year to the The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). We were privileged to host the first Texas Presbytery meeting at our church together with Faith PCA of Paris and Covenant PCA of Houston. The PCA is a growing conservative denomination committed to the Scriptures, the Reformed Faith and the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
Fifth Street Presbyterian Church has grown in its ministry to Tyler and the East Texas area. Over the years the church has maintained its obedience to the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) through various ministries within the church and its outreach by supporting ministries and missions around the world.
Historical Information from Robert Lewis