Established 1892

In 1892, when a small group in Johnson City felt that the time had arrived to organize a new church, they expressed a desire to be associated with the "National Presbyterian Church," which was then officially known as the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.  Established 27 September 1892, as Second Presbyterian Church.  Then on 14 May 1894, once property was secured at the corners of Watauga Avenue & New Street, the name was changed to Watauga Avenue Presbyterian Church.  WAPC is a congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ.  Reformed in theology and Presbyterian by way of organization, it is related to Holston Presbytery, the Synod of Living Waters, and to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The organizing committee consisted of D.S. McIntyre, J.W. Cox, S.P. Bolton, C.W. Hodge, Mrs. H. Gildersleeve, S.W. Wilson, Mrs. Kate Wilson, W.J. Palmer, Mrs. W.J. Palmer, John A. Mathes, Mrs. John A. Mathes, J.W. Cure and Mrs. J.W. Cure.

Original members included: John W. & Jennie K. Cure, Mrs. Elizabeth Gildersleeve, John A. & Alvira L. Mathes, H.A. & Elizabeth Talhelm, G.W. Klinkneck, Dr. John W & Lelia Cox, Samuel W & Kate C. Wilson, James E. Strain, Mrs. J.E. Brading, W.J. & Elzora Palmer, D.S. & Mrs. A.H. McIntyre. 


Johnson City Press article of January 7, 2012 about our outstanding WAPC History Timeline link to article

Historical Chronology of Watauga Avenue & Bethesda Presbyterian Churches

  • 1892 (27 September)- Watauga Avenue Presbyterian Church organized as Second Presbyterian Church of Johnson City, established by Holston Presbytery, Synod of Tennessee
  • 1892-1894 - met at Martha Wilder School at corner of Myrtle Avenue & New Street
  • 1894 (14 May) - The name was officially chartered as Watauga Avenue Presbyterian Church
  • 1895-1896 - met at Lusk School at corner of East Watauga Avenue & Roan Street
  • 1896 - 1st chapel built at corner of East Watauga Avenue & New Street and dedicated on April 3rd
  • 1897 - 1st manse built at 604 East Watauga Avenue
  • circa 1898 - Rev. J.T. Cooter, D.D., newly elected President of Washington College in Washington County, TN, served as first supply pastor
  • 1899 (22 September) - Bethesda Presbyterian Church established
  • circa 1900 - Bell tower added to chapel
  • 1901-1908 - Rev. Jere Moore, 1st full-time pastor, the nephew of Dr. Jere Moore, then President of Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN
  • 1903 - Kimball pump organ purchased for Bethesda Presbyterian Church
  • 1908-1917 - Rev. Dayton A. Dobbs, D.D., pastor, from Tusculum College
  • 1913 - Bethesda Presbyterian Church builds 1st sanctuary on Millard Street
  • 1917-1929 - Rev. Edgar J. Vance, pastor
  • 1923 - The first manse was sold and a new brick manse built between old manse and sanctuary
  • 1929-1931 - Rev. Albert F. von Tobel, D.D., pastor from New Haven, CT
  • 1931-1944 - Rev. Raymond Coile Rankin, D.D., pastor, son of Professor Thomas Rankin of Tusculum College
  • 1942 - 50th Anniversary of WAPC
  • 1942 - Miss Grace Bundy elected 1st woman elder at Bethesda Presbyterian Church
  • 1945-1950 - Rev. J. Curtis Hodgens, pastor
  • 1951-1957 - Rev. Howard C. Walton, Jr., D.D., pastor, also taught Religion and Bible at Tusculum College
  • 1952 - Mabel Gildersleeve retired as church organist
  • circa 1955 - WAPC begins using The Hymnbook
  • 1957-1962 - Rev. Carl C. Murray, pastor
  • 1961 - Educational wing built that connects church with the manse
  • 1962 - New manse purchased at 603 Hillrise Boulevard
  • 1963-1971 - Rev. Donald Eugene Frederick, pastor
  • 1966 - Bethesda Presbyterian Church dissolves and 26 members joins WAPC
  • 1967 - 75th Anniversary of WAPC
  • 1968 - Office of Deacons dissolved and WAPC becomes a unicameral system
  • 1969 (27 April) - Last service in the old sanctuary
  • 1969-1970 - New sanctuary designed by Abernethy*Robinson*Abernethy ... and constructed by ...
  • 1970 (05 May) - First service in the new (existing) sanctuary
  • 1970 - New organ purchased by Mary Gildersleeve in memory of sister Mabel
  • circa 1970 - WAPC begins using The Worshipbook
  • 1971-1972 - Rev. George Hubbard, interim pastor
  • 1972-1981 - Rev. Donald E. Lagle, D.D., pastor
  • 1972 - Margaret Dugger elected 1st woman elder at Watauga Presbyterian Church
  • 1975 - "Do This in Remembrance of Me" mosaic created by Jeannie Berry Browning and WAPC youth
  • 1977 - Harpsichord purchased with memorial funds
  • 1981-1982 - Rev. Charles Carson, interim pastor
  • 1982-1988 - Rev. Ronald Lee Bowie, pastor
  • 1982 - 90th Anniversary of WAPC
  • 1983 - Reunification of Presbyterian Church United States (PCUS) and Presbyterian Church United States of America (PCUSA)
  • 1985 - Organization of church library by Macie Foster Poteat and Jean Darling
  • 1987 - Keenagers organized
  • 1988-1989 - Rev. Raymond Saunders, interim pastor
  • 1989 - PCUSA celebrated bicentennial (1789-1989)
  • 1989-1999 - Rev. David J. Wood, M.Div., pastor
  • circa 1990 - WAPC begins using the Presbyterian Hymnal
  • 1991 - Demolition of 1897 manse to make way for new parking lot
  • 1992 - 100th Anniversary of WAPC and dedication of the Shelburne Wilson Belfry
  • 1992 - 100th Anniversary anthem "Hebrews 12:1" commissioned and composed by Lewis Songer
  • 1999-2000 - Rev. Robert L. Lowry, interim pastor
  • 2000-2014 - Rev. George L. Rolling, pastor
  • 2002 - WAPC began using "Sing! A New Creation" contemporary hymnbook
  • 2005 (02 June) - Dedication of the Macie Poteat Memorial Library
  • 2006 (23 August) - 1st WAPC website launched (at wataugaavenuepc.org)
  • 2009 (29 May) - WAPC Facebook page launched
  • 2009 - Dedication of Ellis Gallery in honor of Paul James Ellis
  • 2011 - Manse at 603 Hillrise Boulevard sold
  • 2013 - "Glory to God" new Presbyterian hymnals arrive (27 September 2013)
  • 2013 (03 November) - Dedication of "Glory to God" hymnals
  • 2014 (September) - WAPC launches new website
  • 2014 (October) - WAPC welcomes Rev. Maggie Palmer Lauterer as Interim Pastor