A Community of Grace · Clinton, SC

History

Plans were laid for the establishment of a new church during the summer of 1982, as a small group of Christian friends meeting for Bible study and prayer realized that God was calling them to organize a church committed to the reformed faith as revealed in the inerrant Word of God. After several months of study and preparation, the church was organized as Westminster Presbyterian Church on November 14, 1982, by Calvary Presbytery as a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America. There were sixty-two charter members of the church, including members of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA), who voted to transfer all assets and real property formerly owned by Grace. Included in the transfer were three acres of land on Highway 56 just south of Clinton, which became the location of the church’s first building. Five ruling elders were elected to the Session and were ordained. Rev. Ruben Wallace was called to serve as the stated supply minister and a regular schedule of services and ministries were begun.

In March of 1983, the Reverend Jayme S. Sickert was called to serve the church as her first full-time pastor. Rev. Sickert proved to be a much loved and able leader and served the church for seven years during a time of significant growth and development. Early on the congregation raised adequate funds to purchase a manse and to construct the first phase of the present property, both totally debt-free; and on October 4, 1984 the building was ready for the first worship service in the new church home. The building included a fellowship hall, kitchen, class rooms, and offices on Highway 56 just south of Clinton, which became the location of the church’s first building. Five ruling elders were elected to the Session and were ordained.

The church acquired seven additional acres of land and formulated a master plan which took into account the expected growth and diverse needs of the congregation. As the congregation grew, the ministry of WPC expanded. In April of 1987, the church issued a call to the Reverend Terry R. Baxley to serve as associate pastor. Two years later in August of 1989, construction was completed on the second phase of the master plan, including the present 350-seat sanctuary and additional classrooms and offices.

In October of 1989, Rev. Sickert accepted a call to serve the denomination with the Mission to North America committee in Atlanta. He was succeeded as Senior Pastor by the Reverend David M. Bryan, who was called in April of 1990, and who faithfully served the church for seven years. The following year of 1991, saw both the departure of Associate Pastor Terry Baxley, who accepted a call from MNA to plant a new PCA church in Maryland, and the calling of the Reverend Alan Johnson as Assistant Pastor, who served for 3 ½ years before accepting a call as the senior pastor of Old Peachtree PCA in Duluth, Georgia. 1991, Also saw the opening of Bailey Manor, a PCA retirement home with which WPC has taken an active role in ministry and development. Rev. Johnson was succeeded in June 1995 by the Reverend Brian Austin, who served as Assistant Pastor for three years.

During his tenure as Senior Pastor, David Bryan completed his Doctor of Ministry degree at RTS; in late 1998 he accepted a call to the Independent Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Bryan was succeeded by the Reverend Larry J. Gamble in May of 1999. During his seven-year tenure at WPC, Rev. Gamble was assisted at various times by Rev. Philip McClimon, who now serves as a PCA Navy Chaplain, Rev. Tim Bowers, and Mr. Geoff Henderson, who now pastors a church in Tampa, Florida. The years under the leadership of Rev. Gamble continued to bring stability and maturing in the church and also saw the development of a very successful college ministry at Presbyterian College. Through the work of Campus Outreach the lives of hundreds of college students have been impacted in very significant ways; many have chosen careers in the church. Phase III of the building program was completed in February of 2003, completing the build-out of the master plan by adding additional classrooms, a new kitchen, and much needed recreation facilities.

With the departure of Rev. Gamble in early 2005, Dr. Bill Barton was called to serve as the interim pastor; he served with distinction for the balance of the year and assisted the church in a careful re-evaluation of ministries and priorities. Late 2005, brought the calling of the Reverend James T. Roberts as the fourth Senior Pastor of WPC. With his arrival in December, 2005, a new chapter has begun in the history of our church.

In 2012, we celebrated 30 years of ministry in Laurens County. As we look back over the years of growing and maturing, we give thanks for the hundreds of people God has brought our way. He has graciously provided for our every need and especially in bringing ministers of the Word who have faithfully taught the Scriptures. The church stands firm in her commitment to the reformed faith and evangelical Christianity. Our congregation is united in purpose and in spirit and confidently looks to the future with great anticipation of what the Lord has planned for us.