Our History

Planted in the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson, Mississippi, in the late 1920s, Fondren Presbyterian Church has remained an anchor in the city of Jackson for nearly ninety years. Our church cherishes its rich heritage but embraces an active contemporary role as an outspoken voice for Christ in the world.

On July 10, 1927, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, formed a committee to plan a mission church in a neighborhood in the northern part of the city. The committee held prayer meetings in the home of Mr. and Mrs. D. F. Fondren for two years. First Presbyterian purchased a house at the corner of State Street and Lorenz Boulevard in January 1928. The house became the home of the new congregation known then as "Fondren Chapel."

On January 26, 1930, members signed and presented a petition to the Presbytery of Central Mississippi asking that the presbytery confirm Fondren Chapel as a church. The charter was granted, and Fondren Presbyterian Church became a reality. Handwritten histories found in Fondren’s scrapbooks detail the young congregation’s membership, leadership, worship services, and activities and reveal how the house was modified to accommodate growth.

The last service in the house took place on Christmas Day, 1949. The first service in the new church building on Old Canton Road—its present location—was held New Year’s Day, 1950. According to the written histories, January was designated as a season of thanksgiving.

During the civil rights era, Fondren Presbyterian instituted an open door policy under the leadership of the Reverend Moody McDill. As a consequence, Fondren lost some members, but for those who remained, this watershed event strengthened their beliefs and set Fondren Presbyterian on a path of community activism and service that continues today.

In the 1970's, Fondren Presbyterian Church actively supported a united Presbyterian church. In 1983, when the Northern and Southern Presbyterian Churches reunited to become the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, the Fondren congregation proudly joined its ranks. Today, Fondren remains committed to being a vital and active member congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Fondren Presbyterian Church cherishes its rich heritage. More importantly, Fondren seeks to discern God’s will for this congregation and to spread Christ’s love and compassion among its members, in the community, and out into the world.

 

The Pastors

Robert Bedinger, 1930­-1934
Richard Cameron Lipsey, 1934-1942
J. Moody McDill, 1942-1966
Edwin R. Wilson, 1967-1977
Emett H. Barfield, 1978-1988
Rev. Diana Bell and Dr. Donald Bell, 1989-1994
James W. White, Jr., 1996-2006
Morris (Mat) Taylor, Jr., 2008-2014
Robert W. (Rob) Lowry, 2017-