Many of the same active leaders who incorporated the City in 1911 founded First Presbyterian Church in 1912. Almost like twins, the two have been linked together in an active vision based on the prospect of ever growing future greatness.
The church’s outreach programs strengthen the church/city partnership. To date, the members have built 18 houses for Habitat for Humanity and plan on continuing to build one house per year. Other outreach programs include feeding and clothing the hungry and homeless; providing an average of 2,800 meals a year to needy members of the community; donating and delivering almost 1000 Thanksgiving meals while partnering with Turkeys Take Flight to needy families in Florida; organizing six annual blood drives; providing Christmas gifts, food and a party to the children of incarcerated parents through the Angel Tree; and more. Beyond the local community, First Presbyterian Church leads mission trips to national and international locations, and operates a small gift boutique with fair-trade merchandise.
Since 1947, Happyland Day School, a pre-school for ages two to Kindergarten, has provided a quality Christian environment for the children of our community. Several of the children in Happyland have parents and grandparents who themselves are Happyland graduates.
The Music Ministry at First Presbyterian Church is a graded choir program beginning with the Cherub Choir (ages 4-5) and encompassing Calvin (grades 1-2), Carolers (grades 3-4), Chapel Singers (grades 6-8) and Kirk Singers (grades 9-12), choirs. In all of our rehearsals and performances, we are dedicated to teaching and training musicians so that everything we do reflects the excellence and power of God’s glory.
The adult Cathedral Choir is an integral link to the worship experience. Open to all who have a heart and desire to sing, this adult volunteer choir provides exquisite sacred musical offerings each week. The music department also hosts a yearly Concert Series with varied musical programs.
First Presbyterian Church is proud of its fully endowed college scholarship program. Dating back to the 1930’s, the program was formalized and expanded in 1974. The fund has grown to more than $2.64 million dollars, and during the 2016 – 2017 school year provided 43 scholarships to qualified students totaling $106,000.
The Adult Activity Center is a program for seniors and is open to all people in our church and community. They meet every Thursday from mid-September through June. This large group of seniors come from all over Broward to enjoy lunches prepared by our chef, quality entertainment, fellowship, and educational programs. In addition, there are monthly bus trips to special Florida locations that are offered for a nominal fee.
First Presbyterian Church always looks to the future, but never forgets its past and its Scottish heritage. The traditions of the wearing of the tartans and the music of the bagpipe and drums add color as we celebrate our Scottish heritage at both our Hanging of the Greens service and our annual Scottish Sunday.
Several books and articles have been written about the church and the City of Fort Lauderdale. Many of the same descriptive words appear in them. Unique, pioneers in the community, cooperative, impossible dreamers, involved, tolerant, and visionary. First Presbyterian Church and the City of Fort Lauderdale — born together, working together, and growing together with the Grace of God and helping to make Fort Lauderdale a good place in which to live.
We, the members of First Presbyterian Church, by the grace of God, exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ by —
LEADING people to Jesus Christ,
LEARNING about our faith,
LIVING a Christ-centered life, and
LOVING our neighbor through ministries of service and compassion.
Intellectually and spiritually we stand within the Reformed Tradition. The Scripture as the Word of God is the authoritative guide for our life and faith; and the Confessions of the Church are reliable guides to our understanding of God’s Word in specific historical situations.
We acknowledge the sovereignty of God in every moment of life, and look to God alone for purpose and meaning and guidance in this life. God is the foundation and object of our faith and we know God as Creator and Redeemer, Friend and Lord.
We admit our sinfulness and inability to live up to the fullness of God’s image within us. We confess the old, old story of God’s redeeming, atoning love in Jesus Christ. We remember the sacrifice and suffering of Christ on the cross and hold to the hope of resurrection which the empty cross represents.
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit who gives us faith, renews our commitment, strengthens us for discipleship, and confirms the presence of God in our lives. We believe in the power of prayer to bring change, healing and new life to our faith and to the world.
We believe that the church is called together to remember, forgive, love and serve. The church is a community based on covenant with God and with each other. We develop support for each other in the loneliness, meaninglessness and fear that gnaws within us.
We struggle to make the Word of God a reality in our lives, and we strive to bear witness to that reality every day. We also focus on the task of discipleship. We remember that the response to belief in Christ is not a mere intellectual acceptance, but a response in action–a response in service and love to God and to all God’s people. At the heart of the church and its calling is the commandment of Christ to love the Lord with all our hearts and all our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves.