about  us

Our History

How it all started.

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 20 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.

Our Mission & Beliefs

Get to know more about what makes us different.

First Presbyterian Church is a church that adheres to the classical doctrines and beliefs of the Christian faith.  Being a Presbyterian simply means that we are church governed by duly elected Elders as chosen by the Holy Spirit and confirmed by the people of the congregation. The word for Elder is presbyteros in Greek; hence, that is how we get our name!

So, what do Presbyterians believe? At First Presbyterian, there is a relationship between what we believe, with what we do, and with how we live. Each one of these categories builds upon the other. For example, what we know determines how we live our lives of discipleship. How we live our lives of discipleship in turn shapes who each of us becomes as a human being. Think of these three categories as a house. The foundation of our faith is our basic Christian Knowledge. The doors that open our lives up to faith are determined by our basic Christian Practices. The Upper Room of our faith are the basic virtues are life begins to display outwardly to the world.
Know. Do. Be.  What we know affects what we do which shapes who we are. So, to help us grow into a strong house to be inhabited by the Spirit of Christ, there are at least ten ideas we need to know about. There are at least ten practices each of us can follow as a disciple. Finally, there are at least ten virtues our Christian lives should exhibit. If you are looking for a tool at assessing your walk with God, use these Thirty Core Competencies as your guide.
Know. Do. Be.  What we know affects what we do which shapes who we are. So, to help us grow into a strong house to be inhabited by the Spirit of Christ, there are at least ten ideas we need to know about. There are at least ten practices each of us can follow as a disciple. Finally, there are at least ten virtues our Christian lives should exhibit. If you are looking for a tool at assessing your walk with God, use these Thirty Core Competencies as your guide.

Our church’s denominational website also has an in depth description of Presbyterian theology and history. Click Here for more information.

Basic Christian Knowledge

What We Are Called to Know

  • The Bible – The Bible is the inspired Word of God, and along with the wonders of nature, reveals what God wants people to know about Him and His purposes.
  • Nature of God – God is the Sovereign Creator of the universe.  He is holy, righteous, and loving; He exists as Trinity:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • The Human Condition – Women and men are fallen creatures who are sinful, not only by their nature, but also in their actions.  We are in need of salvation whereby we are reconnected to the life-giving Spirit of God.  The chief purpose of men and women is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, seeking to fulfill God’s will in each of our lives.
  • Jesus Christ – Jesus Christ is the eternal and Incarnate Son of God who came to Earth to be the Savior of the world, and indeed, all creation.
  • Salvation – Salvation is freely given by God through the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ to all who believe in Jesus’ Good News.
  • The Holy Spirit – The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity and is the One Who inspired the Bible as well as inspires people’s faith.  The Spirit also draws people to God as well as influences, teaches, and illumines Christians.
  • The Church – The Christian Church was instituted by God to be a place of worship and service of all believers.  The Church is comprised of believers today along with the saints who have died and now reside with God.  
  • Christian Vocation – Christians are commanded to use their God-given spiritual gifts for building and maintaining the Kingdom of God in the world.  Specifically, spiritual gifts are for telling the Story of Jesus in evangelism, teaching the Story of Jesus, and living the Story of Jesus’ life through our Christian service, pastoral care, trusteeship of time and talents, and through prayer.
  • The Spiritual World – We live in a spiritual world. A Christ-Follower lives in the realms of The Already and The Not Yet.  In other words, we live our earthly life in a community that believes God has reconciled all creation to the Lord through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. We also believe that there is more than just this physical existence and that one day at the culmination of time, we will join Christ with all the saints, literally – the redeemed who have died before us along with all principalities and powers in heaven. The Holy Spirit is God’s way of maneuvering between these two worlds and guarantees our future hope of eternal life.  
  • The Future – All creation will be subject to the just and loving judgment and transformation of God.  For believers, the gift of eternal life, which is given at the moment a person believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior, will enjoy the fellowship of Jesus and the saints of God for all eternity.  

Basic Christian Practices

What We Are Called to Do

The Doors of Our Faith
  • Worship  
  • Christ-Followership  
  • Prayer  
  • Bible Study  
  • Advancing through Retreat  
  • Caring in Biblical Community  
  • Trusteeship of Our Spiritual Gifts  
  • Christian Service and Mission  
  • Giving Our Faith Away  
  • Stewardship of Our Finances and Possessions  

Basic Christian Virtues

What We Are Called to Be

The Upper Room for Our Faith
  • Loving  
  • Joyful  
  • Peaceful
  • Patient  
  • Humble  
  • Faithful
  • Forgiving  
  • Self-Controlled  
  • Thankful  
  • Sacrificial

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