In 1947 when Bob Jones University moved to Greenville, there was a large, effective church called Bible Presbyterian Church located on Augusta Road. This church was part of the Bible Presbyterian movement led by Dr. Carl McIntire. After several years there was a schism in the church. One group left to found the First Independent Presbyterian Church meeting in a house on Stone Avenue. A larger group became Augusta Road Presbyterian Church, PCA, and was pastored by Rev. Alfred Mersman.
The beginnings of Faith Presbyterian Church
Things became rocky for Pastor Mersman when the official board refused his leadership. He attempted to resign early in 1972, but the membership refused to accept his resignation. He resigned later that year and left the pulpit. At that time about 80 members left also, meeting at the Piedmont Natural Gas company and calling themselves Faith Presbyterian Church with Rev. Mersman as pastor.
Moving to Sharon Drive
Shortly thereafter they moved the meeting place to the Seventh Day Adventist Church on East North Street where they remained until the Adventists had repairs to make which required them to work on Sunday. The church then moved briefly to Wade Hampton High School and then to Duncan Chapel Elementary School near Furman University. In 1976 the church purchased a modified house on a 3-acre property on Sharon Drive. Pastor Mersman resigned at this time. A number of BJU faculty filled the pulpit as well as visiting preachers from out of town.
Introduction to the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster
In 1977, when Dr. Paisley came to BJU for Bible Conference, the church elders requested a special meeting with him. The elders unanimously petitioned Dr. Paisley, asking that Faith Presbyterian Church become a member of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. Upon acceptance, the church name was changed to Faith Free Presbyterian Church.
Our first minister
For at least two years the pulpit was supplied by Free Presbyterian ministers who would stay for a month or two. In 1978-79 Rev. Alan Cairns came for two months to fill the pulpit, after which the church extended a call to him. Dr. Cairns came to this fledgling, tiny work in Greenville in 1980. Since then the Lord has seen fit to see this church become the mother of many churches.
Adapted from Dr. Gail Gingery’s recounting of the events of our history.
The LORD hath done great things for us whereof we are glad.- Psalm 126:3