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Our History

Our church history is intertwined with that of the community of Newport News, itself, where farmers and fishermen witnessed a population surge in the late 1800s as industry came to the area. A railyard, a shipbuilding and dry dock company, coal piers and grain elevators changed the landscape of Newport News, and brought families here who naturally would share God's word and Christian fellowship with one another in years to come.

Those first meetings were held in simple wood-frame structures -- or on the piers, with congregants seated on coils of rope and piles of timber! Of course, without building structures to separate them, many denominations met and worshipped together.

As time went on, the North Newport News Union Sunday School was established, and Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists and Baptists came to teach and learn. This was the very earliest of Hilton Presbyterian's local roots.

Hilton Village
1918's Hilton Village -- a government-funded effort to house increasing numbers of shipbuilders preparing for the First World War -- brought about the first Hilton Presbyterian church building. Hilton Village was envisioned to balance the difficult work environment of the industrial revolution with a garden city, complete with stores, churches, and schools. Four lots were set aside for the various churches, and Dr. E. T. Wellford, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, chose the site where our church is now located.

After a brief interim period in 1919 when Presbyterians and Methodists in Hilton Village met together at the Fireman's Clubhouse (and, in pleasant weather, under open tents by the James River), it was decided that there were enough families in each denomination to support individual churches. With the help of the First Presbyterian Church and the Presbytery in Norfolk, the Hilton Presbyterian Church was commissioned on December 21, 1919, with 49 founding members. The Reverend G. L. Kearns was elected the first pastor.

Our Church Home
An old YMCA building was "cut up" and moved to the corner of Main and River Road. This first church home had bare floors, folding chairs, and a piano. In July of 1921, the cornerstone for a new church building was laid. On October 9, 1921 this building was dedicated.

A few other highlights:

1947 -- An Educational Building was added by 1963.

1948 -- The Women's Auxiliary was changed to the Women of the Church.

1977 -- Due to structural damage, the Building and Finance committees were formed and began plans for a new sanctuary. Construction began in 1981.

1982 -- Our new sanctuary was completed and dedicated.

"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth." (I Corinthians 3:6)