West Raleigh Presbyterian Church: A community of God’s people, nurtured in the love of Jesus Christ, supporting each other and reaching out to the campus, city and world beyond.
West Raleigh was chartered in May 1927 to serve over two hundred students and about 40 professors and other employees of NC State. The majority of the first 60 plus members came from First Presbyterian. Two of those visionaries were the much-loved professor of English, Dr. T.P. Harrison, and long-time Dean of Students, E.L. Cloyd. Rev. Joseph R. Walker, the first pastor, and the second, Rev. John Hugh Grey, Jr., served as pastor for both church and campus group. Five subsequent pastors and several interims have had various combinations of associates in ministry and religious educators.
WRPC has been home for the Raleigh Presbyterian Campus Ministry for decades. Students from NCSU and other local colleges are involved in the life of the church including leading Community and Campus Sunday evening worship throughout the school year, serving on committees and participating in the Bag Lunch ministry and community garden.
The church was involved for many years in providing quality child care – it had the first state-qualified day care in North Carolina. WRPC also provided space and leadership for scouting efforts at different times. We have also and has provided space for organizations, such as Cocaine Anonymous, Al Anon, Nursing Mothers of Raleigh and SAFEchild.
An important component that has been consistent over most of West Raleigh’s history has been the development of each individual’s covenant relationship with God. This has been nurtured through Sunday school classes, Presbyterian Women, an extensive confirmation program and an array of fellowship groups. Worship at WRPC is greatly enhanced by an excellent music ministry led by Tom Lohr.
Out of our covenant relationship with God have come many ministries to our neighbors - marching in support of integration, witnessing for peace in Central America, building with others in Habitat for Humanity, and, youth and adults, serving on short-term missions. Here at home, WPRC members have learned to listen to and care for each other through Stephen Ministry and other ways of showing love through mowing yards or providing meals for members who are sick or offering food and a safe shelter for homeless families through Wake Interfaith Housing Network. Ministry with incarcerated women and those just leaving prison provided those who participated with a whole new way to view the world. God has also called into being from our church ministries including Wheels4Hope and, with PCM, Bag Lunch Program. The North Carolina Council of Churches and Hearts with Haiti have their offices at WRPC. In addition, WRPC is proud to support A Place at the Table (APATT), coming soon to Raleigh. We look forward to partnering with APATT where all people can come and experience conversation and community while enjoying a meal.
Here at home, WPRC members have learned to listen to and care for each other through Stephen Ministry and other ways of showing love through mowing yards or providing meals for members who are sick. We have also been involved in offering food and a safe shelter for homeless families through Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network (WIHN). Other church ministries that were birthed here include Wheels4Hope and the Bag Lunch Program.
The Arts Ministry, established in 2013, fosters the arts as an expression of our faith and an answer to our call to be co-creators with God. It enables us to build connections while also reaching out to the community. We received our first Passion-Driven Ministry (PDM) grant from the Presbytery for 2015/2016 to continue to strengthen the reach of this ministry. Also, in 2014, WRPC became an Earth Care Congregation.
In Fall 2012, WRPC bid farewell to pastors Joe Ward and Moffett Churn. Rev. Lori Pistor served as Interim Pastor from February 2013 to August 2015 and provided gentle guiding leadership throughout our pastoral call process. We continued to build and rebuild relationships, using one of our core questions, “Who is my Neighbor?”
In September 2015, we joyfully announced that Katherine Rick-Miller will be our next called Pastor, joining us in November 2015. In the interim, Scott Phillips and Rev. David Wiseman have provided excellent preaching and pastoral care with help of many others. In addition to Tom Lohr, current staff members include Marietta Wynands, DCE; Shelley Rubin, Church Secretary; Rane Winslow, PCM secretary; and James Williams, Custodian.