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Our History

 
“A Light in Austin Since 1850” has been our spiritual goal as well as our historical reality.  Although the actual buildings and locations have changed over the years, what hasn’t changed is FPC’s commitment to live – and to invite others to live – a thoughtful, heart-felt authentic faith.

FPC has always sought to be a leader in social and personal transformation.  During the American Civil War FPC aligned with the Northern Presbyterian Church while every other Texas Presbyterian Church aligned with the Southern Presbyterian Church.

After the Civil War, Pastor E.B. Wright established FPC as a place of reconciliation and grace, as FPC encouraged former enemies to ask for God’s blessings, and for one another’s forgiveness.  North/South, Former Slaves/Former Slaveholders, People of Faith/People of Doubt – all joined together to seek out a better way of life and service.

The desire to be a place of reconciliation and grace, of acceptance and inclusion, continued throughout FPC’s history, and continues to this day.  Men and Women, Gay and Straight members all serve equally in church leadership.  Even Youth share in important leadership roles.

In addition to radical grace, FPC has brought from its past literal pieces of its history: our beautiful stained glass windows.  Set in a spacious contemporary sanctuary, each Sunday they preach powerful sermons – about bright light manifesting in many colors and about profound tradition prompting a progressive faith.

The Labyrinth
labyrinth
A replica of the Chartres Labyrinth in the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France around 1220, the Labyrinth of FPC was built with love and donations from Boy Scout Troop #1 and volunteers from FPC.
It was modified slightly to incorporate the shade of the trees in the surrounding area.  The labyrinth is a spiritual tool for meditation and prayer, representing unity and the journey of life.  There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth.  As you walk, simply let go of the details of your life.  Each turn can be imagined as the turns in one's own life.  Pray for guidance and listen for God's voice in the noises around you as you walk. 
 
Memorial Fountain
The memorial fountain of FPC is in loving memory of Jane Van Auken, Associate Pastor who died in July of 1999.  The fountain not only serves to honor her life and service to God and others, but also as a reflection of the hope of God's good news in Jesus Christ.  The large Ft. Davis rock to the left of the fountain recalls the rock Moses struck to bring forth saving water for the children of Israel.  The water flows around twelve engraved stones, representing the stones the children took from the bed of the Jordan River.  The quotation at the front of the fountain from the Book of Revelation centers both our grief and our hope in the never-ending providence of God.
 
Pipe OrganOrgan 2
Built for the church's 50th anniversary, Opus 263 was installed in FPC sometime early in 1900.  The first of two inaugural concerts on the instrument was Friday, March 16, 1900 by famed organist Clarence Eddy.  The organ was rebuilt a few times and for a period of time put safely away in storage while the church moved locations.  When FPC finally ended up on Mesa Drive, "Oscar" was restored and put in it's current location along the east wall.  The organ's nickname attests to its sometimes finicky nature.  As the organ begins its second century of service, about ten ranks of the pipes of the current thirty-six ranks are original to the first 1900 organ.  May Opus 263 lead all people to a greater understanding of God, and closer to the Divine Ministry.
 
 
 
For more information about the Presbyterian Seal, click here.
 
 
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