In July, 1851, the first official meeting of the group that was to become First Presbyterian Church was held in what was then known as Gilman’s Saloon on Main Street. Before moving to its present location, First Presbyterian Church of Hartford had three homes. After a brief stay at Gilman’s Saloon, the fellowship moved to the Washington Temperance Hall and from there to old South Baptist Church located on the corner of Main and Sheldon Streets. In 1868, the chapel (now Hodge Hall) was built at the corner of Capitol Avenue and Clinton Street. In 1870, the current church sanctuary was built. Designed by Renwick and Sands of New York City, the building is of Vermont granite with a trim of Portland brownstone in a blending of Gothic and Romanesque architecture. An office wing was added in 1930.
The congregation has always served the immigrant community of Hartford. Its original members were Scottish immigrants to New England. In the 1940s, it welcomed an influx of immigrants from Jamaica. Nearly one-third of its current membership consists of African immigrants. It has hosted new church starts among Korean and Latino immigrants across the years. It supports the work of Presbyterian Pride, which works for the inclusion of LBGT people in the church and society.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
Spirit, and engaged with the world around us. We are a spiritual home to people from all walks and stations of life, believers and questioners, who seek to participate with God in the healing of God’s broken creation. We believe that we come to know the new life God offers to us and to all the world through the rhythms of worship, prayer, scripture and learning, generosity, kindness and hospitality
As a church we are governed by the polity of The Presbyterian Church (USA), which elects church officers – elders, ministers of word and sacrament, and deacons—to representative governing bodies of the church. Ultimately, we believe that Christian faith is more a way of living than a set of fixed dogmas and that being Christian is an ongoing, unending journey toward God along which we are all at different points in our understanding and practice. As pilgrims along the Way, we are all called to support each other regardless of where we are on our differing journeys toward the love, knowledge, and service of God and the world. To learn more, click here to visit PC (USA).
We strengthen our diversity by creating events and opportunities that encourage the sharing of our different cultures: their traditions, foodways, music, and practices.
We engage with the political institutions of greater Hartford as an expression of our Reformed tradition’s committee to the well-being of the society as a whole.
We communicate clearly and constantly with the congregation so everyone feels informed and invited to participate and stay informed; and so our decisions or policies are transparent and widely understood.
We stay connected with our graduating youth and young adults in a variety of ways, including invitations to serve on committees, the diaconate, and the Session.
We place a priority on developing new leaders by identifying and encouraging the gifts of newer participants and members, inviting them into helping with various events or activities, serving on committees, and sharing their gifts in worship.
We keep our committees active and fully engaged, particularly connecting to individuals who have indicated an interest in working with a particular group or committee so that our ministries are infused with new people and ideas.
We value the arts and infuse our worship and ministries with an emphasis on the arts.
We invest in maintaining and upgrading our physical building and grounds so that they are welcoming, safe, and inviting spaces for our own members or participants as well as the community around us.