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Cumberland Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
a.k.a.: Cumberland Church; Old Cumberland Church
Our Mission: "To equip members for ministry in God's church and our mission in the community . . . to bring people to Jesus and membership in His church family by our obedience to Christ."
For over 250 years Cumberland Church has served her community and cast her influence in all directions. The church was formally organized as a Presbyterian Church in 1754, but there is evidence to show that a church (in reality, if not in name or organization) existed much earlier. In the winter of 1742-43 the Presbytery of New Castle (Delaware) sent the Rev. William Robinson as an evangelist to the Presbyterian settlement in Virginia, on the south side of the James River. This shows that there were Presbyterians in this vicinity at least 11 years prior to the official organization of Cumberland Church. Rev. Robinson was arrested in 1743 by the sheriff of Orange County and was sent to Williamsburg to answer to the Governor for preaching in Virginia without a license. Rev. Robinson is known to have visited the Cumberland group in that year. In the year 1748, the Rev. Samuel Davies, who often preached to the group in Cumberland, applied to the governor and Council of Virginia for a license to preach in Cumberland. Permission for the "dissenters" (as Presbyterians were called) to preach in "meeting houses" was not easy to get and permission was denied. Permission was eventually granted in 1754 to Rev. Davies, the organizing pastor of the church, partly to encourage frontier settlements which would act as a buffer against Indian raids.
In 1755 historic Hanover Presbytery, which then included Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and parts of North Carolina, was organized in the Old Cumberland Church meeting house. Old Cumberland Church was one of the founders of Hampden-Sydney College; her third pastor, Samuel Smith, became the first President of Hampden-Sydney College in 1776.
The Civil War came to the church's doorstep in April of 1865. Tradition has it that Generals Lee and Longstreet were conferring in the sanctuary when the first message from General Grant was received suggesting the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. Lee read the letter and then passed it to Longstreet , who read it and passed it back saying "not yet"! A day or so later, on April 7, 1865 a sharp engagement between Federal forces and rear guard Confederate forces â€œThe Battle of Cumberland Churchâ€ occurred near the church.
Dr. J. D. Eggleston, writing in the Farmville Herald, May 24, 1934, sums up the history of Cumberland Church thus:
Old Cumberland Church: In which Hanover Presbytery
was organized; a country church; one of the founders
of Hampden-Sydney College; mother of College Church,
Cartersville Church, Farmville Church, Centre
Church,Providence Church (Powhatan Co.), Brown's
Church, and Guinea Church; the co-founder of churches
in Buckingham county; the grandmother of Jamestown
Church. Under her faithful teachings hundreds have
been led to the Lord Jesus Christ, and have gone forth
into this and other states, and into foreign countries,
to enrich their communities by faithful and fruitful
The historical marker at the entrance to Cumberland Church was unveiled and dedicated on Sunday, November 21, 1993. In the spring of 1995 a kiosk was completed on land donated by the church. The kiosk, near the entrance to the church, is part of a six county "Driving Tour of Lee's Retreat" that centers around the last battles of the Civil War.
It is evident that Cumberland Presbyterian Church is rich in history. For over 250 years her "children" have gone out into the world in faithful service to the Lord, many as pastors or missionaries.
God graciously continues to lead, strengthen and bless the members of Cumberland Presbyterian Church into the twenty-first century. Services are held every Sunday from 11:15 a.m. to noon. Sunday school - 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. with a time of fellowship between. Children are a special part of our worship service and are invited to come forward for the Children's Sermon during our Young Disciples time. Those children who wish may attend Kid's Church following the Children's Sermon.
Weekly events include: Mission Work- Tuesdays starting at
10 a.m.; Bible Study - Thursdays at 6 p.m.; Choir
Practice - Thursdays at 7 p.m.
Monthly events include: Presbyterian Women's Meeting and
Bible Study- every 3rd Tuesday beginning at noon with
covered-dish luncheon - meeting at 1 p.m.; CPF-Now
(family gathering) every 2nd Wednesday at 6 p.m.;
Covered-dish Luncheon - every 4th Sunday following service
NOTE: Some historical facts summarized from church histories written by Rev. F. Sidney Anderson, Jr. and Dr. J. D. Eggleston.
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