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Our History

Worshiping and serving the God we love

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The First Presbyterian Church of Howard County

was organized back in 1839 as First Presbyterian Church (Ellicott City). What started with a covenant group of 23 people has grown to a present church family of over 500 members. Carrying through all those years, the goals of the original 23 remain: to worship and serve the God we love.

In 1837 the Thistle Mill (present day Ilchester area) was managed by George Kerr,

a Presbyterian elder. He cared deeply for the spiritual life of mill workers and established a Sunday School for them. In just two years, the Sunday school had grown substantially showing that the local people needed and wanted a home for worship and service. The Presbytery of Baltimore organized the Ellicott City Presbyterian church with 23 members in 1839. The Ellicott City location served people in all the mill towns of the Patapsco River: Thistle Mills, Ellicott Mills, and Union Mills (Oella); as well as people living along Frederick Road, the main road going West. A small, stone building was used from the 1840s until a larger building was built in 1894. That building still stands next to the Court House in Ellicott City and today is the home of the Howard County Historical Society.

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Committed to reaching people in a growing county,

the church relocated into what was then rural Howard County near the two-lane road leading to Washington, D.C. (Route 29). The new building on Route 108 was dedicated on Christmas 1959 with many new members from Howard County. The church changed its name from First Presbyterian Church (Ellicott City) to “The First Presbyterian Church of Howard County” to reflect the wider area of ministry. With the founding of Columbia in 1967, the ministry and service of the church has grown. Building programs were carried out in 1969, 1980 (the Sanctuary), 2000 and in 2011 (the Harris Commons), resulting in the present facility. The Memorial Garden in the front of the church was added in 2016.

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