Photo Courtesy New Hanover County Public Library

Photo Courtesy New Hanover County Public Library

St. Andrew's Presbyterian
1889- 1944

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church was dedicated on June 9, 1889. Reverend Alexander Sprunt, (son of Alexander and Jane Dalziel Sprunt) gave the dedication sermon. A crowd of more than 900 attended the opening ceremony. People sat comfortably in cherry and crimson plush opera chairs, which added to the beauty and comfort of the new building. Mrs. Alexander Sprunt donated the carpets. Although there was some anxiety over the building's acoustics, the sound quality in the church was described then—as it is now—as perfect.

 

The church was and exists today as a large, gable-front, brick structure in the Victorian Gothic style, with asymmetrical corner towers flanking a tall, pointed arch containing four lancet windows and wheel window, with smaller windows at two levels between the central opening and the towers. A stone disk with the legend “St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church – 1888” contained therein is centered in the lower portion of the gable. The buttressed side elevations are seven bays wide—including the corner towers, eastern transepts, and an entrance porch—and are centered along Campbell Street. The roofs are pierced on each side by two triangular louvered gables. Two of the stained glass windows in the church were given in memory of Jane Dalziel Sprunt and Julia Fillyaw. The windows were produced in Munich, Germany. A low pyramidal roof has replaced the original spire atop the northwest tower. The sanctuary seating capacity was estimated at 800 people, and the attached annex could hold 225.

Although there was some anxiety over the building's acoustics, the sound quality in the church was described then--as it is now--as perfect.

 

Church membership skyrocketed upon completion of the new church and the arrival of Reverend McClure in 1891. St. Andrew's became a spiritual beacon for the surrounding neighborhood, creating many organizations aimed at helping the community's unfortunate. The Church Aid Society, run by the women of St. Andrew's, worked hard at helping the poorest members of the congregation as well as at improving the church property, which needed constant upkeep to avoid damage. Another group, called the Circle of King's Daughters, donated time and service to the orphans' home. There was also a Ladies Foreign Missionary Society and a Children's Society called “Earnest Workers.”

In 1906, a new pipe organ, hand built by Henry Pilcher, of Louisville, Kentucky, was installed across the east wall of the sanctuary. The Andrew Carnegie Foundation and Wilmington businessman Thomas B. Bagley donated the organ to St. Andrew’s. The organ remained a contributing factor to the sanctuary's beauty until 1976, when it was moved to Westminster Presbyterian Church.

The Fourth Street church grew in 1910, when additions to the Sunday School behind the sanctuary were completed. The Memorial Hall Annex, as it was called, was donated by William H. Sprunt, in loving memory of his parents—Alexander Sprunt and Jane Dalziel Sprunt—and the founding charter members of the original Second Presbyterian Church.

   The Rev. A. D. McClure, D. D. at his desk in the Manse, 1915  Photo Courtesy New Hanover Library, McClure Collection

The Rev. A. D. McClure, D. D.
at his desk in the Manse, 1915

Photo Courtesy New Hanover Library, McClure Collection

Reverend McClure served as pastor of St. Andrew's until his death in 1920, marking a time of a citywide mourning. His accomplishments in both his congregation and Wilmington were recognized in 1926, when William H. Sprunt donated funds to erect the McClure Memorial Presbyterian Church in the nearby Castle Hayne district. At the dedication for the new church, the congregation sang The Church's One Foundation, paying tribute to the support of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church.

By the late 1930s, the congregation on Fourth and Campbell streets began to feel distanced from the majority of the Presbyterians in Wilmington. Most of the congregation lived further away from the church, closer to Market and 15th streets, where The Church of the Covenant was already established.

St. Andrew's became a spiritual beacon for the surrounding neighborhood, creating many organizations aimed at helping the community's unfortunate.

The Church of the Covenant was conceived as early as 1902, when the ruling elders of First Presbyterian Church on South 3rd Street decided another branch was needed in the eastern part of the city. Land was purchased at the corner of 15th and Market streets in 1911, and by 1917 the cornerstone of the structure had been set. Most of the funds for the church's sanctuary were donated by a familiar St. Andrew's name—the Sprunt family. The church was dedicated in January of 1918, with Reverend McClure—among several other ministers—giving the opening sermons. By 1944, the distance between the congregations, coupled with the mounting repair costs for St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, persuaded the St. Andrew's congregation to merge with The Church of the Covenant, joining the two as St. Andrew's-Covenant Presbyterian Church.

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church was sold to a smaller congregation, and, so, the church building on Fourth and Campbell streets entered into a new era under a different name: The First Pentecostal Holiness Church.

 
 

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1944- 1964 Holiness Church