ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — A local church situated at 119 W. F St. will celebrate nearly two and a half centuries of worship services next month.

First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton began as church services at Fort Watauga 240 years ago, according to a news release from the congregation. One of these services in 1782 had been led by Rev. Samuel Houston, the uncle of Sam Houston, who served as the Republic of Texas’ first and third president.

“Sometime prior to 1835, the congregation in Elizabethton sensed the need for a new church building and constructed the beautiful brick structure, which still stands on Main Street,” the church’s history web page reveals. “In this building, the Presbyterians of Elizabethton worshipped God and experienced with the entire country the agonies and ecstasies of nationhood.”

To celebrate its 240th anniversary, Elizabethton’s First Presbyterian Church announced an outdoor service at Sycamore Shoals State Park on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 11 a.m. The park is home to what was once Revolutionary War Fort Watauga, where the preachings began in the late 1700s.

Dr. Paul Gabinet, a church elder and 2022 Holston Presbytery Moderator, will speak at the service to share the church’s history, and singer-musicians Jim and Cheri Miller, Roddy Bird and Joan Denny will provide music along with the church’s chancel choir ensemble.

Attendees will enjoy a free barbecue picnic lunch at the park’s pavilions after the service. In case of rain, the entire service will take place at the pavilions. Those attending should reserve meals by calling 423-543-7737.

First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton recognizes itself as a progressive Christian congregation that uses science in its teachings. The church opens its doors to all races, faiths, sexual orientations and gender identities, according to its website.

For more information, click here or contact Gabinet by emailing paulggabinet@gmail.com.