Westminster’s History: A Brief Sketch
The Presbytery of Nashville established Moore Memorial Presbyterian Church, which was later renamed Westminster Presbyterian Church, on November 23, 1873. The charter was granted to 45 members, most of whom came from First Presbyterian Church. They named the new church for their beloved former pastor, Dr. Thomas Verner Moore, who died two years earlier.
During 1871, the First Presbyterian Church had sent a deacon and four young women to survey the growing area on the western edge of the city and determine whether a church was needed there. They clearly saw a need for a Sunday School, and this was begun on October 21, 1871. It was located in a small building in the back yard of a home at the corner of McGavock and McNairy (Twelfth Avenue).
The Sunday School was so successful that the church was established two years later, and a handsome structure was built at 1507-09 Broad Street. During the years that followed, Moore Memorial helped establish other churches in new sections of the city. In time, however, the neighborhood around Moore Memorial became increasingly commercial, and it became apparent that its future life required a change in location. In 1935, the congregation voted to move.
Despite the economic difficulties of the times, within a year the courageous congregation had purchased our present site at 3900 West End Avenue. It then raised enough funds to begin work on the first phase of a handsome colonial sanctuary that was occupied, although incomplete, on September 10, 1939. A small home nearby was purchased for use as the Sunday School.
Soon thereafter, the congregation decided to change the name of Moore Memorial to Westminster.
The 1940’s and 1950’s saw the new church grow in numbers and in service to its membership and the community. In 1947 and 1960, two large additions were completed.
Westminster Presbyterian Church celebrated its centennial in 1973. Many distinguished individuals, including three former pastors of Westminster, participated in a weeklong event. As part of the celebration, the members expressed their gratitude to God by contributing $500,000 to be used in part of the church’s charitable and mission work at home and aboard.
The 1980’s were years of significant growth in church membership and participation level. This growth necessitated a major Capital Campaign in 1983, which resulted in construction of a new two-story education wing, a new music suite, two new organs, a renovation of the Hume Center (for youth), and $500,000 committed to benevolent causes.
Mid-way through the 1990s, in response to continued growth, the church once again undertook a major capital campaign, raising well in excess of $3,000,000. The campaign made possible the addition of classroom space for children and adults, and enlargement of the church parlor, a renovation of Fellowship Hall, the creation of a memorial garden (columbarium), and about $600,000 in mission projects.
In May of 2010, the floodwaters rose in Middle Tennessee. Westminster became a staging ground for flood relief. Westminster’s disaster assistance welcomed thousands of volunteers, repaired hundreds of homes, and spent over $2,700,000 in aid in order to help people recover. Out of our flood relief efforts Westminster Home Connection was born. WHC is a non-profit organization that helps people of modest incomes stay in their homes.
Today, Westminster is over 2,000 members strong and supports a wide variety of ministries through the church and the community, here and overseas, and provides its members many opportunities for service, as well as spiritual growth.