Eastminster's History

In early 1966, the Presybtery’s Church Extension Planning Committee, under the direction of Dr. George Smith, purchased a six-acre tract of land in what is now the Smoke Rise community. The purpose of this purchase was to establish a Presbyterian church in this growing area. However, the first service of worship on the property did not occur until May of 1967.

Before worship services began on the building site of EPC (in the Green Cathedral), services were conducted in the Activities Field Building at Stone Mountain Park. Forty to fifty people attended these early meetings of the church. The congregation sang their first hymn (Rock of Ages) within view of Stone Mountain. Rev. Cecil Thompson, Professor of Evangelism and Missions at Columbia Theological Seminary, served as the organizing pastor.

Prior to construction of the first building, a large sign on Hugh Howell Road notified drivers of the developing church. The sign generated many inquiries from within the Smoke Rise area and from developing areas outside of Smoke Rise. The fact that the church was generating interest from beyond Smoke Rise, led the early leaders to seek a name that did not include “Smoke Rise.”

God’s vision for the church took form on May 14, 1967. On that day, thirty-six people from sixteen different families became the charter members of the newly formed Eastminster Presbyterian Church. For the next year, the growing congregation moved its place of worship to the basement of the Tucker Federal Bank Building, with Dr. Eugene Witherspoon as supply pastor.

The first Eastminster sanctuary was completed in September of 1968. The church also called Dr. Robert L. Ashworth as its first full-time pastor in June of that year. Dr. Ashworth’s first sermon, entitled “Fruits of the Spirit,” was given on Pentecost Sunday. Dr. Ashworth offered this prayer. The prayer remains relevant today, “…May it be our prayer that God’s Spirit will move among us and develop these ‘Fruits’ in our lives.”

Charter Members
Mrs. James E. Carroll
Mr. and Mrs. R.P. Conway (Tom, Jeff, and Beth)
Mr. and Mrs. W. Davis Haslett
Mr. and Mrs. W.D. Haslett, Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. W.E. Hicks
Mrs. D. Wayne McMillan
Mr. and Mrs. Harry Pipkin, Jr. (Joy, joined February 4, 1968)
Mr. and Mrs. Edwin C. Perry (Sandra and Beverly)
Mrs. C.O. Richey
Mr. and Mrs. J. Lawson Shelfer (Pamela and Ann)
Mr. and Mrs. R. Gordon Smith
Mrs. W.L. Stowe
Mrs. Kenneth W. Twigg
Mr. and Mrs. John N. Yandell, Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen J. Yeagel
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Zegel (John and Susan, by profession of faith)