Highlawn Presbyterian Church first began as a mission Sunday School sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church, meeting on the second floor of the original Highlawn Pharmacy building on 3rd Avenue and 26th Street as early as 1910. Twenty-one persons petitioned Highlawn Presbyterian Church began as a Sunday School mission from First Presbyterian Church of Huntington in 1910. They met on the second floor of the original Highlawn Pharmacy on 3rd Avenue and 26th Street. A group of 21 people petitioned the Kanawha Presbytery to form the Third Presbyterian Church on October 9, 1913.
In 1919, the congregation called Rev. W.P. Hooper to be minister and he served until 1951. Under his leadership the church grew rapidly and the name was changed to Highlawn Presbyterian. It was during this time that plans were undertaken to construct a new sanctuary and find a new location—2814 Collis Avenue—which is our current site.
The church experienced significant growth in the years following and the education building was constructed in 1954 to accommodate the larger membership. Rev. Albert J. Conley was pastor at this time and continued through 1963. Reverend S. Evans Brown followed as minister from 1964-1970.
The year 1971 was a time of new beginnings for Highlawn. The sanctuary was remodeled to accommodate a new or- gan and a larger choir loft and Dr. R. Jackson Haga was called to be pastor. Dr. Haga served until 2001.
In 2003, Rev. Mark McCalla was called to HPC with enthusiasm and a heart for mission and service. Unfortunately, his call to serve the congregation was interrupted on June 19, 2008 when two army deserters came upon him at Beech Fork State Park rifle range and killed him. Both men are currently serving life sentences. It was a tremendous loss to the congregation and community. As in past times of grief and heartache, HPC pulled together in support of the McCalla family and each other. The church participated in a Habitat for Humanity build to honor the McCalla family and continue in many of the mission programs and outreach that Mark supported during his time with us.
The West Virginia Presbytery asked Dr. Rick Wilson, a Presbyterian pastoral counselor in Huntington, to work with the congregation in their grief and loss. He became temporary Session Moderator for two years as the church searched for a pastor in keeping with God's will. As it turned out, Rick had been grappling with a sense of call to become pastor at HPC during this time and eventually spoke to the search committee about the position. He was installed September, 2010.
We celebrated our 100th anniversary in October 2013 and performed renovations to our sanctuary. In August 2015, an electrical fire damaged a stairwell in the sanctuary and caused smoke damage throughout the entire church facility. An $850,000 renovation took place and several upgrades were accomplished as well. In the midst of this challenge, the congregation pulled together and continued our mission—just as before.
HPC also has a rich history in the Highlawn neighborhood of Huntington. The church partners with Highlawn Elementary School in many ways and representatives of the church attend the Highlawn Neighborhood Association meetings. An annual Work Camp brings 160 people together for a week during the summer to repair homes in Cabell and Lincoln County. The church serves in many other mission projects in our community and oversees.
Highlawn Presbyterian Church is over 100 years old and prays to continue Christ's mission and ministry for many years to come.