History

Grace Presbytery is a council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) comprised of churches in central and northeast Texas that has its roots in prior presbyteries of the following different Presbyterian denominations in Texas:

Presbyterian Church in the United States of America

Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS)

United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (UPCUSA)

Cumberland Presbyterian Church

Presbytery History

In the 1970s, Covenant Presbytery (PCUS) and Trinity Presbytery (UPCUSA) had been working jointly in mission due to similar geography boundaries. Based on this experience, the two presbyteries went a step further and formed a union presbytery. On January 4, 1979, central and northeast Texas Presbyterians gathered at First Presbyterian Church in Dallas to constitute Grace Union Presbytery. The presbytery’s name changed again in 1983 by dropping the word, “Union,” when the Presbyterian Church in the United States and the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America merged.

From the Preamble, Plan of Union and Covenants in 1979:

[The common origin source for all these denominations was the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, whose first General Assembly was constituted at Philadelphia on May 24, 1789.]

From this parent body most Presbyterians west of the Allegheny Mountains withdrew in 1810 to form the Cumberland Presbyterians Church, a denomination whose mission was to carry the Gospel to the expanding western frontier. It was this denomination which began Presbyterian witness in Texas in 1827 in an area along the Red River in northeast Texas which is encompassed by this new presbytery. On November 27, 1837, the Texas Presbytery was organized with three ministers and four churches, and in March of 1843 the Cumberland Presbyterian Synod of Texas was organized with the three presbyteries: Texas, Red River, and Colorado.

Along the Brazos River in Central Texas and also in far east Texas the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, principally due to the sponsorship and benevolence of its Synod of Mississippi, began missionary work in 1833. On April 3, 1840, the Presbytery of Texas (of the Synod of Mississippi) was organized with four ministers and five churches. The Synod of Texas was organized in October of 1851 with three presbyteries: Western Texas, Eastern Texas, and Brazos. The Churches prospered, and in 1854 the northern portion of Brazos Presbytery was organized into a separate Presbytery of Central Texas. In 1862 almost all of the churches in these four presbyteries became constituents of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America. Following the Civil War this body became the Presbyterian Church in the United States, of which the Presbytery of the Covenant is a member.

The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America regained presence and witness in Texas when the Presbytery of Austin was organized on July 16, 1868, with three ministers and three churches. In 1875, the Synod of Texas (now there were three) was organized with three presbyteries: Austin, Trinity, and North Texas. A vigorous program of mission was begun, and numerous churches were organized across Texas. By 1906, the frontier mission of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was completed, and it reunited with its mother church. This greatly strengthened the presence of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America in Texas. In 1958 this denomination merged with the United Presbyterian Church of North America to form the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, of which the Presbytery of Trinity is a member.