College Hill Presbyterian Church
|Location||College Hill Rd, Oxford, Mississippi|
|Area||1.9 acres (0.77 ha)|
|Architectural style||Greek Revival|
|NRHP Reference #|||
|Added to NRHP||November 13, 1979|
College Hill Presbyterian Church, located just outside Oxford, Mississippi at College Hill, is an historic church and a member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This fellowship of Christians was organized as a local church on January 11, 1835, in the home of Alexander Shaw, one of the early Scot-Irish settlers in North Mississippi. Originally the church was named Neriah Church, but shortly thereafter it was redesignated Ebenezer Church.
In 1836 members migrated to this area and on January 11, 1841, the church was renamed College Presbyterian Church in recognition of the founding of the North Mississippi College. In 1842 the congregation paid $400 for 23 acres (93,000 m2) on which to construct a public place of worship. The sanctuary, built in 1844 under the direction of Francis Timmons, is the oldest Presbyterian structure in North Mississippi and the oldest church building of any denomination in the Oxford area. Constructed of bricks fired on the site, the building was completed in 1846 at a total cost of $2,809,75. The pulpit, the pews, and the pew gates are the original furnishings.
Events of interest include the encampment of these grounds by Union troops of General Grant and General Sherman, and the marriage of author William Faulkner. The church is thought to be the model for some settings in Faulkner's novels. The church cemetery contains a number of unmarked Union soldiers' burial sites. The Session's original minutes, dating back to the 1835 organizational meeting, are safeguarded in a local bank.
In more recent times, the ministry of the church began an outreach to the students of the nearby University of Mississippi under the pastor Jack C. Oates [need dates] while he was a graduate student and part-time pastor at College Hill Presbyterian along with two other churches, Hopewell Presbyterian and Abbeville Presbyterian, comprising a three church field under the auspices at that time of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. denomination.
The ministry continued to grow while Tom Tyndall served as pastor to the three church field, then just to College Hill Church from 1973-78. In the summer of 1977 the PCUSA cited the church's outreach to students as one of two outstanding small church ministries in the denomination. Under both Jack Oates and Tom Tyndall, the church held "Christian Life Conferences" that featured well-known Christian scholars speaking both to the church and invited to speak at various classes held on the campus of Ole Miss.