Statement of Purpose
The congregation of the Hancock Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was founded to glorify and worship God and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we respond to God's amazing grace in Christ Jesus to build His Kingdom by loving our neighbors, reaching out to those in need of a helping hand, fellowship, and prayer in our Tri-State area, our country, and our world.
Statement of Vision
Each of us as individuals, and together as a community of faith, seek to continue to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord, to live out our Statement of Purpose. We seek God's guidance to open our hearts, minds and lives to the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit while staying true to our reformed beliefs and traditions.
Who We Are
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a long history. We are part of the Christian family called Reformed churches. Our roots go back to the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation. Branches of the Reformation churches include Lutherans, Anabaptist (today’s Baptists, Mennonites, and others), and Presbyterians. Our name, Presbyterian, comes from our form of Church government. We are ruled by elders: presbuteros. Ruling Elders (RE) are elected by the congregation, ordained and installed. Ruling Elders constitute the Session, along with a Teaching Elder (TE) or pastor who is also called by the congregation, ordained, and installed.
Our present Session consists of these Ruling Elders (RE) with their year of election/ordination/installation: Steve Douglas (1980), Nancy Ingram (2007), Jeff Ward (1991), Nancy Younker (1988), and Alice Gerber (2005) who also serves as Treasurer. Ruling Elders may serve up to two consecutive three-year terms.
Hancock Presbyterian Church, its Session and its congregation are Tri-State. Hancock is located at the narrowest part of Maryland—only 1.8 miles from the Pennsylvania and West Virginia borders. Pastor Terry and Carl & Nancy Younker live in Pennsylvania; Jeff & Mary Ward live in West Virginia; Alice Gerber and Steve Douglas live in Hancock, Maryland.
The Beginning of Hancock Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
As early as October, 1787, Presbyterians around Hancock Town requested the Presbytery of Carlisle (the closest denominational entity) for a pastor. The Presbytery appointed the Reverends Mr. King, Mr. Black and Mr. Caldwell to supply, each a day, at “Hancock Town”. The following April the Reverend Mr. McPherrin was appointed to supply at his discretion. The Hancock Town Presbyterians continued to be supplied in this way for almost half a century. [Hancock Presbyterian Church information from an article contributed by Mrs. Blanche Hollenshead, 1971, and a Brief History Sketch of Hancock Presbyterian Church gathered for its 150th Anniversary, 1991.]
Hancock Town grew with the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which ran from Georgetown in Washington D.C. to Cumberland, MD, a total of 184.5 miles. Reaching Hancock by 1839, wharves extended from the various warehouses to take trade directly to or from the canal boats. While digging the C&O Canal, argillaceous magnesium limestone was discovered about three miles west of Hancock. A mill was constructed on the site (circa 1838-39). It operated as Shafer’s Cement Mill, and later as Round Top Cement and by the Civil War it was Hancock’s largest employer. [Round Top Cement Mill by C. Kinneary via Hancock Historical Society.]
During these years, the Hancock Presbyterians continued their request to the Presbytery of Carlisle to establish a Church in the town of Hancock. Meanwhile the congregation was served by a long-line of itinerate preachers: the Reverend James Baber, an evangelist and a member of the Presbytery of Lexington, Virginia, 1826-1829; the Reverend Robert Kennedy who preached frequently at Hancock Church during his ministry to the churches in McConnellsburg and Fort Loudon in c.1833; and the Reverend Mr. Scott.
EstablishedJune 19, 1841
Finally, acquiescing with the Church’s request, the Presbytery of Carlisle organized the Hancock Presbyterian Church on June 19, 1841 with a membership of 16. The Reverend Dr. Thomas Creigh [Pastor of nearby Presbyterian Church of the Upper West Conococheague, Mercersburg, PA] and the Reverend Mr. Jonathan Dickerson acted as the Presbytery committee of organization. According to the Session Record of the Hancock Presbyterian Church:
“This Church was Organized on the Nineteenth of June AD one thousand eight hundred and forty-one by Rev. Jonathan Dickinson and Rev. T. Creigh, a committee of the Presbytery of Carlisle appointed for that purpose. At this time David Neil was chosen and ordained ruling Elder. Since which time the ministry of the Gospel has been maintained agreeably to its original design and form of worship. Have no records of the Church or of the doings of the Session are in existence prior to this date. The members who are mentioned are as follows . . . Cap. John Johnson, Isabella Johnson, Rebecca W. Lanahan, Sarah B. Presley, Martha Bowles, Mary Fortney, Priscilla M. Ferran, Robert F. Bridges, Rebecca Bridges, Mary F. Brown, David Neil, Ellen Neil, Jane Steele, Robert Bennett, Agnes Bennett, Martha Davison.”
The first local Teaching Elder/Minister was the Reverend J. O. Proctor who served the Church from 1844 to1852. In 1841, David Neil was chosen and ordained Ruling Elder. Listed by most Hancock Presbyterian Church’s historical sites, among the first Ruling Elders elected in 1845 were Robert Fergusson Bridges, Robert Wason, and James H. Hughes, Esq. These Ruling Elders and all who follow began a legacy of Ruling Elders (RE) who served and are serving the people of Hancock Presbyterian Church with "energy, intelligence, imagination, and love." [Book of Order, PCUSA
REMEMBERING AND CELEBRATING OUR VETERANS
We celebrate Veterans Day Sunday and Memorial Day Sunday with worship and an amazing Hancock Church Family Veteran Display! We thank all the men and women who have served and continue to serve their country and the families who support them. The Hancock Church Family Veterans Display is located in our Church Social Hall. We welcome additional photographs. If you would like to include a photograph of your military family member, please contact Pastor Terry. All original photographs will be scanned and returned to you.