On January 3, 1954, Carmel Presbyterian Church was formally organized in Carmel, California with 70 charter members. The founding pastor, Reverend Dr. Harry Clayton Rogers, had moved out of retirement in San Francisco to Carmel. He was 76 years old at the time he sent this invitation to the 70 charter members:
“You and your friends are invited to be present, Sunday morning, January 3, 1954 at 11 o’clock, at the Carmel Woman’s Club, San Carlos and 9th Street, for the historic and spiritual service of the formal organization of the new church. Dr. Rogers’ first sermon will be ‘It Can Be Done’.”
After purchasing the lots for $37,500 and braving seven public hearings, the Carmel Planning Commission granted a use permit for the property on the corner of Mountain View and Junipero on May 19, 1954. The site was dedicated a month later, followed by the building fund campaign, and, finally, construction in January 1955 by Comstock Associates. The estimated cost to build the original building was $102,870. By then, the church had grown to 200 members who worshipped at the Carmel Woman’s Club during construction. Dr. Rogers presided over a cornerstone-laying ceremony on May 8, 1955 and the sanctuary building was officially dedicated on September 11, 1955. The Friendship Court, featuring stones from religious centers throughout the world, was built alongside the church during this time. A new education building and parking lot were added in 1964.
Dr. Rogers became Pastor Emeritus in October 1955 and Dr. Joseph Marquis Ewing was called to be the new pastor the following month. Dr. George Hunter Hall served from December 1962 to July 1971. Rev. Deanne E. Hendricks took over in December of 1971, followed by Rev. Dr. Harold N. Englund, Rev. Dr. John Snyder andRev. Dr. John Wilson. Rev. Dr. Robert Ohman then served as the interim pastor for over seven years. In 2004, Rev. Dr. Richard Duncan became senior pastor and served through October 2018. Rev. Dr. Tim Yee was the senior pastor from September 3, 2019, to January 1, 2023.
In August 1956, President and Mrs. Dwight Eisenhower worshipped at the newly constructed church at the invitation of Dr. Rogers’ grandchildren (ages 5 & 7). Colonel and Mrs. John Glenn and their family worshipped at CPC on Easter, April 4, 1999.
Over the years, the stained-glass windows, the chancel cross and the carved panels on the church doors were added to the beautiful church setting. While many physical improvements have been made over the years, it is the warm and faithful CPC community that makes this church a light to the Monterey Peninsula and beyond.
Shirin Snyder, wife of pastor John Snyder, spearheaded the creation of a benefit shop with the goal of donating funds to worthy causes and those in need. In 1988, the Yellow Brick Road Benefit Shop was established as a standing sub-committee under the authority of CPC.
An extensive remodel of nearly the entire church was completed in 2014. The remodel included a sanctuary expansion, three large classrooms, a professional-grade kitchen, new bathrooms, a second floor of staff office spaces and a large multipurpose room under the sanctuary.
After many years associated with the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) denomination, CPC became affiliated with ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians in August of 2014.
Today, CPC continues its long history of ministering to children, students and adults of various generations as well as serving people close to home and around the world through many dedicated missionaries, faithful Deacons and the Yellow Brick Road Benefit Shop. The Elders, Covenant Partners, and Staff are excited to see what God has planned for the next season in the history of Carmel Presbyterian Church.
Charter Members outside the Carmel Woman’s Club, where Carmel Presbyterian Church met till the building was completed in September 1955.
Rev. Dr. Harry Clayton Rogers, surrounded by Charter Members, at the ground-breaking of the church building campaign on June 20, 1954.