Our History

Independent Presbyterian Church

Independent Presbyterian Church History

When Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC) was founded in 1915 in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Henry Edmonds held that beauty in God's created world, expressed in physical symbols, reflected "God's love of man, and man's love of God." The purpose of IPC is to encourage the whole being in its search for God manifested in the use of beauty in every form and in human helpfulness.

During the first seven years, under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Henry M. Edmonds, our new congregation worshiped in a Jewish synagogue, Temple Emanu-El, and also held evening services in downtown Birmingham's Lyric Theatre. As IPC was proclaiming God's love in temple, theatre, the Christian Education building and finally the new sanctuary, God was still speaking. And the congregation of IPC heard the mission call to take the Gospel out into the community.

Independent Presbyterian Church Timeline

1915 Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC) is founded when members of South Highland Presbyterian withdraw to form a new independent church dedicated to the proclamation of the gospel through a ministry of community service. It soon affiliates with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

1922 Our first services are held in the newly constructed Education Building.

1923 The Women of IPC undertake the Children’s Fresh Air Farm to share as partners in Christ’s service by helping and nurturing under-served children in our area.

1926 The Sanctuary is completed and dedicated on Good Friday, April 2, 1926.

1915-42 Dr. Edmonds’ 27 year tenure as the first pastor is highlighted by his strong leadership of a multi-faceted social service program, a successful building program, and productive internal development.

1942-47 Dr. Clark Neale Edwards serves as second pastor during the war years.

1948-66 Dr. John N. Lukens of Cincinnati serves IPC as the third pastor.

1960 The Ireland Fund (inspires the IPC Foundation Fund) is established. Today, through the generosity of Orlean and Ralph Beeson and many others, endowment funds support outreach opportunities locally and globally.

1964-98 Joseph W. Schreiber becomes organist and choirmaster. His choir gains national and international recognition.

1967-95 Dr. M. Scott McClure becomes IPC’s fourth minister. Membership grows from about 900 to 2,300. Dr. McClure moves IPC into the modern era involving many of the membership in church and community activities.

1992 An April 8, 1992 fire ravages the church campus. It spares the sanctuary and chapel. Temple Emanu-El again extends use its facility until our sanctuary is cleaned.

1995-98 Interim minister Dr. Morgan Roberts assists the church in its transition from Dr. McClure’s long tenure

1998-2000 Dr. Patrick Allen serves for 18 months as organist and choirmaster.

1998-2004 Dr. James L. Carter serves as IPC’s fifth minister.

2000 Dr. Jeff McLelland is called to serve as organist and choirmaster.

2004-05 Dr. Jerry Shetler serves as interim pastor at IPC.

2006 Dr. Conrad Sharps is called to serve as the sixth pastor in the IPC pulpit.

2011 IPC purchases the church property next door at 3116 Highland Avenue (now Highland Hall). This additional space provides an opportunity for growth, mission and ministry

2011-12 Major repairs are made to the sanctuary. A new Dobson Pipe Organ, the Joseph Schreiber Memorial Organ, is installed and dedicated.

2013 IPC begins Sunday evening worship service in Highland Hall.

2015 IPC is enjoying a year of community activities, spiritual growth, and service in celebrating its first 100 years.

2015  Dr. William J. Carl III is called to serve as the seventh pastor in the IPC pulpit. 

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