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Humble Beginnings

1874 Building

It was 1874, less than a decade after the Civil War. The President’s name was Grant. In an agricultural community in northeast Georgia, a new Presbyterian church was organized along the strategic “Old Federal Road” in Chestnut Mountain, Hall County, about 10 miles south of Gainesville.

Beginning with 11 charter members, CMPC has experienced the faithfulness of God over the last 132 years and has grown into a church with more than 600 members. During CMPC’s first 80 years, 27 pastors served on a part-time basis. During those years, the congregation worshipped in a white-clapboard structure built at a cost of $420.00 in 1874. Thirty-nine people had pledged $460.00 to plant the church. In 1945 CMPC organized its first daily Vacation Bible School where 25 children attended. CMPC women held their first meeting in 1953, and a Junior Pioneer Youth Fellowship group was organized the same year with 20 young people. Today, nearly 200 children attend our VBS and nearly 300 youth participate in Wednesday Night Activities.

Growing in Grace

1954 Building

The church called its first full-time pastor, Rev. Matthew McGowan, in 1954. Under his direction, CMPC constructed its second building. During the next 33 years seven other men served as full-time pastors.  CMPC joined the new Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) in 1973.

CMPC held its first annual Missions Conference in 1974. The goal that year was to raise $5,000 to support world missionaries. God moved in a powerful way, and more than $20,000 was pledged, enabling the church to support 11 missionaries. CMPC has developed a very active global mission focus and today, our annual Mission Faith Promise totals more than $412,000 and we support 60 missionaries in 21 countries. Many of our members, including numerous teenagers, participate in yearly mission journeys to Asia, Europe and North and South America. In 1981, a number of people were beginning to drive from Gainesville to Chestnut Mountain in order to be a part of a PCA church. Seeing a great opportunity, CMPC planted a daughter church, Westminster Presbyterian Church, in Gainesville.


In 1987, John Batusic was called to be our pastor. A graduate of West Virginia University and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, John served at River’s Edge Presbyterian Church in Hopewell, Virginia before coming to CMPC. In 1989, Kennedy Smartt joined the staff as “Chaplain to the Community.” Kennedy was well known to many at CMPC having ministered to us in the past as one of our Mission Conference plenary speakers. He pastored three churches before later serving as Coordinator of Church Relations for Mission to the World (MTW) and Coordinator of Evangelism for Mission to North America (MNA). A founding father of the PCA, Kennedy chronicled his life story and the birth of our denomination in his book I Am Reminded: An Autobiographical, Anecdotal History of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Vision for the Future

1994 Building

As both the congregation and the community grew, the church looked to the future and in 1991, the congregation voted to purchase more than 16 acres at Chestnut Mountain Circle and Highway 53. The church’s new home opened in November 1994. Less than four years later, CMPC would have to enlarge the sanctuary and building a new educational wing. In 1997, Richard MacLagan was called as CMPC’s Minister of Music and Worship. His wife Susan was also hired as our piano accompanist.


In 2002, Sherry Rogers began her valuable ministry as support staff. That same year Dee Hammond came on board as the fourth Minister to Students in CMPC’s history. In late 2004, CMPC called Ben Phillips as her first assistant pastor. In 2006, Mike Owens was called as our first Director of Children’s Ministries.

CMPC celebrated John Batusic’s twentieth anniversary with us in 2007. That same year, Ben Phillips’ call was changed from assistant pastor to associate pastor.

Ministering to the Community

2008 Expansion

In 2008, after 29 years of faithful service as our Preschool Director, Linda Watkins retired. Susan Preston was hired as Preschool Director. Jessica Roth was also hired as our first full-time Youth Ministry Assistant. In February 2008, CMPC completed the first phase of her most recent building expansion. This addition included a new nursery and youth wing and several classrooms. The second phase of our current building project is a Covenant Life Center (CLC) and was completed in October 2008. The CLC was dedicated to the Lord and His purposes during a special combined worship service held in the CLC on October 26th.

In 2012 Becky Lindman became our Preschool Director.

In addition to our commitment to global missions, CMPC is committed to local community outreach and church planting. CMPC has planted three other PCA churches, including Westminster Presbyterian Church in Gainesville, East Lanier Community Church in Flowery Branch and Christ Presbyterian Church in Clarksville. Our community outreach includes in-house ministries as well as Word and Deed partnership projects with local non-profits, such as Habitat for Humanity, Eagle Ranch, Gateway House, and Good News at Noon.

Our mission continues: to glorify and enjoy God through obeying the Great Commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” and the second commandment like it, “love your neighbor as yourself”; displaying that love through obeying the Great Commission by making disciples and equipping God’s people to go out in Chestnut Mountain and around the world so that others may discover the joy, peace and hope that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.