A Brief History of The Presbytery of The Peaks


The Presbytery of the Peaks includes 122 churches, spanning parts of Central Virginia, Southside, the New River Valley, and Allegheny Highlands. Though its antecedent presbyteries had their origin in some cases as far back as the 18th century, Peaks was created in 1989 as a result of the 1983 reunion of the Presbyterian Church, US, and the United Presbyterian Church, USA.

In whole or in part, congregations from Southern Virginia Presbytery (UPCUSA), Fincastle Presbytery (PCUS) and Blue Ridge Presbytery (PCUS) came together 121 years after the division arising from the American Civil War. Each of these presbyteries came into this union with its own rich history of mission. The oldest congregation, Old Concord Presbyterian Church in Spout Spring, was founded in 1735. The most recent congregation, Forest Presbyterian Church in Forest, was planted in 1998 in the burgeoning suburbs west of Lynchburg. Several African-American congregations owe their origin to Presbyterian mission work among the newly freed slaves in the post Civil War era. Three of the “rock” churches, established in the depression years of the 20th century by pastor/evangelist Bob Childress, the “man who moved a mountain,” continue to carry out ministry along the crest of the Blue Ridge.

International Mission Work

The presbytery’s work in international mission in Haiti and Central America, involving annual study/travel exchanges, sister church relationships, and mutual sharing of gifts has enriched the life of many of our congregations over the last twenty-five years. Some 100 of Peak’s 122 congregations number fewer than 100 members, yet large city congregations are to be found in Roanoke, Lynchburg, Martinsville, and Danville. As the Presbytery faces the challenges of the new century, it declares its mission is to enhance, equip and empower congregations and leaders to become bold servants of transformation for the glory of the Triune God.