Small Enough to Know You
Large Enough to Serve You
Marshall Cumberland Presbyterian Church
The Cumberland Presbyterian denomination had its beginning when a small group of ministers and congregations on February 4, 1810 left the Presbyterian Church and formed a new presbytery (known as the Cumberland Presbytery) on the frontier lands of Kentucky and Tennessee (founding cabin pictured at right). The separation was due to disagreements on education and ordination of ministers, interpretations of the doctrine of predestination, and the proper response to the revival on the frontier in the early 1800’s. Cumberland Presbyterians believed in salvation for “whosoever will” believe, embraced the revival on the frontier and wanted to expedite the education and ordination of new pastors to do the work of sharing the Good News of Christ. Their fervor quickly spread westward to the state of Missouri and beyond.
Marshall (Missouri) Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized August 16, 1871 when a group of 17 people began meeting in a small frame house in west Marshall. In 1884, Rev. James E. Sharp became the pastor of the church and launched a pair of ambitious building projects: the first was the establishment of Missouri Valley College in Marshall (1889) and the second was the building of a new church (1890) on Odell Street (which was known first as the “Cumberland Presbyterian Church” and more recently was known as “Odell Avenue Presbyterian Church”).
In the early 1900’s--after nearly a century of separation--a movement to re-unite the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. grew in momentum. Many of the differences which had separated the two groups during the frontier days of American expansion seemed to have disappeared with the settling of the West and the end of the frontier. Both denominations voted in their General Assemblies of 1906 to seek union. Many congregations, however, including Marshall Cumberland Presbyterian Church, were fiercely divided on the issue of union. The result of the union debate was a large number of the membership (164 persons) withdrew from the older church to maintain a Cumberland Presbyterian congregation in Marshall.
With no legal claim to their old building—which now became Odell Avenue Presbyterian Church *—the Cumberland members held services in homes and various halls in the downtown Marshall area until a stucco church building could be built (in 1916) at the corner of North Street and Odell (across from the current Marshall Cinema building). Due to the lack of parking space, the many steep steps, and the condition of the building, a decision was made in 1972 to sell the building and build a new church at 1000 S. Miami (our current location). The new building incorporated the stained glass windows and light fixtures of the old church in its design. An inaugural worship service was held there on December 10, 1972. Our current pastor, Randy Shannon, is the twenty sixth pastor since the 1906 union was rejected.
*The Odell Avenue Presbyterian Church was abandoned when the congregation built a new building on East Yerby Street in Marshall and adopted the name Covenant Presbyterian Church. After serving as the license bureau and an automotive parts building the original brick building was destroyed by fire in the 1980's.
ABOVE: The Cumberland Presbyterian Church (stucco) built in 1916 on the corner of North Street and Odell in Marshall.