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History of Woods Church

It is hard to say when the first Presbyterian congregation was founded in America. It may have been as early as 1672. In the early 18th century we find the first signs of an inter-congregational structure governed by elders. That first Presbytery was established by Francis Makemie, the "Father of American Presbyterianism." The place and date of that first meeting is not definitely known. Makemie simply wrote that it was "a meeting of ministers for ministerial exercise to consult the most proper measure for advancing religion and propagating Christianity." 

Quite some time passed before Presbyterian-style religion advanced to Severna Park but it eventually came. At the turn of the century, Severna Park (once a peach orchard and tomato farm owned by Grafton Boone) was bought by a development company and parceled into lots. Soon a group of year-round residents wanted to have a local Protestant Church. Frank C. Woods, a retired Baptist minister and, incidentally, a classmate of Woodrow Wilson at Princeton, had moved his family into a new home on the bluff overlooking the Severn River. He offered to head the group and conduct services in the one-room schoolhouse. 

L. Seymour Zimmerman and Rev. Woods went to the Presbytery with their proposal for the founding of a church in Severna Park and it was officially organized on June 23, 1912 as the Severna Park Presbyterian Church. After the death of Rev. Woods in 1943 the church was renamed in his honor. 

Oscar Hatton, head of the development company, donated the land where the original church building was raised (now "The Founders Room"). The church has grown from the original eight members and friends to over 2000 members and many more friends. The buildings and grounds have expanded. The opportunities for mission and ministry seem to grow with each year. Every new member comes with talent to share. 

We have been greatly blessed and much is expected of us.  

Last Published: July 15, 2015 3:35 PM