The story of First-Meridian Heights Presbyterian Church (FMHPC) embraces the history of two churches going back to the founding of the First Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis in 1823.  The following is a brief history.

First Presbyterian Church was founded on July 5,1823.
  • For the merger, they moved from their downtown location into the Meridian Heights building in Meridian-Kessler.
  • First Presbyterian Church admitted their first African-American member in 1827.
  • First Presbyterian Church members included President Benjamin Harrison; the Tiffany window given to the church in his honor is on permanent loan to the Indianapolis Art Museum as a gift from us.

Meridian Heights Church was founded in 1909. 
  • Meridian Heights Church members were active in serving the neighborhood.  
  • Under the leadership of Pastor Gerry Johnson, the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association was founded, in part to combat the rampant redlining practices (intentional segregating of neighborhoods based on race.)
  • Meridian Heights Church had a great interest in educating children and youth – they built their education wing in 1959 because they had run out of room for youth to attend Sunday School!

FMHPC was formed when the two congregations merged into one in 1970.
Each congregation came in to the merger with their own rich history. FMHPC ordained the second woman in Indiana as a Presbyterian Pastor in 1971. After the merger, the church continued working in the neighborhood through various programs including the now defunct Vivian Smith House for teenage mothers, the Kaleidoscope after school and summer childcare program and the Just Older Youth Program (JOY) for teenagers. For 20 years it provided space for the At Your School (AYS) Childcare Program.

The bulk of our historical documents are stored at the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia.  Some are at the Indiana Historical Society.  We have scanned copies of the documents held in Philadelphia including photos, session minute books and membership registers. If you are doing historical research we may be able to send a PDF document to assist you.