Our History

Sumach Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized in 1851 under the leadership of Rev. S.H. Henry. The church had met as a congregation since 1846, but was made part of the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination in 1851. By 1853, a church building had been constructed, which was immediately occupied by the growing congregation.

By 1869, Rev. Henry had been named to the Murray County Board of Education. A movement that began in 1876 led to the construction of Sumach Seminary in 1881. The Seminary was an educational facility providing education at primary, secondary, and junior college levels for students from 15 states who were housed in three dormitories. For over 30 years, Sumach Seminary (sponsored by Sumach CP Church) was recognized as a leading educational institution. The Seminary building burned in 1921, was rebuilt, and burned again in 1926. Changes in education were so dramatic, the school was not rebuilt a second time.

Sumach Church, known as the “church on the hill” enjoyed many years of stability and growth in the years after the Seminary was dissolved. It was a time which the Lord fortified the people with the faith, love, and determination they would need to face tribulations that were to come.

On May 22, 1966, one day before the annual Homecoming event, the church building and annexes caught fire and burned. The next day, many members and former members who had traveled for Homecoming, arrived not knowing the church structure had burned. Services were held as usual under the tall pine trees that were still standing using chairs borrowed from Northwest Elementary School. Since inception, the church, seminary, and manse have rebuilt and survived five fires.

The faith, dedication, and stamina of the people who are members of Sumach CP Church have served them well. Through all the trials, from the Civil War to our latest conflicts, from the Great Depression to our current economic condition, from the great revival of the church to the current growth in the unchurched, Sumach has emerged as a congregation who loves the Lord, one another, and the community as a whole.

We welcome all who wish to come and worship with us. Won’t you join us?