Church History and PCUSA

Church History and PCUSA

Gwynedd Square Presbyterian Church’s history began out of the desire of the Presbytery of Philadelphia to build a Presbyterian church in the Philadelphia suburbs where none existed. In 1958, seventeen people met for the church’s first organizational meeting, and one year later, in 1959, GSPC was officially formed and named with 117 charter members. 

In August of 1960, ground was broken for the main church building at its present location on nine acres of land. This site was chosen because of its visibility on Sumneytown Pike. During construction the congregation met in a portion of the old West Point Elementary School.

The first called Pastor was Donald Shaw in 1960. Pastor Shaw’s focus was on local, community social concerns during his ministry. These concerns reflected national issues of that period. They included integration, fair housing, and involvement with other religious organizations. During his tenure, Pastor Shaw worked with C. Everett Koop, the former US Surgeon General, to develop programs to provide equal opportunity for the purchase of residential houses in the community. Since these early years, the church’s congregation has reflected the diversity of the community.

In 1965, the Rev. Paul Corcoran was called and led the church until he retired in 1986. During this growth period of the church, Rev. Corcoran saw the creation of the church educational wing, the library, and a nursery. In 1984, 450 members celebrated the church’s 25
th Anniversary.

The Rev. James R. Barber was called to succeed Pastor Corcoran in 1988. Under his tutelage, a ceremony was held in 1995 to “burn the mortgage” on the original sanctuary and educational wing. In 1996, Session approved a $135,000 expansion capital campaign to build a new sanctuary, chapel, and fellowship hall. That building project was completed in 1999. Rev. Barber retired in August 1999. 

In November of 2002, the Rev. David Poland was installed as pastor by the church and served the congregation until September 2010. During that time, the contemporary worship service was established in 2003, the old sanctuary and office area was renovated, and the parking lot at the side of the church was added. He was an active member of the "Starfish Brigade," the group that went to Pearlington, Mississippi, twice a year for a number of years to do Hurricane Katrina rebuilding. During the seven full calendar years that he was our pastor we welcomed over 200 new members.  

Through the years, three associate pastors were called by the church. The Rev. Jamie Lynn Kenyon served from February 1992 to November 1995, Rev. Leslie Jane Blair from March 1998 to October 2000, and Rev. Rebecca Kahnt from January 2009 through December 2012. We also have had four Interim Pastors: Rev. Thomas C. Wray, Rev. Manisha Shendge, Rev. Steven Garstad, and Rev. Marie C. Cone.

In 2013, the Rev. RJ Leek was called by the congregation as our new Head of Staff. He began his ministry with us on December 1. Pastor RJ has reorganized our younger youth group as King's Kids (K through sixth grade). He initiated the Sticks Ministry where our youth use sticks and props to make scripture come alive. In addition, he has expanded the Bible study program.

Gwynedd Square Presbyterian Church is a part of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), the largest Presbyterian group in the United States with approximately 1.7 million members. Local PCUSA churches meet as the Presbytery of Philadelphia to handle regional concerns. The regional and national networks of PCUSA enable Gwynedd Square to minister to physical and spiritual needs not only locally, but throughout the world. For more information on PCUSA and the Presbytery of Philadelphia please visit these links:
    Presbyterian Church USA -
Presbytery of Philadelphia -


Gwynedd Square Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)  837 Sumneytown Pike, Lansdale, PA 19446
Phone: 215-699-9159  Fax: 215-699-8042