Our History

Kent Presbyterian Church has its beginning on March 15, 1959, when 20 persons met in a classroom at Kent State University, establishing the only Presbyterian church in Portage County. Dr. Henry Lietman, minister of the United Presbyterian Church of Cuyahoga Falls, acted as clerk.

On Easter Sunday, March 29, Rev. E. L. Thornburg of Mayfield Heights conducted the first service at University School on Morris Road. Sixty-two persons attended.

The church’s first home was Central School on Park Avenue, beginning April 12 of that year. That July, land for the present church site on Summit Street was purchased.

Kent Presbyterian Church has its beginning on March 15, 1959, when 20 persons met in a classroom at Kent State University, establishing the only Presbyterian church in Portage County. Dr. Henry Lietman, minister of the United Presbyterian Church of Cuyahoga Falls, acted as clerk.
The completed Kent Presbyterian Church is seen here with Kent State University in the backdrop.

Beginning Sept. 1, Rev. William Harper of Springfield, Ohio, served as Presbytery missionary to organize the congregation.

On Dec. 13, nine months after the organizational meeting, 45 people were received into membership and their names were entered on the rolls as charter members.

A service of organization was held Jan. 17, 1960, at Central School by the Cleveland Presbytery, to which our church then belonged. We are now part of the Eastminster Presbytery.

Dr. William G. Spearman, a Presbyterian missionary from Japan, became our first pastor in 1963.

The next pastor called was Rev. Harold Walker in 1973, followed by Rev. H. Timothy Halverson in 1981. Dr. Dale E. Chapin was the next pastor called in 1987. He was followed by Rev. Kay Roberts in 2003. Rev. Aaron L. Meadows is the present minister coming to the church in 2004 as the Director of Campus Ministry and then becoming the Pastor and Head of Staff in 2007.

The original sanctuary building, now Dick Chapel, was completed in 1964, and the present sanctuary became a reality in 1969. The newest building, which houses the church offices and classrooms, was opened in 1986. We are currently in the process of developing a 384 bed student housing facility to be open for student living and learning in August 2019.

Having grown substantially, Kent Presbyterian Church needed to expand their building. This photo is taken showing members of the congregation and community breaking ground.
This is a view of University Church, formerly Kent Presbyterian Church prior to the construction of apartments.
This photo shows University Church and what it looked like at the beginning of the construction project.
The apartments are nearing completion. University Church and Kent State look forward to the new student housing.
Today, University Church and Paloma Apartments are neighbors. The church regularly hosts events for Paloma Apartments and the Kent community.

The first of three photos above show University Church a few weeks prior to construction of the student housing apartments.

The next two photos show the apartments being built right next to the church.

Today, Paloma Apartments is located right next to University Church. This allows the church to not only continue serving the Kent community but also be a home away from home for Paloma residents.

As we continue to make history as we move into the future, we encourage you to take your first steps in joining University Church for a Sunday Service, Bible Study, or dinner!