The Old Post Chapel
First Presbyterian Church meets in an historic building originally completed in 1904 as the Post Chapel for Fort Oglethorpe, at the time a US Army facility. The Post Chapel was used for Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Jewish services from 1905-1947. From July 1945 to December 1946, the Post Chapel served as the home of the US Army Chaplain School.
The interior of the chapel has been redecorated and updated. Originally the chapel had a center aisle and lacked electric lighting. Additionally, at some point (likely in the 1930s) cathedral glass windows were installed.
After the deactivation of Fort Oglethorpe as a military post in 1947, the “Old Post Chapel” was used as a non-denominational church until 1955 when that congregation voted to become a Methodist church. The Methodists remained at the “Old Post Chapel” until 1983. During their time at the “Old Post Chapel,” an education building was added in 1962 with space for Sunday school rooms, church offices, and a fellowship hall.
On October 4, 1983, the members of Lakeview Presbyterian Church purchased the “Old Post Chapel” from the Methodist and renamed it “First Presbyterian Church.”
First Presbyterian Church
Lakeview Presbyterian church was organized in 1959 as a congregation of the Southern Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian Church US). As progressive influences and theological liberalism became more prevalent in the PCUS, the Lakeview congregation became increasingly uncomfortable with the trajectory of the denomination and began looking for a communion that was committed to proclaiming the whole counsel of God, upholding the historic truths of Christianity, and was faithful to the Reformed faith.
After lengthy conversations with the Knoxville Presbytery of the PCUS, it became evident that it would not be possible to have a truly biblical, God-honoring church while the congregation was under the care of the PCUS. The congregation of Lakeview Presbyterian Church voted (with only one dissenting vote) on Nov. 15, 1981 to humbly petition the presbytery for dismissal from the PCUS.
In response to the congregation's humble request for dismissal, the the PCUS demanded Lakeview Presbyterian Church surrender its property to the denomination and vacate the premises. The members of Lakeview Presbyterian Church were left without a meeting place, but the church is people, not a building, and God remained faithful to His people.
In spite of having to surrender the building they had purchased and maintained at great sacrifice, the congregation continued to meet for worship. Sometimes they worshiped in store fronts and sometimes in the homes of members, but God was faithful and met with them in their worship.
In January of 1982, the elders of Lakeview Church were interviewed by representatives of the Tennessee Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America in hopes that the congregation could come under the care of the PCA. The church was soon received into the presbytery and denomination and Rev. Howard T. Cross was installed as the pastor on June 27, 1982.
After many months without a meeting place of their own, the congregation was able to purchase the “Old Post Chapel” from the Methodists in October 1983. On December 4, 1983 the building was dedicated to the glory of God and the congregation was renamed “First Presbyterian Church Fort Oglethorpe” (FPFO).
Since becoming FPFO, the congregation has been served by five pastors:
James Campbell 1986-1991
Robert. J. Borger 1992-2004
James M. Landrum 2005-2008
Doyle Allen 2010-2017
Ryan Biese 2018-present
The congregation was also served by Rev. William “Kip” Slawter from 2002 to 2005 as an assistant pastor.