Newell Presbyterian Church
1500 Rocky River Road West
Charlotte, NC 28213
History
Newell Presbyterian Church has been actively sharing and proclaiming God’s love through Jesus Christ since 1889. In the last 100 plus years, a lot has changed for the church, yet a lot has essentially remained the same. Newell Presbyterian Church began with a few humble and devoted farmers in the small community of Newell. It was a simpler time; there was no traffic or congestion. Most people walked or rode their horses to church. Furthermore, the community was such that everyone probably knew each other’s names and treated each other like a member of their own family.
Today, the small community of Newell has had to face big and complex changes in the world, from the concrete highways that are reaching out from the city of Charlotte to the electronic highways that are connecting us to distant lands. While adjusting to these changes, the church has continued to be composed of humble and devoted people who receive joy in sharing God’s love through Jesus Christ. Although you probably will not see horses in our parking lot (unless some of our members who still have horses take them for a ride), the feeling still remains that Newell Presbyterian Church is committed to learning each other’s names and treating them like family.
Newell Presbyterian Church was organized in the year 1889 with 31 charter members. The church developed when an earnest group of Presbyterian families of the Newell community felt inspired by God to meet for Sunday school in the dining room of the home of Mr. and Mrs. W.B. Newell. These meetings consisted of scripture study, singing, and praying. Later, the meetings were held in the General Store of “Squire” John A. Newell. (This store became the old Post Office for the Newell community.) During the summer of 1890, the Sunday school had grown, and the group of Presbyterians moved their meeting out into the shade of the Old Cotton Gin House. (This is the bluish-gray house that sits adjacent to our current sanctuary.) As the group became more and more organized, the Mecklenburg Presbytery appointed a commission to meet at the Newell Train Station on November 15, 1890 in order to formally establish a new church. The name selected for the church at this meeting was Newell Presbyterian Church. On the following day Nov. 16, 1890, the Rev. G.W. Belk preached the first sermon for the newly constituted church in the General Store.
As plans were underway to build a church sanctuary, “Squire” John A. Newell gave a tract of land for the church grounds and cemetery. During the months that followed, the men faithfully worked to construct the building for the church, while the ladies organized ways to serve the needy families in the community regardless of denomination. The church building was completed in 1892. In December of that year, the Rev. W.C.C. Foster preached the first sermon in the new church building. From that time on pastors from Sugaw Creek, Mallard Creek, Amity, and other neighboring churches would come to fill the pulpit as often as possible. In 1893, the Rev. Scott W. Newell accepted a call as the first installed pastor to the church. Furthermore, the Rev. Newell’s wife also contributed greatly to the ministry of the church as a wonderful Bible teacher. With both the Rev. and Mrs. Newell’s faithful guidance, the church grew rapidly.
Today, the church utilizes three buildings on ten acres of land. The first sanctuary that was built in 1892 still stands on its original location and has had a few renovations to adapt to the needs of the church. This original structure known as the “Newell Building” continues as a fellowship hall, meeting place, classroom space, and kitchen. The second structure, called the “Christian Education Building,” was completed in 1964. It houses the children’s classrooms, the nursery, and our library. The largest structure on our property holds the current sanctuary and office, which was dedicated in September of 1979. The church cemetery is at the rear of the property with graves dating to the 1880’s.
Significant change has come to the church, and also to the community in which it is located. The larger rural farms from which those earliest members came are rapidly disappearing. New homes are covering the countryside, and the church finds itself evolving into a suburban church with many young families. With UNC Charlotte on its doorsteps and numerous companies and businesses expanding into this area of the county, the mission for Newell Presbyterian Church is as great, if not greater, today than it was for those early families as we continue into our next 100 years of ministry.

Newell Presbyterian Church is an active congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA), a member of the Charlotte Presbytery, and a part of the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic.