The PCA held its first General Assembly (as the National Presbyterian Church) December 4-7, 1973. But one of the presbyteries that made up the new denomination had been organized since February 13 of that year.
On October 15, at its 150th Stated Meeting, Warrior Presbytery celebrated its unique place in the history of the PCA as its first presbytery. During the course of his sermon delivered at the meeting, Dr. Cecil Williamson, Pastor of Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church in Selma, Alabama, and one of the presbytery’s founders, remembered the beginnings of Warrior:
In February, 1973, in this place, there were not inherent virtues or self-generated graces in Mr. Dinwiddie, Mr. Pino, Willard Scott, Charles Wilson or myself or the 16 Ruling Elders who joined us to commend us to God to be founders of the first Presbytery in a denomination which today has Presbyteries throughout the country and is taking the gospel to the ends of the world. Of these five Teaching Elders, we labored in small places: Mr. Dinwiddie in Greensboro, Akron and Newbern, Mr. Pino in Uniontown, Faunsdale and Gastonburg, Willard in Brent, Charles here (Linden) and myself in Selma – not large cities nor mega-congregations, not centers of influence for what would follow in December of that year, the formation of the National now Presbyterian Church in America. We had been attending meetings for years with the Presbyterian Journal, Concerned Presbyterians, Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, and Presbyterian Churchmen United talking, praying and planning what course of action should be taken so that the witness of historic Presbyterianism would not vanish from this nation. Here in West Alabama, in the Warrior River basin, for which the Presbytery was named, we had met numerous times, most often in Greensboro and Linden, to pray and plan how to establish a Presbytery true to the Scriptures and the Reformed Faith.
In January, 1973, throughout this area, congregational meetings were held in churches committed to the faith once delivered to the saints. Congregations took votes asking to be dismissed from Tuscaloosa Presbytery of the PCUS. A called meeting of Tuscaloosa Presbytery was held in this church on February 13, 1973, at which we voted to dismiss with the property each church requesting dismissal.
Upon adjournment of Tuscaloosa Presbytery, those representatives wishing to do so remained, met, and organized Warrior Presbytery, with Mr. Dinwiddie as Moderator and Charles Wilson as Stated Clerk.8 Much like the ancient Israelites, we are reminded that God did not choose us or set His favor on us because we were numerous, influential, or powerful. In fact, we were among the weakest and smallest, but God set His love and grace on us for His glory, according to the counsel of His own perfect will.
Today Warrior Presbytery, which covers 13 Alabama counties, has 30 TE members and 22 member churches which have a total of over 1,800 communicant and non-communicant members.
During the course of this year leading up to General Assembly, we will feature articles that highlight the history of the PCA.
8 Minutes of the Organizational Meeting of Warrior Presbytery, February 13, 1973, p. 1.