Hitchcock History Highlights
In 1913, a group of 19 gathered to worship in a portable chapel borrowed from the Presbytery of Hudson River and set on the corner of Walworth Avenue and Fenimore Road. The Reverend George Smyth helped that group organize Hitchcock Presbyterian Church, build a sanctuary, organize the Sunday School, Women's Guild, Missionary Society and Women's Prayer Group. In 1949 Dr. Smyth retired.
The Reverend Dr. Robert W. Youngs was installed as senior pastor that same year. Increased attendance necessitated two services of worship each Sunday. In 1954 the Memorial Building was completed joining the newly enlarged sanctuary with the Children's House.
In 1959 the Reverend James S. Stewart became senior pastor and served until 1972. During these years a unicameral board of Elder/Trustees was formed; the Weekday School was begun and the three women's organizations merged to form the Guild. In 1991 the Guild became Presbyterian Women of Hitchcock, better known as PW.
The Reverend J. Scottie Griffin became senior pastor in July 1975 and served until 1982. During those years Hitchcock became involved with the ministry of the Counseling Center of Southern Westchester, and provides a counseling office for use by the Center. The growing Asian population in this area stimulated the development of the Living in America program to serve the international community.
In September 1983 the Reverend Robert S. MacLennan became senior pastor and served until December 31, 1992. During his ministry there was increased dialogue with the local Jewish community as well as increased involvement with the Japanese Community.
In 1984 Special Ministries to Japanese, an interdenominational ministry to Japanese-speaking people in the metropolitan area, began holding Japanese language services of worship at 2 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month at Hitchcock. In 1989 the Union Japanese Church of Westchester [UJCW] was formed and this congregation meets weekly at 10:30 a.m. in the Hancock Room. The Reverend Yoko Asada is serving as pastor for this congregation which receives support from the Methodists, Reform Church and Presbyterians.
The fire which destroyed the sanctuary building on June 5, 1986, did not destroy the program or the mission of Hitchcock Church. The rebuilding was completed and the sanctuary dedicated on October 7, 1990.
In May 1995 the Reverend Donald J. Steele became the pastor and served until May 1, 2005. During his 10 year ministry, the church became very active in mission work and supported "Beyond Borders"- a literacy program in Haiti.
The Rev. Dr. John W. Miller became the pastor in April 2008, and served until November 2013. In his five and half years at Hitchcock, several significant building issues were addressed, the Chapel was renovated, and a labyrinth was incorporated into the sanctuary patio area. Dr. Miller’s presence and ministry empowered the congregation to live into its Vision Statement: “We come to be in the presence of God, so that we can be the presence of God in the world around us.”
Over the years many associates, educators and interims have served in positions of leadership in this congregation, enriching its life.