Independent Presbyterian Church
Friday, August 01, 2014

About Our Church


Independent Presbyterian Church was founded in 1915. In that year a group of members from South Highland Presbyterian Church, a congregation of the Southern Presbyterian Church, withdrew to form a new church. This group was dedicated to the proclamation of the gospel in Birmingham and a ministry of community service.

During the next seven years, under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Henry M. Edmonds, this new congregation worshipped in Temple Emanu-El and also held evening services in the Lyric Theater. In those years, the church was among the first social service agencies to initiate programs for community services in public health, child welfare and legal aid.

In 1922, the congregation established the Children's Fresh Air Farm on Shades Mountain in the Bluff Park area.

The sanctuary was completed in 1926, representative of the English Perpendicular Gothic style and is topped by a French style spire. The striking stained glass windows were executed by the D'Ascenzo Studio of Philadelphia and the Connick Studio in Boston.

The original organ was built in 1925 by the E. M. Skinner Company. It was rebuilt and enlarged in 1969 by the Aeolian-Skinner Company, bringing its size to 75 ranks. In 1974 an antiphonal organ was installed in the rear gallery by the M. P. Moller Company. In 2012, a new Dobson Pipe Organ was installed and dedicated:  The Joseph W. Schreiber Memorial organ. The 82-rank organ is a spectacular symphonic instrument of original design that will serve the worship and music of the church and the Birmingham community for many generations.

Independent Presbyterian Church’s beautiful building is a fitting setting for its extensive fine arts program. With the 1964 arrival of Joseph W. Schreiber as Director of Music came the establishment of an annual series of organ recitals in November. In the forty-eight years since, programs have been presented by the most celebrated musicians of the day, including E. Power Biggs, Maurice and Madeleine Duruflé, and Jean Langlais. The church’s annual Religious Arts Festival, established in 1972 and held in February, presents lectures and programs devoted to the visual and performing arts and their intersection with Christian faith and life.
The Independent Presbyterian Church Choir is the crown jewel of the music program and has achieved international acclaim through concerts both here and abroad.

In 1992, a devastating fire destroyed many of the church buildings except the sanctuary. New construction over the next two years resulted in new buildings for educational and other program ministries.

Independent Presbyterian Church is now a congregation of 2,200 members and continues to support ministries dedicated to the glory of God, including excellence in worship, music and fine arts, child and adult education, congregational care and community and world missions. 

The Henry M. Edmonds Memorial Chapel