In February 1951, representatives from Orange Presbytery, Church of the Covenant, and First Presbyterian Church began work toward the organization of a Presbyterian church in west Greensboro. After a generous donation of land given by Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Weaver, construction began on a chapel in August 1952. On November 16, the new church was formally organized with 96 people received into membership. On the following Sunday of that same year, the name Starmount Presbyterian Church was officially adopted. In August 1952, the Rev. Allen C. McSween was called as first pastor and Starmount’s Women of the Church was organized. Staff and building space continued to be added as resources became available. In 1958, Starmount’s kindergarten opened for students.
The life and activity of the congregation continued to grow and thrive. Boy Scout Troop 120 was organized in March 1960 and the first Vacation Bible School was held later that summer. The building continued to grow, but not as quickly as the congregation. In 1963, discussions were started for the building of a new sanctuary. In June 1965, the Rev. Carl May became Starmount’s first associate pastor. The Women of the Church presented their first honorary life membership that same year to Cora Caldwell.
In order to keep up with its continued growth, the new (and current) sanctuary, which more than doubled the seating capacity for worship, was dedicated in May 1970. In July 1971, the Rev. G. Daniel McCall was installed as senior pastor. Just over a year later, in September 1972, the Rev. Ernest Johnson, III, became associate pastor. In November 1976, the Rev. George C. Carpenter began as senior pastor, taking the helm of Starmount’s flourishing ministry. In the Fall of 1979, Starmount’s preschool opened, transitioning from solely a kindergarten program.
Starmount began its involvement in refugee resettlement with a group from Laos, starting in 1980. In the following years, this work has helped refugees from Vietnam (Montagnards and Nung), Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo, and Sudan. In March 1985, the first of the Bach’s Lunch
series was held. Dr. Cynthia R. Higgins became associate pastor in December 1986. The first mission trip to Peto, Mexico, was taken in August 1987. This mission of teaching and building continued every other year until 1997. Starmount’s strong sense of mission continued when it began participating in Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro.
May 1991 saw Starmount’s fourth senior pastor when Dr. James. E. Layman was installed. In November 1992, Starmount celebrated its 40th anniversary. In July 1994, Dr. Erich W. Thompson began his service as associate pastor. After extensive improvements to the physical plant, January 1995 saw a dedication of the recently completed addition and renovation, which included more office space, up-to-code preschool rooms, an enlarged library, and a columbarium. An elevator was later installed. Dr. Michael Shelton was installed as Starmount’s next senior pastor in June 1998.
September 2000 marked an important chapter in Starmount’s history when it joined with 12 other Greensboro churches in GIHN (Greensboro Interfaith Hospitality Network) to house homeless families. Starmount celebrated its Jubilee in 2002, which is the same year that its first website was launched. In 2003, the chapel was renovated and Starmount’s pastoral leadership went from two to one. In 2004, Dr. Carl Utley came to Starmount as interim pastor to help with many of its needed transitions, including moving from two services to one. By the next year, many “new” things happened that were celebrated, including a new website, a new logo, a new mission statement (Called to Worship, Empowered to Serve
), as well as the debt on the last building addition being retired and the Prayer Shawl Ministry beginning. In 2006, Rev John Odom was welcomed to lead Starmount’s staff. In 2008, Starmount embarked on a $974,000 Capital Campaign, Faithfulness to All Generations
, to revitalize the 40 year old sanctuary, provide funding for a director of youth, evangelism and family ministries, and provide additional resources for a growing program life. The sanctuary’s renovations were completed in time for the Palm Sunday service in 2009. At a homecoming event on May 3, 2009, a Time Capsule was opened which had been placed in the sanctuary wall in 1969. On May 9, the Mission Committee began work on a community garden, and on July 6, Reverend Kathryn Campbell joined the staff as associate pastor.
Starmount’s call to serve locally, nationally, and internationally continued into this next decade. In 2010, Starmount helped to establish two egg farms in Kananga, Congo, and sent mission teams to New Orleans, Jacksonville, FL, and Congo. Also in 2010, Starmount received the gift of a Steinway “B” piano for use in the sanctuary and served as a host site for concerts for the Eastern Music Festival and the Bel Canto Company. Annual mission trips to Chiapas, Mexico, served as highlights. Presbyterian Campus Ministry, which later transitioned to UKirk Greensboro, became an official mission partner of Starmount, serving college students and young adults in Greensboro. Pastor John Odom completed his ministry at Starmount in October 2015. In 2016, Starmount earmarked a significant portion of its Lillian Steele bequest to three local agencies that work to combat hunger in Guilford County: Interactive Resource Center, Renaissance Community Coop and Out of the Garden Project. And in 2018, we welcomed Rev. Dr. Charlie Lee as our head of staff.