After Rev. Baker resigned, shorter termed pastors ably served the congregation, but in 1893 one of the church’s most influential and long-serving pastors began his tenure. This was the Rev. Abel McIver Fraser, who served the church for the next thirty-six years. Dr. Fraser was able to welcome the President-elect Woodrow Wilson when he visited his birthplace in 1912. Also, during his tenure, an educational building was added next door to the sanctuary to accommodate the growing young congregation. It is now called, appropriately, the Fraser building.
By this time, First Presbyterian Church had helped seed and inaugurate the Second Presbyterian Church and Olivet Presbyterian Church and later, the Third Presbyterian Church, Covenant, and Bethany Presbyterian Churches.
The 1950s were a time of tremendous growth in population all over the country and similarly at First Presbyterian. The church’s Sunday school and other youth groups were at capacity when the Rev, Richard Randall Potter began his service at the church in 1953. The “Potter years” were a time of increasing membership and activities, particularly with the youth. A new building was needed and much appreciated when it was completed. It was named the Potter building in recognition of this beloved pastor whose death after surgery in 1962 had stunned his congregation,
Since the 1960s, six pastors have served the church, including the first female for First Presbyterian, our current pastor, the Rev. Karen Allamon. Highlights from those years include the Rev. Hobbie’s participation in the civil rights march in Selma, Alabama, the Rev. Cowan’s three-month pulpit exchange with the Rev. Gordon from South Africa, the sixteen-year tenure of the Pastor Emeritus the Rev. Joseph Henry Johnson Vernon, the arrival of the youthful Rev. Taylor Todd, and the scholarly Rev. Richard Dietrich.
For a more detailed examination of Staunton’s First Presbyterian Church, please see A Historical Sketch of the First Presbyterian Church Staunton, Virginia 1804-1954, by Frank Robbins Pancake and The History of First Presbyterian Church, Staunton, Virginia 1804-2004, by Dorothy A. Boyd-Rush and Katharine L. Brown.