WPPC’s History

West Plano Presbyterian Church (WPPC) was a joint development on the part of Covenant and Trinity Presbyteries. Under the leadership of organizing pastor Maurice Barnett, the congregation began meeting in homes in early 1974 and at Davis Elementary school in September 1974.

WPPC was officially organized on March 2, 1975 as a union church of the UPCUSA and the PCUS, with Maurice Barnett as the senior pastor and Rebecca Weaver as associate pastor. The church was known as “the church in West Plano” ( which meant west of Central Expressway) and the name stuck.

Construction of the church building at 2709 Custer Road began in 1977 and was completed in 1978. The first worship service in the new building was on February 12, 1978, and the structure was officially dedicated on March 5, 1978. Also in 1978, Rebecca Weaver resigned to pursue graduate work.

The church welcomed a Mother’s Day Out program and helped organize and provide space for the Plano Senior Citizens and Geriatric Center groups. The Senior Citizens group has since been taken over by the City of Plano and the Geriatric Center operates out of the Plano Senior Center. In partnership with Christ United Methodist Church, WPPC adopted a Vietnamese family of four, providing housing, health care, transportation and other hospitality services to a mother, her daughter and son-in-law, and a teenage son.

In 1980, the pastoral relationship with Maurice Barnett was dissolved and Rev. David Mack served as our interim pastor. Following a search, the church called Jim Serviss as pastor. Prior to coming to WPPC, he ministered to the Papago Indians in Arizona. It turned out to be a difficult transition for him to make, moving from the poverty of the Indian reservation to the relative affluence of Plano. After much good work, but a lot of accompanying frustration, Jim requested that the relationship be dissolved in 1983. Also in 1983, Leta Harrington was called as associate pastor.

At this time Grace Presbytery (the successor to Covenant and Trinity Presbyteries) asked Rev. Dr. Wesley Lackey to be stated supply. This proved to be a good fit and, with Presbytery’s blessing, Wes was called and installed as pastor in June 1984.

In 1982, WPPC appointed a building committee to assess our need for more space and propose options. By 1985, we felt financially stable enough to begin a campaign to make additional program space a reality. A building fund was established and pledges were solicited. In February 1986, we broke ground on a new education wing that added eight classrooms, a fellowship hall and a youth loft, as well as an expanded kitchen. We were assisted in this endeavor with funds from the Canyon Creek Day School, which operated out of the new wing during the week. The school continued to use our building until they built and moved into their own building in 2002.

In the period leading up to the publication of the 1993 Book of Common Worship, the PC(USA) issued several liturgical resources. The Worship and Music Committee studied these resources and incorporated them in the liturgy at WPPC. As a result, worship and liturgy became an important element of the life of the church. We began a service at 8:30 with communion every Sunday and expanded Easter services to include an Easter Vigil. We also replaced the electric organ in the Sanctuary with a pipe organ in 1997.

In the 1980’s and early 1990’s WPPC had a large group of youth and formed a large youth choir. For several years the choir put together musical programs that they took on tour to other churches in Texas.

In August of 1993 Beth Fultz joined the church staff as Director of Christian Education and Youth Director. Beth initiated youth mission trips in 1994 that continued to 2014 and ranged across the United States. In addition, the youth put on youth plays and a group of adults did a mission trip to the campus ministry at the University of Kansas. Beth also started the Forever 39 group for senior adult activities that continued to meet monthly for fellowship and games, until the pandemic curtailed all activities.

In 1992, Grace Presbytery referred to WPPC a Hispanic family living in Dallas. The father, age 30 at the time, was blind due to meningitis. There were six children, then ranging in age from 18 months to 12 years. The mother was unable to work due to a lack of childcare. WPPC provided clothing and shoes, holiday gifts, and food during the year. Our activities were coordinated with Catholic Charities of Dallas. The two oldest children graduated from high school, and the family became able to support itself.

From March 1998 to January 2012, we were blessed with the talents of Martha Hopson as our organist and choir director. Her husband, composer Hal Hopson, occasionally played organ when Martha directed and helped with choir practice. Hal was designated the Composer in Residence at West Plano Presbyterian Church.

After serving WPPC for 18 years, Wes Lackey retired in November, 2000. Charles Taylor, who had been serving as Parish Associate, took on the job of Interim Pastor. In 2002 we called the Reverend Dr. David Batchelder and he was installed as WPPC’s pastor in January 2003.

With David’s interest in liturgical renewal, the Session and the Worship and Formation Ministry Team took a renewed examination of our worship services. The 8:30 service was discontinued and we began to celebrate communion every week. A Worship and the Arts Committee was formed to create new art pieces to enhance the sanctuary for both Ordinary Time and the High Festivals. Observance of Easter Vigil was re-imagined as a multi-hour service involving many members of the congregation in the various readings and liturgy.

In 2002 WPPC established a relationship with the Casa de Ninos orphanage in Huejotitan, Mexico. We sent mission teams to Huejotitan for several years, until the security situation there made it unwise to go. We have continued our financial support with them and correspond with them regularly. Growing out of that relationship, WPPC organized a group of churches to create a scholarship to bring one of the students from Huejotitan to the Presbyterian Pan American School in Kingsville, Texas. She has since graduated and is attending Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas.

In 2008, WPPC started a community garden called Jeremiah’s Plot on an unused portion of our property. Gardeners are both church members and people from the neighborhood around WPPC, and at least 20% of the produce of each plot is donated to the Plano Food Pantry. In addition, WPPC collects food for the Plano Food Pantry once a month and is known as one of their most consistent and generous donors. We have also partnered with First Presbyterian Church in Plano to support their Clothes Closet, and, beginning in 2020, have held multiple clothing drives for their Streetside Shower Ministry.

In 2011, WPPC initiated a partnership of 14 churches in Collin County to form Family Promise of Collin County. This is a program that focuses on families with children who are suffering from homelessness. The churches provide shelter and meals for the families at the church, four times each year for a week at a time, while they receive counseling from the Family Promise staff.

Vacation Church School has always been an important activity at WPPC. In 2013 we began Kids’ Camp, a 3- day long day camp that is attended by between 30 and 40 children, most of whom are not members of WPPC. The camp has a theme each year centered around a Bible passage and includes stories, crafts, cooking, mission activities, and singing.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, life changed dramatically for WPPC, as it did for everyone. WPPC coped with the pandemic in a variety of ways.

  • Worship continued online via Zoom, with music from the sanctuary. This was done without communion, since we could not assemble in person.
  • We conducted occasional in-person open-air services, with communion, in our parking lot, including the full Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil) in 2021.
  • Church meetings were conducted via Zoom.
  • We provided materials and “kits” to support home celebration of the church seasons – Advent, Epiphany, Lent, and Pentecost.
  • The deacons conducted an active call ministry to members to stay in touch. They met every two weeks via Zoom to review congregational needs.
  • We established two new gatherings for adults via Zoom: Wednesday in the Wilderness twice a month on Wednesday evenings for study; and the Seventh Inning Stretch every Thursday evening for socializing.
  • The 2020 Kids’ Camp was conducted via Zoom, with materials provided to families.
  • Children’s studies took place on Zoom after church.
  • Youth studies took place on Sunday afternoons in person outside the church – masked and physically distanced.

As a result of these efforts, WPPC remained a vibrant and active congregation throughout this trying time