The history of Palisades dates to 1887, when the first services were held in the courtroom of the then-San Diego Courthouse at Broadway and 2nd Street, the intersection that now includes the Westgate Hotel.
On April 10, 1888, 29 charter members petitioned the Presbytery in Santa Ana to form the First United Presbyterian Church in San Diego. With approval, that date is recognized as the founding of what is now Palisades Presbyterian Church.
San Diego saw dramatic change between 1888 and the turn of the century.
Palisades moved from worshiping in the Holt House (near what is now Market and 14th Street) to their first church at the corner of 19th and G Street (which is now in the middle of the Highway 94/Interstate 5 interchange). The 20 x 30 structure was built with the volunteer labor of their hardy 38 members. Within nine years, the congregation outgrew this humble building and moved to the corner of 22nd and Market Street, where it served for more than 50 years.
As the city continued to change, the church moved to its current location in the neighborhood where most of the members lived. Purchasing 5.7 acres for $15,000 in 1956, the worshiping community held its first services on the Sunday before Christmas in 1956, well before the sanctuary was completed in 1964.
The lovely stained-glass windows that anchor the spire are themselves an example of the mercy of God depicted in them. During World War II, Allied planes accidentally bombed the Dutch factory where the panes were crafted, jeopardizing the business. In a gesture of apology, the U.S. government shipped, free of charge, the stained-glass orders made by Americans. These windows were transported aboard a Navy ship from Holland to Portland, Oregon then trucked to the church. More than merely beautiful or illustrative, they are practical reminders of the divine virtues of forgiveness and grace.
With its storied legacy and service to Christ, and, by God’s grace, Palisades continues to shine the light in the 21st century as a beacon of Christ’s love on the bluff.
Members and friends of Palisades Presbyterian Church gathered on November 13, 2005 to dedicate The Point, an outdoor worship center to honor beloved pastor Harvey G. Throop after 25 years of faithful service.
What We Believe
We believe first and foremost in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who came to this world and gave his life on the cross to redeem us, save us and give us abundant and eternal life.
The words of “A Brief Statement of Faith” affirm the following:
“In life and in death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve. With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
We at Palisades Presbyterian Church seek to live out these words with our worship, our care and nurture of one another, our ongoing educational efforts for all ages, and our outreach and service in the world.
With our roots in the Protestant Reformation, we are grounded in the following:
- The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament through which we affirm God’s abiding love, God’s covenant, God’s Emmanuel in Jesus Christ, and God’s purposes and plans through Christ’s life and death and resurrection.
- The grace of God which is freely offered to all humanity: through Jesus Christ we are saved from sin, selfishness, and despair, and by the power of the Spirit we are inspired to lives of grace, love, and generosity in all things.
- Our election to service as well as salvation. We believe that we have been richly blessed in order to be a blessing to the world. God sends us out to do God’s work near and far.
We are guided first by the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God as well as the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives as we seek to follow our Lord Jesus Christ. We are further guided by the Constitution of the PCUSA – the Book of Order and the Book of Confessions. The Book of Order frames our church life and practice. The Book of Confessions states our faith and bear witness to God’s grace in Jesus Christ. There are 12 statements from across the ages that affirm who the church is and what the church