Where to Worship: Changing Lives



On Nov. 10, First Presbyterian Church on Hilton Head Island celebrated its 62nd anniversary by welcoming a new minister, the Rev. Dr. Will Robinson. 

Robinson moved to the Lowcountry from Salem, Virginia, where he served as pastor and head of staff at Salem Presbyterian Church for 10 years. Prior to that, Robinson was an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

In his new role at the Hilton Head church, Robinson will continue the church’s mission: “Changing Lives … Making Disciples.” 

As part of that mission, First Presbyterian offers both traditional and contemporary services, small groups and Sunday school, as well as outreach and community service opportunities. 

Robinson said the church has also been looking at ways to deepen relationships with God while widening the doors of the church so they are open to everyone. 

“People are more reluctant today to enter the doors of a church than in the past,” Robinson said. “So, how can we open those doors to allow them to worship and enter God’s kingdom here?” 

Started by Fred and Billie Hack in the 1950s, First Presbyterian was formally established on Nov. 10, 1957. The church’s membership has grown from 17 charter members in 1957 to 1,300 members today. 

The two traditional Sunday services are held at 8:30 and 11 a.m., with a contemporary “CrossRoads” service at 9:45 a.m. Sunday school classes are available for children and adults at 9:45 and 11 a.m. A “Welcome to Worship” program is offered to children after the children’s message during the 11 a.m. service, and the church’s youth group meets Wednesday evenings in the Honey Horn Chapel. 

Robinson would like the church to better connect with the families of children who attend First Presbyterian Day School but do not have a church home, perhaps by offering a parents’ night out. 

Established in 1984, the day school is open year-round and has an A+ ABC Quality rating through South Carolina’s statewide quality rating and improvement system for early care and education providers, according to the school’s website. 

First Presbyterian supports global ministries, such as Presbyterian Disaster Assistance in Puerto Rico, House of Hope in Nicaragua, and Haiti Outreach Ministries. Locally, the church supports community organizations, including Backpack Buddies, Memory Matters, Book Buddies, Books ‘n Bucks, Habitat for Humanity and Family Promise. 

“Whether it’s local or global, we want to be a church that really betters the lives of people in the name of God,” Robinson said. 

Two prominent local nonprofit organizations — Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island Clinic and The Bargain Box — were started by members of First Presbyterian. 

“We believe that Jesus is the one who says this is how we should live,” Robinson said. “I think of Peter and, of course, James, who emphasized that it’s one thing to say, ‘I hope you get the food you need and the help you need’ … We should really be people who help that person get the help they need or provide that help to them.”