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Dr. Paul Leslie Garber; 3rd Minister (1939 - 1944)

Dr. Paul Leslie Garber; 3rd Minister (1939 - 1944)


Dr. Paul Leslie Garber; 3rd Minister (1939 - 1944)

Dr. Garber was unanimously elected to become the new pastor following the death of George Matthis. He had endeared himself to the congregation after filling in when Rev. Matthis was ill. He was installed on Sunday evening, November 5, 1939 and immediately went to work. He had just completed two years of graduate work at Duke University as a Guerny Harris Kearns fellow and had graduated in June, 1939 with a Ph.D. degree. Prior to coming to Durham, Dr. Garber had attended the College of Wooster and the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The Duke University Presbyterian Student Association was begun in the spring of 1940 under the direction of Dr. Garber, and he continued during his time at TAPC to chair of the Advisers Council directing religious activities of 600 Presbyterian students regularly enrolled at Duke.

Under Dr. Garber’s direction at TAPC, new hymnals were purchased and a new separate motor room was built for the organ motor to place it away from the coal bin and thus prevent coal dust from being sucked into the blower.

Dr. Garber married Miss Carolyn Cater White on July 1, 1941. A reception was held at the church in September honoring the couple.

Dr. Garber was elected President of the Council of Churches and was instrumental in a gathering of internationally known religious leaders in “The Win the War and Win the Peace” conference held February 11-12, 1943 under the direction of the Church Peace Union and World Alliance for International Friendship. At Trinity Avenue, homes were open to the entertainment of soldiers and changes were made in the number of working groups as members left to join the war effort.

He was President of the Durham Council of Churches, chairman of the radio committee of the Durham Ministers Association, minister to the Northgate Community Vespers, an interdenominational Sunday afternoon service held in a defense housing area near Bragtown, producer of “For Shut-Ins,” a weekly radio program over WDNC, and a member of the Phillips Brooks Cub, Durham Council of Social Agencies, Durham Youth Council and the Rotary Club. Within the Presbytery of Granville, Dr. Garber served as Chairman of Christian Education and Ministerial Relief and as a member of the Religious Education Committee. He also served as a trustee of Queens College.

In April 1943 Dr. Garber reported that 53 new members were added to the church during the past year bringing the membership to 425, and that the church had met all current financial obligations with a goal to clear the current debt of $12,500 by Christmas 1943. This was accomplished! Dr. Garber urged to “Keep the manner of the small church” and cautioned against growing lax in spirituality. “There is no end to the spiritual growth that can be attained if we work together in God’s spirit,” he said.

July 1943 Dr. Garber accepted a call to become head of the Department of Bible at Agnes Scott College.

Written by Sally M. Adkin January 2016 drawing from, Historical Sketch of Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, Durham, NC 1893-1939 by Mrs. Mary Lou Carr and added to by Mrs. L.C. Oldman, and TAPC news archives.

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