History of the Kirk

The Kirk started with a backyard conversation between two Presbyterians living in Cary in March 1977.  The idea took hold with energy and enthusiasm and these two neighbors, Leon Gabriel and Fred Manley, with the help of many others started a fellowship that is now the 1,100-member Kirk of Kildaire, Presbyterian of today.

The first service was held on December 4, 1977 with 23 people attending.  Appropriately, this group sang “We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing” at their first gathering.  Weekly Sunday worship began in January, 1978 and continues today.

This early group met in several locations, finally settling at the Kildaire Farms Development visitor’s center.  The church shared this location with the developer until December 1979 when the Kirk purchased the building and 5.7 acres at the current location.

In August 1979, over 20 church names were suggested with Kirk of Kildaire, Presbyterian chosen because of the desire to become the “kirk” (Scottish for church) as described in the Scot’s Confession from the Book of Confessions, PCUSA.

The original visitor’s center served as worship space, classrooms, and office until a second building was erected in 1986 which included significantly more space for all church activities.  The first worship service in our present sanctuary was Palm Sunday, 1998.

The Kirk is characterized by a wide variety of programs and activities with enthusiastic lay leadership in all areas.  These include:

  • Worship at 8:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
  • Music ministry: chancel choir, children’s choirs, adult, youth and children’s bell choirs, chimes for senior adults and children, orchestra for 6th graders to adults, special ensembles and vocalist and instrumentalist solo opportunities in worship
  • Workshop or modified workshop rotation Sunday school for preschool through 7th grade
  • Confirmation class during Sunday school for 8th grade and above
  • Energetic and faithful high school and adult Sunday school classes
  • Stephen Ministry providing one-on-one cary Christian relationships
  • Sunday evening youth group for middle and high school youth
  • Yearly youth participation in Montreat & Massanetta Youth Conferences and Appalachia Service Project
  • Presbyterian Women including six active monthly circles and an annual Women’s Retreat
  • Men of the Kirk monthly breakfast meetings
  • Total Life Center (adult day care sponsored by the Council on Aging)
  • Children’s Center (preschool)
  • Boy Scout, Cub Scout and Girl Scout Troops
  • OWLS (Older, Wiser, Loving Seniors)
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Eat with Eight
  • Kirk Classics (formerly 50+)
  • EPIC (Enneagram Paths in Christ)
  • Community Garden
  • Healthy Lifestyles
  • Kirk Outings & Walkers
  • Koinonia (K-Groups) offering fellowship & study in homes

Always reaching out to the community at large, the Kirk works with:

  • Meals on Wheels
  • KOALA – Kirk Outreach After School Learning Academy
  • Helen Wright Center in Raleigh for homeless women
  • WIHN – Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Family Ties – providing Christmas gifts for local families in need
  • Stop Hunger Now – packing thousands of meals in one day to feed the hungry around the world
  • CROP Walk – raising money and awareness to address hunger issues
  • Earthcare Congregation – helping our church and community become good stewards of the earth’s resources


Rev. Dr. Eugene Witherspoon, Jr. 1979 – 1982
Rev. Dr. Roger Jackle 1983 – 1991
Rev. Thomas Spence 1993 – 2002
Rev. Dr. Jody Welker 2004 – present

Associate Pastors

Rev. Deborah Taylor 1989 – 1993
Rev. Joan McCarthy 1995 – 2001
Rev. Sarah Diehl 2000 – 2004
Rev. Stephanie Arnold Workman 2005 – present
Rev. Cathy Church Norman 2005 – 2010
Rev. Melinda Merkley King 2010 – present
Rev. Amanda Golbek 2013 – present

Updated 9/2014