When we say “church family” to describe Marshall Cumberland Presbyterian Church we mean it in the very best sense of the phrase. Our congregation is warm and inviting, gifted, active, compassionate and caring. We have a heart for loving God and loving our neighbors in His name…whether they are across the street or across the globe. Our desire is to fulfill God’s Great Commission (Matthew 28: 19-20) and God’s Great Commandment (Matthew 22: 36-40). We are active in ministries to needy people in our community and mission outreach in far-off lands. Our calling is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who have never believed or heard it before and to help all believers find their place to best serve in the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12: 7). Our services are informal and personal. Music and drama are integral to our worship experiences. You are always welcome at Cumberland….We’re small enough to know you, large enough to serve you.
Pastor Randy Shannon is a retired high school teacher who has lived and worked in the Marshall community his entire life. He has served congregations in the United Methodist Church, the Christian Church (Disciples) and the Presbyterian Church (USA). He holds a Bachelor of Science in Education degree and a Master of Arts from Central Missouri State University. Randy taught social studies, speech and drama for 27 years. His love of music and drama is evident to anyone who visits Cumberland for any length of time. He completed the Program for Alternate Studies and was ordained in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 2008. He and his wife, Vicki, have two children, Jon and Bethany. Jon and his wife, Kelly, have two children, Laura and John David and live in Overland Park, KS. Bethany is married to Ryan Spilhaus and lives in Kansas City. They have a son, Griffin. Randy feels blessed to be serving where he believes God has called him to serve
As a "presbyterian" church, Cumberland is governed by elders. The word translated in your Bible as "elder" comes from the Greek word "presbuteros." In the Cumberland Presbyterian Church we believe that people are called to this leadership position: once they accept that call they are ordained in a service that includes the Biblical practice of other elders laying their hands on them in prayer. Once an elder, you will remain one all your life--unless you remove your membership from the church or are disciplined for living in a manner contrary to the faith. Some elders are "active" elders...that means they are serving on the governing body of the church at the current time. The body that governs each local congregation is known as a "session." Those elders who are not serving actively on the session are considered elders still, but "inactive." The Marshall Cumberland Presbyterian Church, by action taken at the Congregational Meeting Dec. 3, 2018, set the number of elders on our session at 7.
Our church is part of a gathering of Cumberland churches called the Missouri Presbytery. The presbytery is in charge of the care of all congregations in their region and their pastors. All Cumberland Presbyteries belong to a higher group known as a Synod and all the Synods are under the guidance of the General Assembly. Think of this system as a system of indirect representation much like the U.S. government.
The denominational website is found at www.cumberland.org
Our beliefs are summarized in a document called "Confession of Faith for Cumberland Presbyterians." These beliefs are based on our interpretation of Scripture. Our Confession of Faith says: "God's words and actions in creation, providence, judgment, and redemption are witnessed to by the covenant community in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. God inspired persons of the covenant community to write the scriptures. In and through the scriptures God speaks about creation, sin, judgment, salvation, the church and the growth of believers. The scriptures are the infallible rule of faith and practice, the authoritative guide for Christian living." (COF 1.04 and 1.05)
You can learn more about Cumberland Presbyterians by visiting the denominational website
The Cumberland Presbyterian denomination had its beginning when a small group of ministers and congregations on February 4, 1810 left the Presbyterian Church and formed a new presbytery (known as the Cumberland Presbytery) on the frontier lands of Kentucky and Tennessee (founding cabin pictured at right). The separation was due to disagreements on education and ordination of ministers, interpretations of the doctrine of predestination, and the proper response to the revival on the frontier in the early 1800’s. Cumberland Presbyterians believed in salvation for “whosoever will” believe, embraced the revival on the frontier and wanted to expedite the education and ordination of new pastors to do the work of sharing the Good News of Christ. Their fervor quickly spread westward to the state of Missouri and beyond.
Marshall (Missouri) Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized August 16, 1871 when a group of 17 people began meeting in a small frame house in west Marshall. In 1884, Rev. James E. Sharp became the pastor of the church and launched a pair of ambitious building projects: the first was the establishment of Missouri Valley College in Marshall (1889) and the second was the building of a new church (1890) on Odell Street (which was known first as the “Cumberland Presbyterian Church” and more recently was known as “Odell Avenue Presbyterian Church”).
In the early 1900’s--after nearly a century of separation--a movement to re-unite the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. grew in momentum. Many of the differences which had separated the two groups during the frontier days of American expansion seemed to have disappeared with the settling of the West and the end of the frontier. Both denominations voted in their General Assemblies of 1906 to seek union. Many congregations, however, including Marshall Cumberland Presbyterian Church, were fiercely divided on the issue of union. The result of the union debate was a large number of the membership (164 persons) withdrew from the older church to maintain a Cumberland Presbyterian congregation in Marshall.
With no legal claim to their old building—which now became Odell Avenue Presbyterian Church *—the Cumberland members held services in homes and various halls in the downtown Marshall area until a stucco church building could be built (in 1916) at the corner of North Street and Odell (across from the current Marshall Cinema building). Due to the lack of parking space, the many steep steps, and the condition of the building, a decision was made in 1972 to sell the building and build a new church at 1000 S. Miami (our current location). The new building incorporated the stained glass windows and light fixtures of the old church in its design. An inaugural worship service was held there on December 10, 1972. Our current pastor, Randy Shannon, is the twenty sixth pastor since the 1906 union was rejected.
*The Odell Avenue Presbyterian Church was abandoned when the congregation built a new building on East Yerby Street in Marshall and adopted the name Covenant Presbyterian Church. After serving as the license bureau and an automotive parts building the original brick building was destroyed by fire in the 1980's