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 Jefferson County Illinois
First Presbyterian Church


First Presbyterian Church

Pastor: Rev. Robert Dyer
Submitted By: First Presbyterian Church

Supplement - October 17, 2004

After celebrating the 100th Anniversary in Feb., 1954 the church continued its active spiritual life under Dr. Robert Guthrie, who served as Pastor from 1929 until 1957. Rev. Robert Freytag, who served as Asst. Pastor from 1955 until 1957, then became Pastor. After 61 years, with only 2 Pastors, (Guthrie, 28 yrs and Freytag, 33 yrs) the church experienced a “new-age pattern” of job changing more often. Rev. Dr. Geary Scott served from 1991-1995, Interim Rev. Gary Burnett 1966-1997, the Rev. Joel Whiteside 1997-2002. Interim Rev. Cindy Bean came in 2002 and is capably guiding the Congregation through another phase of its “faith journey”.

During the past 9 years an extensive renovation has been in progress - new roof, furnace, electrical wiring with better circuitry, new bathrooms, air conditioners, insulation, tempered glass windows, lighting steel doors, kitchen entrance ramp with overhang, repaved parking lots. The Guthrie Room, Freytag Room, kitchen and Fellowship Hall had changes in flooring, ceilings, windows, and lighting. New islands were installed in the kitchen as well as new counter tops for the cabinets, which were given a facelift. The bell tower was tuck-pointed and other major repairs were made. The youth Sunday school rooms upstairs and down in the “dungeon” were given a new look to make them more “child friendly”.

The congregation, from its inception in 1854, has always been active in civic activities and organizations, which emphasized helping others. Among the many projects within the church - Health Ministry, Project Excel Tutoring for Mt. Vernon Schools, Kemmerer Village, Habitat for Humanity, Wells for Malawi, Tools for Hope, and many more.

Officers who served the church from 1954-2004, not previously listed in the last history booklet are:

			Walton Gillespie,		Howard Paisley			A. G. Packwood
			Art Milward			Blanche Packwood		Albert Schroeder
			Harold Lorimer,			Mary Lewis			Chester Lewis
			Vivian Taylor 			R. G. Hardy			John Jacobsen
			John Stables	 		Earl Krueger			Clifton Harp
			Christina Stables		Earl Mannen			Edward Rue
 			Amy Krebs			Dr. Wm. Grant			Mary Ann Parker
			Robert Krebs			Dr. Curtis Parker		Nan Bellah
			Joe Herbst			Joe Bellah			Sam Shaw
			Edward Hill			John Bugal			Lowell Dearinger
			Harry Dennan			Joseph Dull			Doris Olson
			Joseph Snider			Phyllis Roffmann		Harold Roffmann
			Lynn Welge			Kenneth Setzekorn		William Sapp
			Ed Gieselman, Jr.		Dr. John Alford			Ron Mann
			E. E. Curtis, Sr.		Leon Hall			Elizabeth Hall
			Marcella Dodillet		Darrel Dodillet			Carl Stephens
			George Baggott			Fred Poole			Elford Roberts
			Eugene Irvin			Martha Jane Pearson		Chris Pearson
			Paula Windhorst			Elmer Windhorst			Ruth Harlow
			Dorothy Regenhardt		Bruce Carkin			Moss Threlkeld
			Dr. Kelly Berkley		Hobart Smith			John Cappellin
			Gerry Dorris			John Thompson			Arva Holmes
			Lyle Snyder			Harold White			Darleen Dycus
			John Turrell			Morris Wood			Harold Christ
			Eddie Mifflin			Howard Redpath			Sandra Burke
			Dorothy Carter			Bill Carter			Helen Mescher
			Carl Lincoln Schweinfurth					Linda Anderson
			Dale Anderson			John Clutts			Pauline Gardiner
			Alton Blackmon, Sr.		John Lipps			Dorothy Logan
			Lucille Dull			Joan Mann			Fred Brown
			Tim Neubauer			Robert McClinton III		Mildred Cox
			Deanne Mowrer			Wm. Regenhardt			Maxine Jones
			Douglas Kroeschen		Debbie Kroeschen		Lana Meyer
			Nancy Ruthledge			Debby Glassman			Charles Lucas
			Larry Jukes			Emily Rogers			Mike Badgett
			Dr. Linden Pearson		Luz Pearson			James Duncan
			Warren Loar IV			Kathy Stephens			David Stephens
			Jon Neubauer			Shelly Wilt			Dee Hercules
			Richard Kocolowski		Judy Windhorst			Karen Mayberry
			Margie Hess			Gary Mann			Bill Roberts
			Susan Gajewski			Jonathan Rue			Mark Tate
			Vince Waters			Joann Nelson			Don Nelson
			Tom Nichols			Robin Bullock			Bill Shelton
			Mark Hoard			Bill Pfeifer			Jim Bushong
			Jamie Bushong			Marcia Long-Croteau		Marion Perry
			Marcia Ellison			Gary Huntman			Mike Richardson
			Robert Whindhorst		

Deacons 1958 - 2004
			Ed Gieselman Jr.		Delbert Sigwerth			Mary Ann Parker
			Dr. M. M. Lumbattis		Nan Bellah				Joe Bellah
			Alma Schroeder			Walter Schroeder			Betty Sigwerth
			Kay Richardson			Harlow Richardson			Dorothy Ham
			Courtney Ham			Helen Wheeler				Mae Love
			Jim Love			Dorothy Regenhardt			Bill Regenhardt
			June Johnson			Carl Johnson		      		Blanche Packwood
			LaVerne Creel			Newton Creel				Lois Olson
			Leon Hall			Elizabeth Hall				Joan Mann
			Elmer Windhorst			Pauline Windhorst			Flo DeLand
			Ken DeLand			Gene Irvin				Betty Irvin
			Bruce Carkin			Robert Pullis				Eddie Mifflin
			Wanda Mifflin			Byron Rucker				Lois Rucker
			Rachel Gearheart		William Kyle				E.H. Roberts
			Frank Webb			Robert Cherry				James Cooper
			Helen Mescher			George Mescher				Janet Jones
			Casey Jones Jr.			Moss Threlkeld				Doris Threlkeld
			Ruby Wilson			Bill Hollenbach				Gerry Dorris
			Edward Hill			Jack Thompson				Hobart Smith
			Lucille Dull			Arva Holmes				Sherry McBride
			Sonda Redpath			Howard Redpath				Darleen Dycus
			Dorothy Logan			Zedward Logan				John Turrel
			Morris Wood			Earlene Christ				Howard Christ
			Vern Neece			Robert McClinton III			Thomas Burke
			Bill Richard			Chris Pearson Jr.			Marcella Dodillet
			Dorothy Heersma			Dr. Travis Marlin			Dorothy Carter
			Bill Carter			John Clutts				Pauline Cardiner
			Belle Little			Charles Bridges				Dean Parker
			Marc Schwengel			Soncie Martin				John Martin
			Marie Williams			Roger Williams				Fred Brown
			Dorothy Huffman			Jane Miller				Ken Miller
			Mildred Cox			David Mowrer				Deanne Mowrer
			Joel Harris			Debbie Kroeschen			Doug Koeschen
			Judy Windhorst 			Robert Windhorst			Chris Engler
			Linda Anderson			Charles Lucas				Roger Meister
			Mike Badgett			Warren Loar IV				Lana Mayer
			Shelley Wielt			Debbie Pillars				Ed Curtis III
			Dee Hercules			Jonathan Rue				Gayle Shelton
			Gary Mann			Sandra Burke				Rae Ann Kniffen
			Joann Nelson			Don Nelson				Luz Pearson
			Dr. Linden Pearson		Jamie Badgett Bushong			Rod Hilburn
			Karen Mayberry			Shon Duncan				James Duncan
			Margie Hess			Nancy Rutheldge				Vince Waters
			Kathy Stephens			Gary Huntman				Jane Richardson
			Mike Richardson			Kathryn Outland				Donna Clutts
			Debby Classman			Larry Jukes				Linda Rowland
			George Rowland			Lonnie Bewernitz			Emily Rogers
			Brian Christ			Richard Kocolowski			Jon Newbauer
			Sarah Lou Bicknell		William Brinkley			Becky Roberts
			Bill Roberts			Katie Bryan				Susan Gajewski
			Stacy Tate			Mark Tate				Jim Bushong
			Julie Shneider			Debbie Jones				Tom Nichols
			Laura Richardson		Robin Bullock				Mark Hart
			Esther Duff			Bob Michaud				Laura Michaud
			Lisa Ellis			Jim Ferland				Cindy Hoard
			Donna Houseworth		Julie Shepard				Barbara Pfeifer
			Larry Long-Croteau		Bill Gorley				Jim Redpath
			Sue Stewart	

The Board of Trustees and Board of Elders were changed to a Unicameral Board of Elders of 12 members in 1960, (session). In 1958 Deacons were reinstated after many years. The first woman Elder was Nell Thomas, elected in 1952. The first full time secretary was Ruth Harlow (1957-1990). She and Rev. Freytag worked together for 33 years. They also gave birth to the first church newsletter in 1957. The Session voted to reduce the number of Elders and Deacons to 12 to 9 members in 2001.

Presbyterian Women
P. W. still includes every woman in the church. Priscilla, Salt & Light, Ruth and Elizabeth circles keep active serving funeral lunches to our church families during their time of need. The Annual Cookie Walk has replaced the 1950’s Annual Bazaar of the Westminster Society before it’s name was changed to P. W. Two rummage sales (fall and spring) along with the Cookie Walk are major fund-raisers, which help P. W. support their mission projects, the upkeep of the Guthrie Room and the kitchen. Circles meet monthly for Bible Study and Christian Fellowship. The Work of Presbyterian Women touches all church members in many ways, as well as serving the community, nation and overseas with its many projects.

Youth Programs
During the past 50 years, many positive youth programs have been offered. The Sub (a downtown teen center) was sponsored and operated by our church. It was open to any Mt. Vernon High School student who wanted to join, with the reservation that they must attend their church of choice regularly. The Sub was open for approximately 25 years (1942- late 60’s)

The Westminster Fellowship (H.S. age) and Presbyteens (Jr. High age) continued to meet on Sunday evenings with Bible Study, refreshments and many special activities such as hay-rides, roller skating, lock-ins, bowling and volleyball. During the past 50 years there have been many parents, couples without children, and singles who were willing volunteers to be Advisors for the youth groups of this church.

The first Christian Ed. Director was hired in 1959. Since that time there have been several part-time C.E. Directors who have guided the Sunday School, as well as youth activities, on ski trips, camping trips, mission trips to Colorado, Hawaii, visiting shut-ins in Mt. Vernon, taking meals to shut-ins, and many other projects. Church league basketball was popular with our teenage boys and attracted their friends from other churches, which did not have a team, to join us. First Presbyterian had the only church gym (Fellowship Hall)in town until the mid 70’s.

Presbyterian Men
In the 50’s the Men’s Club meet for breakfast and prayer at the L& N Cafe early Sunday morning before church. Later, they began having pancake breakfast in the church kitchen early on Sunday mornings before church, and still do. They also enjoy fellowship cookouts in the shelter behind the church. Building a shelter was one of the ideas conceived by their group. It was also the Men’s Club who spear headed the projects of the sound system in the sanctuary and the brick lawn sign on the front lawn of the church. In the mid 70’s a Church League Softball Team was organized. First Presbyterian men and boys (ages 15-65) enjoyed playing softball together and brought some trophies back to the church. Several of the players were father and son.

During the past 50 years the chancel choir has had some great singers, choir directors and organist. Our directors included some wonderful, talented people of Jewish, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, and yes, Presbyterian faiths. Through the years there have been many people who have committed time to serve God with their special talents of music. The choir made recordings in the 60’s, held annual Good Friday concerts with guest soloists, and still present an annual Christmas Candlelight Service, at which time some deserving couple or person is awarded the Choir Candle. Memorable was the trombone quartet at the Easter Morning Service and the Men’s Choir in the 70’s. The choir has always been an active, willing group who take part as individuals in other church and community activities. One of our members, Helen Wheeler, sang in the choir for 75 years. That is commitment !

The high school, Junior, Cherub and Bell Choirs have been a part of the music program in the past 50 years. Although their appearance is not regular, they give a performance on special days as well as Easter and Christmas. It is a joy for the congregation to hear the young voices.

Sunday School
Classes for all ages have always been available at First Presbyterian. Throughout the 150 years many capable volunteers have given their talents to teach Bible classes. There were awards given for perfect attendance, learning Bible verses, and the books in the Bible. There are those who cherish these awards as well as remember their teachers. At the present time there are 2 classes for the youth, a multi-age class includes pre-school-Grade 5, middle school class - Grades 6-8. There are two adult classes, the Traditional Bible Class and a Contemporary Topics Class.

Family Fellowship
First Presbyterian has sponcered Progressive dinners, Fellowship dinners, trips to Cardinal baseball games in St. Louis, worship in New Harmony, Indiana and at Camp Carew, hayrides, square dances, pancake suppers, church clean-up days, discussion groups, game night for families, all of which promote fellowship within our congregation.

Our present congregation is small but has alot of love, faith and energy to serve its members, community and above all - GOD.

Visitors and prospective members are always welcome to worship at 2424 Broadway, where beautiful hand-carved wood art and symbolism is used to express some of the great truths of our faith.


H. Clay Yates			1895
Geo. Turner
E. B. Johnson
E. B. Surface 			April 1910, disimssed
W. V. McAdoo 			Sept. 1910  to Dec. 1, 1914
G. M. Hall  			Feb 1915 to March 31, 1918
H. M. Thomas 			July 1918 to Dec. 1924
Owen W. Pratt  			Sept. 1925 to Jan. 1929
Dr. Robert Guthrie  		April 1929 to 1957
Rev. Robert Freytag  		Asst. Pastor - 1955 to 1957	Pastor - 1957-1990
Rev. Geary Scott 		1991 to 1995
Interim: Gary Burnett 		1996 to 1997
Rev. Dr. Joel Whiteside 	1997 to 2002
Interim: Cindy Bean 		2002 to 2005
Rev. Robert Dyer 		2005 to present

Facts about First Presbyterian Church

1. The first woman elder was not elected until 1952

2. Newsletters became part of the church in 1957.

3. Our first full time secretary was Ruth Harlow in 1957

4. The first Christian Ed. Director, Byron Emmerson,was hired in 1959. (He also served as organist and choir director.)

5. Deacons were reinstated in this church in 1958

6. Trustees became elders when the Unicameral System was adopted in 1960.

7. The budget in 1960 was $35,450.00.

8. The high school Westminster Fellowship had 49 members in 1956-1957.

9. By 1974, there had only been 11 women elders.

10. This church was sponsoring Boy Scouts in 1925 and continued for many years.

11. In 1921 our church on N. 10th st. opened its doors to the “colored school” to hold it’s graduation exercises as well the Methodist to have a conference.

12. Illinois Governor Louis L. Emmerson and his wife, Annie, were members of this church from 1986 until they passed away. Annie was 98 yrs. 9 mo. 20 days when she departed this earth.

13. All three of the Mt. Vernon, Illinois High School State Championship Basketball coaches were members of this church: Floyd Stables 1920, Stan Changnon 1949 & 1950, and Harold Hutchins 1954.

14. Kneeling bench and the present red theatre seats where installed in 1955.

15. Stained glass windows were installed in 1956.

16. The first air conditioner was installed in 1957.

17. The Cassavant Organ was installed in 1961.

18. Do you know when the Baptismal font was carved and where it is now?

19. Do you know when the Manse was sold?

20. During the past 50 years our membership has included an Illinois State Representative, 2 city of Mt. Vernon mayors and 2 city managers.

21. The Carillon is a memorial to Kevin Freytag (son of Rev. Bob and Sue Freytag who passed away at the age of 11.)

22. Buster Roberts has been teaching a Sunday School class for at least 35 consecutive years.


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