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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PastorsH. 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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