History


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 1996-1997, the Rev. Joel Whiteside 1997-2002. Interim Rev. Cindy Bean came in 2002-2005, the Rev. Robb Dyer from 2005-2012, Interim Rev Andy Clark 2012-2014, the Rev. Rachel Helgeson 2014-2018.

During the late 1990's an extensive renovation was  in place including a 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 inviting.

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 -  Kemmerer Village, Marion Medical Mission, Lifeboat Alliance Homeless Shelter, Christian Outreach, the Ugandan Kids Choir, and many more.

Officers who served the church from 1954-2018, not previously listed in the last history booklet are:

Elders
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			Howard Christ
Eddie Mifflin			Howard Redpath			Sandra Burke
Dorothy Carter			Bill Carter			Helen Mescher
Carl Lincoln Schweinfurth	Tom Ellison			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
Charles Longwell                Laura Richardson                Blake Smith
Margie Hess                     Robert Windhorst                Marcella Dodillet
Ron Gajewski                                        

 

 

Deacons 
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 (M)
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 (M)		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
Norm Miller (M)                 Judy Myers (M)                          Cindy Longwell
Diana Dickneite                 Lynn Neal                               Mike Kujawa
James Barrett                   Helen Mescher                           Mary Gary (M)
Larry Long-Croteau		Bill Gorley				Jim Redpath
Chris Roode (M)                 Justin Oldham                           Kathy Burke
Betty Stelmazecki               Cindy Myers                             Janet Hall
Sue Stewart                     David Bowling                           Sue Tomlin
Pat Burke                                                


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 and in 2007 reduced to 6 members on session and 6 members on deacons.

Presbyterian Women
P. W. still includes every woman in the church. Priscilla, Salt & Light, Ruth and Elizabeth circles were active serving funeral lunches to our church families during their time of need.  Currently Priscilla Circle and Mary Martha Circle are active in the congregation. The Annual Cookie Walk has replaced the 1950’s Annual Bazaar of the Westminster Society before it’s name was changed to P. W. One annual rummage sales 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.

The current youth group (the M&M Crew) refurnished their own youth room under the sanctuary and have been active with an annual trunk or treat project, mission outreach (including the Asheville Youth Mission trip), Biblical Study, and Fellowship (including Spring Fling and summer fun under the sun).


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. Currently the presbyterian men gather for informal fellowship, help care for the grounds of the church, and lead the annual Shrove Pancake Dinner.


Choirs
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 presenedt 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 were part of the music program and occassionally make an appearance in worship.

Currently the music program has hosted guests like Music Central and other friends of the church to assist with the music., The choir participants in the annual Lessons and Carols Service with First United Methodist Church, St Mary's Catholic Church, Prince of Peace Lutheran, and Trinity Episcopal.  Our youth have been encouraged to bring their musical talents to worship through bell ringing, flute playing, and more.


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. Currently there is an adult Sunday School class that explores the bible, theology, spirituality, and current topics and a book study Sunday school class that meets before worship.  The children are welcome to a multi age children's church where they explore their faith in the midst of bible study and understanding.


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.

Current activities include small groups: Dinner D'8, Mission meals, the Advent Festival (family time to explore advent), the FPC Fall Festival, Valentine's tea, and many more.

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.

Pastors

Rev. H. Clay Yates		1895
Rev. Geo. Turner
Rev. E. B. Johnson
Rev.E. B. Surface 		April 1910, disimssed
Rev. W. V. McAdoo 		Sept. 1910  to Dec. 1, 1914
Rev. G. M. Hall  		Feb 1915 to March 31, 1918
Rev. H. M. Thomas 		July 1918 to Dec. 1924
Rev. Owen W. Pratt  		Sept. 1925 to Jan. 1929
Rev. 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: Rev. Gary Burnett 	1996 to 1997
Rev. Dr. Joel Whiteside 	1997 to 2002
Interim: Rev.Cindy Bean 	2002 to 2005
Rev. Robert Dyer                2005 to 2012
Interim: Rev. Andrew Clark      2012 to 2014
Rev. Rachel Helgeson 		2014 to 2018

 

Facts about First Presbyterian Church

1. Nell Thomas was the first woman elder elected to serve at FPC Mt Vernon in 1952

2. Newsletters became part of the church in 1957.

3. FPC Mt Vernon's  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. FPC Mt Vernon sponsored  Boy Scouts in 1925 and continued for many years.

11. In 1921 FPC Mt Vernon was located at  North 10th st. opened its doors to the then segregated “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 FPC Mt Vernon 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. During the past 50 years the FPC Mt Vernon membership has included an Illinois State Representative, 2 city of Mt. Vernon mayors, 2 city managers, judges, and other elected officials.

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

20. Buster Roberts taught a Sunday School class for at least 35 consecutive years

21. In 2002 the first female pastor, Rev. Cindy Bean, was called to serve as FPC Mt Vernon's Interim Pastor.

22. In 2014 Rev. Rachel Helgeson was the first called and installed female pastor at FPC Mt Vernon.

23. FPC Mt Vernon has had wonderful administrative assistants serve including Ruth Harlow, Beth Lamotte, Cheryl Riley, and Betty Stelmazewski

24. FPC Mt Vernon has been happy to have wonderful sextons on staff including Don McLean, Pat Burke, and Meredith Tilley

  December 2017  
SMTWTFS
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31    
Bible Search