(information up to 1976 was written in a previous article Compiled by
Herschel H. Rayle, who served as Clerk of Session at the time)
A group of dedicated Presbyterians who had come here from various parts of the country decided that it was an opportune time to establish a church. In September a charter was received from the Presbytery of Neosho, upon which the names of nine charter members were written
The Osawatomie Presbyterian church was organized by the Rev. A.M. Mann, W.H. Humphrey and Elder P. Fales with eighteen members.
Endeavor society was one of the first organized in the state of Kansas
The preaching of Rev. Mann and his personal popularity, strengthened and inspired the membership so much that they decided to build their own church home. It was necessary and so agreed upon, that they decided to build on the pay-as-you-go plan.Thus, the struggle began.
Missionary Society was formed
The Old Stone Church had been sold to the Protestant Episcopal membership. During the building of the Presbyterian Church, the Episcopalians disbanded and united with the Presbyterian.They brought with them their church pews and their bell from the Old Stone Church tower.The new building, still unfinished, was first occupied at the close of the year.
1895 One year later, the interior of the church was plastered.
Due to the pay-as-you-go plan, it was not until August 16, 1901, that the formal dedication was held.
The west stained glass windows were dedicated to the mothers & fathers of the church by the Men’s Bible Class.
The south window was given by the women of the church as a memorial to Mrs. Stokes, who for many years led the choir and was the church organist.
The east bay windows were presented by the Sunflower Class.They were dedicated to the women of the church who had worked so faithfully, and to the women of the future who would carry on the work.
Other windows were given by families and individuals.
The lumber for the first board sidewalk around the church building was purchased by the Junior Christian Endeavor Society.
Congregational Church in Osawatomie was dissolved and the membership joined the Presbyterians.
During the First World War, it became necessary to hold joint services with the Baptist parishioners.The Rev. Moore, a Baptist Minister, served both churches.The membership began to fall while the church was out of debt, for the first time since the building was erected, much had been lost spiritually and the members suffered from a lack of interest
A basement was put under the church and a north wing was added.Somehow, the church survived the next five years of turmoil, brought on by the aftermath of World War One, the effects of a nationwide railroad strike upon a small railroad town, and the political upheaval and unrest that followed these events.
The church chandelier was presented by the Christian Endeavor as a memorial to Dr. Halsell, whose light had guided them for nine years.
The men of the church built and installed and electrically lighted bulletin board on the front lawn.It was the first of its kind in Osawatomie.
The long dreamed of Pipe Organ was placed on order with the Reuter Organ Company of Lawrence, Kansas.
The interior of the church was remodeled.The sanctuary was changed from a semi-circular seating plan to a due north and south direction.New pews were purchased and the pulpit, organ and choir loft were all moved to the north end of the worship area.
The membership and attendance increased and it was necessary to build more classrooms. Again, as with the first building, the pay-as you go plan was decided upon. Some $30,000.00 had been pledged before the work was started.
The contractor, Edgar H. Mann, was a member of the church.
The old frame building was jacked up and moved 8’ to the north
a 24’ addition was added on the south end.
An entirely new full basement was dug.
The front addition was of brick veneer
The west side of the old structure was veneered to match the front.
The interior was plastered with a light green colored plaster.
The bell tower was eliminated in the new building.The bell and pews, originally brought from the Old Stone Church by the Episcopalians, were returned to the place from whence they came, some seventy five years before.
The dedication service was held on November 16th.
The seventy-fifth anniversary was observed in the new building December 2nd.
The First Presbyterian Church was part of a three point parish with the Rantoul Presbyterian Church, Southridge Presbyterian Church and the Miami Presbyterian Church.Rev. Alan B. Smith was pastor and Mr. Bruce OZias was the assistant to the Pastor serving the Rantoul and Spring Ridge churches.The parishes joined together during special times like Holy Week and Vacation Bible School.
The sanctuary was redecorated, some paneling work done in the chancel area and new carpeting installed.
The church was fully air conditioned
Our 1933 hymnals were donated to an overseas mission.
The Session voted to celebrate the sacrament of communion monthly rather than quarterly.
A new bulletin board was constructed by member Bob Wilson.
The church celebrated its centennial & in honor of the occcasion, new choir chairs were purchased for the chancel.
Our church joined efforts with the community food pantry which continues through today.
The church hosted its first Easter Breakfast.
The Session of First Presbyterian extended a call to Rev. Leslie Murphy. She had six months of seminary to complete. Arriving in June of 1994.
The women of the church moved their meetings from weekdays at 1:00 to evening meetings that met in the home of various women.The early group was called Helping Hands and continues today as Women’s Group.
The first Chili Soup Fundraiser was held.The net profit was $1069.00 but the true wealth came in that everyone worked together.
The church took over the John Brown Jamboree Cookout in the park. Another great opportunity to work together & see our friends in the community.
The West Stained Glass window was restored and the congregation raised $11,000.00 in just two months. The Narthex, was also remodeled
The Southern stained glass windows and pipe organ were restored.
New staff positions were created: Youth Director and Information & Technology Coordinator.
A video & sound system was installed allowing the worship service to be viewed real-time in fellowship hall to ease sanctuary space restrictions.
The congregation purchased and renovated the old Eddy House to the east of our main church building. It became known as Presbyterian Place.
It was a banner year of worship attendance as everyone pulled together.
The mortgage on Presbyterian Place ($90,000) was burned.The house was filled with Christian Education classrooms and youth programming.
The Christian Education committee expanded their efforts into Summer Sunday school and worship attendance increased dramatically.
The Chili/Soup Fundraiser outgrew Fellowship Hall so it was moved to the City Auditorium.
Certainly a year known for its music.The congregation enjoyed terrific music weekly from the KU school of music, our own choir as well as Nathan and Jason Young.
Our choir was envigorated at the hiring of Mr. Chris McBride.
In the fall, the KU school of music was further resourced to provide a Strings Program for community children.The relationship with KU was the vision of Jim Zakoura, member of the church and a child who grew up in Osawatomie.
The two properties of the Main Church Building & Presbyterian Place are replatted into one property in preparation for the 2009 building project.
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