First Presbyterian Church of Lincoln prepares for 150th anniversarySend a link to a friend
[JAN. 13, 2007] The First Presbyterian Church of Lincoln is celebrating the founding of the church 150 years ago. On Feb. 11 there will be a worship service featuring special speakers, special music, a PowerPoint presentation and a dinner following. Children of the church will also have a special birthday party. That Sunday will be the highlight of the sesquicentennial year.
The church was founded on Feb. 7, 1857, just four years after the town of Lincoln was christened.
Some activities associated with the sesquicentennial began during 2006. The motto for the event is "Honoring Our Past, Focusing on Our Future"
A chili supper and trivia night kicked off the year of celebration. A cookbook, "Heavenly Helpings," was compiled by church members, using their favorite recipes. The book also contains vintage recipes from church cookbooks of 1906, 1914 and 1953. To initiate sales of the book, there was a potluck featuring dishes made from the recipes. A parlor of the church, now known as the Heritage Room, was renovated to display some historical items of the church.
A history committee is working on a booklet about the families of church members and on updating the church history, with emphasis on the last 50 years.
The present church is the union of four congregations.
The first and largest was the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It was organized Feb. 7, 1857, by a group of 15 men and women. The Rev. Thornton K. Hedges led the organization and became the first pastor. The first services were conducted in the First Ward School, located on the site across from Scully Park that is now known as the city parking lot.
The 15 charter members were Mr. and Mrs. George W. Edgar, Mr. and Mrs. John Howser, Mrs. Thornton K. Hedges, Mr. and Mrs. Johns S. Metcalf, Mr. and Mrs. John Crang, Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Duff, Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Horney, James M. Duff, and Sarah Duff.
In 1858 the congregation erected and dedicated a one-room frame church building at the corner of McLean and Clinton streets. Members of the church, along with others in the community, were instrumental in bringing Lincoln University (now Lincoln College) to town in 1865. The college was affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Many of the members were also involved with the college. With these close ties, church members chose to have the church located nearer to the college.
Two lots were purchased at the corner of Pekin and Ottawa streets, and in 1868 a small brick building was erected with a seating capacity of 360. By the 1890s this was inadequate for the growing congregation, and the building was razed. During the construction of the new church, services were conducted at the Women's Christian Temperance Union.
S.A. Bullard was the architect of the new church. The two-story building in the Romanesque style was brick with a stone foundation, a 108-foot spire at the primary corner, many stained glass windows, the largest auditorium in the city at the time, a kitchen, parlors, Sunday school rooms and a Kimball pipe organ. The dedication of the new church was on May 17, 1896.
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The Rev. Conover of Bloomington, the Rev. Love of Lexington and the Rev. Alexander Downey of Atlanta organized the Old School Presbyterian Church in Lincoln on Oct. 5, 1866, with 27 members. Early services were in the Methodist church then located on the southwest corner of McLean and Pekin streets, the present site of the Lincoln Public Library. In 1868 the Presbyterians purchased this church as the Methodists moved to a new church on Logan Street.
In 1885 the Presbyterian congregation purchased the Congregationalist building, known as Pilgrim Hall, at the corner of Broadway and Ottawa, where the Lincoln Junior High School now stands. The old church site at the corner of McLean and Pekin streets was eventually purchased by the local WCTU organization.
The general denominations of the Old School Presbyterian Church and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church united in 1906 and officially became the Presbyterian Church in the United States. With the union of the two churches in Lincoln, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church building at the corner of Pekin and Ottawa became the home of the unified church, the First Presbyterian Church of Lincoln.
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In 1883 the Cumberland Presbyterian Church organized a mission church, located at the corner of Seventh and College streets, known as the Lincoln Hill Presbyterian Church. Students and faculty of Lincoln College led services during the first years.
Soon a church building was erected on this site. The church became self-supporting, and on July 6, 1904, the Cumberland trustees deeded the church building and land to the congregation, granting the church its formal organization independent of the mother church. T.F. Kerr was the first regular pastor. With the denominational merger in 1906, the Lincoln Hill Presbyterian Church became part of the Presbyterian Church in the United States.
In 1927, through action of the presbytery, the congregation chose to unite with the Presbyterian Church of Lincoln, and the Lincoln Hill Presbyterian Church was dissolved.
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The Presbyterian Church of Union, located north of Lincoln on Nicholson Road in Eminence Township, united with the Presbyterian Church of Lincoln in 1966. The church in Union was organized in 1856 through a series of revivals led by the Rev. Thornton K. Hedges. Arthur and Henry Clay Quisenberry deeded the land for the church in 1859.
Local residents built the original building of hewn logs. It was extensively remodeled into a brick structure in 1925. When there were no regular pastors, the students and faculty of Lincoln College served the church. In later years the First Presbyterian Church of Lincoln pastor was the stated supply pastor for the church. Throughout the years, Sunday school was an important aspect of the Union church for members and their children.
The merger service took place in the First Presbyterian Church of Lincoln on Jan. 9, 1966. The chapel in the First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln is named the Union Chapel in honor of the Union church.
Changes and improvements
The present Lincoln church underwent a major building and renovation project in 1977. The church sanctuary was renovated to reflect a starkly simple and modern decor, central air conditioning was added, and the Union Chapel was created. In addition, a one-story brick Christian Education Building was built adjoining the church to the east, with a modern kitchen and a large multiuse room.
Other improvements include a carillon that plays at noon and 6 p.m. each day, landscaping of the grounds, and a Peace Garden.
In 2001, the sanctuary was remodeled to a more traditional manner in softer tones of tan, beige and natural oak.
Since 1978 the deacons of the church have sponsored a pork barbecue and ice cream social. Each year this has become a larger event, with the proceeds going to various mission projects in the community.
An ongoing mission of the church is supporting the local food pantry, as members bring in food items that are placed in grocery carts and taken to the food pantry by church members who volunteer their time there.
A scholarship fund was established in honor of the late Rev. Bruce Allison. Over the years 19 members of the church have received this financial award enabling them to pursue their education.
The youth sell sub sandwiches each year at Super Bowl time to help earn money for a summer mission trip.
On Sunday morning, activities include choir practice, coffee hour, worship service and Sunday school. On Wednesday evenings there are youth activities, confirmation class and adult worship.
Over the past 50 years five ministers have served the congregation. The Rev. John T. Burns served from 1946 through 1964, the Rev. Paul L. Salansky from 1965 through 1976, the Rev. Bruce M. Allison from 1976 through 1990, the Rev. Paul E. Gilmore from 1992 through 2002, and currently the Rev. Phillip Blackburn is the pastor.
From 15 men and women in 1857 to 2002 members 150 years later, First Presbyterian Church at 301 Pekin St. still continues to proclaim God's love, to serve others and to glorify God's name.
Another Lilly grant to WorldViewEyes Send a link to a friend
[JAN. 13, 2007] The Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis has just awarded its fifth grant to the WorldViewEyes program at Lincoln Christian College and Seminary. The latest grant amount of $56,150 brings the total of Lilly funding for the program to $972,530. The program began in 2000 in response to the endowment's incentive to "stimulate and nurture an excitement about theological learning" and to "identify and encourage a new generation of young Christians to consider vocations in Christian ministry."
According to Dr. Rich Knopp, the grant writer and program director, "Lincoln has had a strong worldview orientation in its curriculum and on its campus since the 1970s, so we designed WorldViewEyes to reflect that emphasis. It is a natural extension of the institution's mission, which is 'to nurture and equip Christians with a biblical worldview to serve and lead in the church and the world.'"
WorldViewEyes has pursued a variety of activities to help Christian youth and adults expand their minds, engage their culture, evaluate non-Christian beliefs and embrace a consistently lived biblical worldview. Since its inception the program has:
The latest Lilly grant will primarily fund two basic activities: a youth and youth worker seminar and a new educational event for local churches called the Bible and Worldview Institute.
The seminar will lead youth and youth workers to deepen their understanding of the Christian worldview and how they can apply it critically but compassionately to their complex world of multimedia influences and alternative philosophies and religions. The seminar is scheduled for June 17-23 on the Lincoln campus and will also include a trip to Chicago.
The new Bible and Worldview Institute will be offered in a weekend format in local churches to help both older and newer Christians understand the worldview of Scripture and how to live it daily.
The need for such an institute was especially exposed by the research of George Barna, who claims that while 38 percent of Americans may be classified as "born again," only 9 percent of those adults and just 2 percent of those teens have a truly biblical worldview. By contrast, over 90 percent of teens who regularly attended church say that they know the Bible stories and the Bible characters. As a result, Barna concludes that "for most teenagers who have spent years attending church activities, their faith is not integrated into who they are and how they live."
"And unfortunately," says Knopp, "the same is true for many adults, and we need to change that."
Knopp says that LCCS, which boasts a 1,200-student college and seminary campus, a visionary administration and reputable faculty, and a fully accredited, newly instituted doctoral program, is in a strategic position to make a significant difference. With the resources of the Lilly Endowment and LCCS, the Bible and Worldview Institute will lead Christians to comprehend the biblical worldview, to understand its philosophical and religious alternatives, and to live its obligations and implications in every part of their lives. It will incorporate quality multimedia and resource materials and employ a variety of scholars and speakers affiliated now or in the past with the college or seminary.
The institute will be developed in cooperation with the school's Church Leader Network, which is under the direction of Don Green, vice president of church development.
Dr. Keith Ray, LCCS president, recognizes that the value of the new grant is more than just money: "This recent grant is another confirmation that Lincoln is making its mark around the country and the world regarding the place of Christian worldview thinking in higher education," he said. "We are pleased that the Lilly Endowment has partnered with us so generously over the years and that our students are the primary beneficiary of this endeavor."
[Lincoln Christian College and Seminary news release]
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