We, the people of this church and congregation, now consecrating ourselves anew, dedicate this entire House of the Lord, for the worship of Almighty God, and to the service of our fellow men, in the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen. (Order of Worship, October 27, 1935.)
To celebrate the new church building on North Market Street, the church held a series of morning and evening services from Sunday, October 27 through November 1, 1935. The wider community participated in these special worship events.
On Sunday Miss Aretes Evans, pianist and choir director, played a prelude from Beethoven, and led the congregation with hymns, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “Praise Him,” “Sprit of God, Descend Upon my Heart,” and “When Jesus Comes to Reward His Servants,” from the Tabernacle Hymns. The Egyptian male quartet also sang. Pastor, Rev. Arthur E. Powell introduced the visiting minister, Rev. Earl C. Morgan, D.D., the Synod’s Field Representative of the Board of Christian Education, for the dedicatory sermon. The congregation gathered for a basket lunch in the basement followed by a program of “reading messages from former pastors and friends and greetings from visiting friends.”
The choir was expected at every service of the week, especially since, the program said, “at least two churches, who had planned to help us with their choirs, cannot be with us.”
On Monday Rev. O.H. Swockard, president of the Ministerial Alliance led the service and a duet from the Christian Church sang. Mrs. T.K. Harwell, Sunday School Superintendent, was in charge of Tuesday’s service. Rev. Irving A. West, minister of Harrisburg Presbyterian Church delivered the sermon joined by his “fine Junior Choir of 30 voices.”
Wednesday’s service was for gifts and memorials; Thursday the young people were in charge, led by Mr. Fran Powell. The speaker was new pastor, Rev. K.A. Larson from the Eldorado Presbyterian Church. On Friday church celebrated “Family Fellowship Night,” and the week ended on Sunday, November 3 with a special consecration service, reception of new members, and baptisms.
On January 16, 1973 the Marion Daily Republican newspaper displayed a large photo of Jack Giles, clerk of session, holding a burning $50,000 mortgage, lit by Oldham Paisley, for the new church building on South Carbon Street. They were flanked by Joe Randolph, Lenora Fozzard, C.N. Anderson, Ray Harris, John Geittman, and Don Ridgley.
The church celebrated being debt-free for the “first time in the memory of many of the present members.” Pastor Rev. David McChesney presided over the special day’s ceremony. The newspaper reported the church had a balance of $10,000 and a 1973 budget of $30,000––and pledges to cover the budget!
Mrs. Geraldine Legg and daughters, Judy, and Laura, contributed the artwork on the program cover for the church’s Sixty-Fourth anniversary, November 7, 1971. Mrs. John Johnson and Mrs. William A. Peck co-chaired the event. On the agenda for the day were a continental breakfast in the morning and a potluck in the evening (table arrangements by Mrs. Ralph Richey). On the program were solos by Mrs. Geraldine Legg, “The Lord’s Prayer” and the “Holy City,” accompanied by Mrs. Max Meier on the harp and a presentation, “Journey to the Orient,” by Mr. Oldham Paisley. Mr. Don Ridgley presented the church history. Elder John Giles read the names
of charter members and recognized 50-year members. Also on the program Rev. McChesney acknowledged guests and new members, and Elder John Johnson presented special awards. Mrs. Geraldine Legg led gospel singing, accompanied by Mrs. Lawrence Bouas on the piano.
September 16, 2007, marked the dedication of the new sanctuary banners, stitched by Judith Fosse, with the help of Betty Richey and Marlene Rich.
Banner 1: “The proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind.” The book represents the Scriptures. The dove rising from the Scriptures, indicates the source of both the original witness and our present understanding. The same Spirit that inspired the original writers must work in us if we are to receive the gospel. The cross behind the book and dove reminds us the heart of the gospel is Jesus Christ, God with and for us.
Banner 2: “The shelter, nurture and spiritual fellowship of the children of God.” The multihued hands represent all the children of God. The dove’s wings are tipped downward as the dove hovers protectively over God’s people. The triangle of light links the dove to the people.
Banner 3: “The maintenance of divine worship.” The cup represents the Lord’s Supper and the three drops of water, baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The dove reminds us that the same Spirit is present in the Sacraments as in the proclamation of the gospel. The Sacraments enact the gospel. The raised arms signify our praise, thanksgiving, and worship of the living God.
Banner 4: “The preservation of the truth.” The banner represents the light of truth. A dove reminds us that the truth we proclaim, Jesus Christ, God with and for us. “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
Banner 5: “The promotion of social righteousness.” The banner represents Amos 5:24: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.”
Banner 6: “The exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven.” The dove is in flight over the globe. In her mouth is an olive branch, echoing Genesis 8:11, “ and lo, in her mouth a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.” This represents the eighth day of creation, God’s grace coming into the world, the reign of God proclaimed by Jesus Christ. The light behind the globe represents dawn, the dawning of God’s kingdom.
The 100th Anniversary
On November 11, 2007, Marion First Presbyterian spent a joyous Sunday in celebration of one hundred years in service to God. Former members came from far and wide. Pastors Reverend Doctor Joseph Van Roekel, Rev. Byron York, and Rev. Marlin Otte were among the special guests. Rev. David McChesney traveled from Ocala,
Florida, to deliver the sermon. His wife, Anna, joined him, as well as daughter Carol and her husband Alan from Decatur, Georgia, and son John from Richmond, Virginia. The choir, led by musicians Rev. Herb Goeltzer, Nancy Doerge, and Granger Odum, presented anthems “Over My Head” and “He’s Never Forsaken Me Yet.” After the
service, the congregation and guests took a short intermission and reassembled in the sanctuary to sing praise songs and for presentations. Pastor Dan Whitfield read letters from Reverend Doctor Olive Haynes, Rev. Paul Johnston, Rev. Sue Riggle, and a congratulatory letter and certificate from the President of the General assembly.
Presentations were made to the oldest member, Geri Legg. Jean Johnson, chairman of the anniversary committee presented thank you mementos to Pastor Dan and committee members, Betty Fox, Dodie Logan, Juanita Dameron, Granger Odum, and Margaret High. Members and visitors took the microphone to share their remembrances of Marion FPC. The congregation gathered in the fellowship hall for dinner. Guests enjoyed photographic displays of the church history and a “historical and hysterical” slide show.
The 110 Anniversay
On November 12, 2017, Marion Presbyterian Chruch Celebrated 110 years. The 110 years coincides with the celebration of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Thesis on the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. The service clebrated where we have been and highlingting changes in the Churches Vision and Misssion Statements. Rev Dan Whitfield was recognized for his past work within the Church and the area and was named Pastor Ameritus. Yvonne Whitfield was also recognized for her work in Sountern Illinois and within the Church in Parish Nursing and named Parrish Nurse Ameritus.