A gift opens the way for the giver…. Proverbs 18:16
The Presbyterian Church of Mount Vernon gifted the new church (1908) with a pulpit and some chairs.
Mrs. Henry Bantz (Annice Goddard) donated the black bell in 1908. The bell, a prominent feature at the front of the church, was installed at the “new” church in 1963. The marble benches near the bell are in memory of Betty and Don Ridgley’s parents. The red oak trees bordering the parking lot are a gift of Sue Broadway in memory of Charles “Bud” Broadway. Sue Pentecost designed the recent landscaping. The sign near the street
is a gift from the Charles Shafer family in his memory.
Jean (French for John) Otey, born in 1901 and long time member of First Presbyterian Church, crafted the stately grandfather clock with three faces, which presides over the narthex. Otey became interested in clocks when he obtained a “sodden mess in 1935 which turned out to be an Eli Terry clock dating back to 1792 or 1793.” He
restored the clock and his enthusiasm for clock construction continued through his life. In 1963 he made the grandfather clock in the narthex and presented it to the new church on South Carbon in memory of his son.
Behind the pulpit is a back lighted stained glass window, a portrait of Christ, hands out-stretched. It originally served as a window on the west side of the church on North Market Street. The plaque reads “Powell and Griffin” “Hands across the sea” “Memorial.” But no one knows what the plaque means. Rev. A.E. Powell was the pastor
when the church on North Market was built. Was Griffin a friend of Powell’s? If Powell was English, did Griffin live in England and send the funds for the window? When members occupied the South Carbon building, the window stood on the floor of the fellowship hall. But it was in a precarious location for falling into it and someone shot two BB holes through it when it was still on the old church building. John Geittmann found Precision Stained Glass Company in Breese, Illinois, to repair the window for an estimated $2,140. After three months the restoration was complete and the window framed in a redwood shadow box 52″ x 74″ x 8″ with lights inside. Members installed it behind the sanctuary in 1992.
The altar cross is in memory of Geri Legg’s father. The communion table is in memory of Minnie Hartwell. Betty Ridgley donated two brass candelabra with multiple holders used for weddings and other special occasions. The hymnals were donated in memory of Jackie Giles. The pulpit Bible was donated by Mrs. Yale Combs and family in
memory of Yale F. Combs. Family and friends of Maurine W. Baker donated the baptismal font in her memory. Elinor and Ken King donated the grand piano. A plaque that reads “In loving memory of Dr. and Mrs. D.D. Hartwell and Mr. and Mrs. W. O. Paisley” is all that remains of the previous organ donated in their memory.
Members have contributed artwork through the years. Athel Tanner stitched the needlework “Christ in Gethsemane” as therapy from his Parkinson’s disease. The picture hangs in the fellowship hall. Stephanie Tebow, member of First Presbyterian and missionary to China, gave the large batik depicting the Lord washing the disciples’ feet, which hangs in narthex. The cloth is all the more special because Stephanie purchased it
at a Chinese open market––impossible only a few years before. Pastor Dan’s good friend from Vietnam, Pastor John, gave the church the oil painting of the Vietnamese market place and an embroidered head of Christ from the Presbyterian Church of Love and Unity in Ho Chi Minh City. Both pictures are on display in the narthex.
Nina Arnold, artist, writer, and member of the church until she passed away, presented the series of paintings displayed in the fellowship hall in 2002. Arnold used water-colored papers, threads, and beads. Words and poetic thoughts describe the interwoven fabric of our lives as friends, sisters, husbands and wives, mothers and even
Tom and Jocelyn Logan presented the church with a plate from Malawi in gratitude for the church’s support of Marion Medical Mission. This plate is on display in the narthex.
Betty Richey and Marlene Rich enlarged and cut the patterns, and Judith Fosse stitched the beautiful new banners for the sanctuary. A description of the banners is included in “celebrations and dedications.” Other banners used for special occasions were gifts of Betty Richey and the church youth groups. Sunday School classes under the direction of Rev. Paul Johnston (pastor at the time) began the design of eight banners with the final artwork by the Van Roekel Family based on the Chruch Creeds from the Book of Confessions. The Van Roekel family than created and presented the Banners to the Chruch in honor of Dr. Joseph Van Roekel’s 50th year in the ministry,. The banners, hung in the sanctuary until the 2007 banners, went to a church in Malawi in 2008 with the Marion Medical Mission volunteers.
Romelle (Harris) Kaesar, Marcia (Harris) Braswell, and Dale Harris established the Ray & Aurelia Harris Memorial Fund in 1994 to honor their parents’ memory and contributions to the First Presbyterian Church of Marion. Throughout their fifty years membership, Mr. & Mrs. Harris were very active in church youth programs. They both
served as Sunday School teachers and sponsors of the youth group. Mrs. Harris taught Bible School classes for many years. Both Mr. & Mrs. Harris were committed to the education of and programs for the church’s young people. Their children hope this memorial fund will help maintain an active Vacation Bible School for many years to come and the spirit of Ray and Aurelia Harris will remain alive through the young people.
On May 22, 2006, John “Jack” Giles established the John E. and Frances Giles Education Trust, known as the Giles Educational Trust. “The purpose of the trust is to promote Presbyterian Education. Income from this fund should be dispensed annually. Members of the First Presbyterian Church of Marion are to be given preference when selecting recipients of the income . . . prioritized order:
1. Presbyterian attending Presbyterian seminary.
2. Presbyterians attending Christian seminary.
3. Presbyterians preparing for seminary in accredited school of higher education.
4. Other Presbyterian students attending college in preparation to become healthcare givers or teachers of students of special need.
In 2007 Max Martini was the firs recipient of the scholarship award, He was chosen by Jack Giles himself!
It was the wish of Ken and Elinor King to make a significant difference in the life of students. In Ken’s estate, he set aside $50,000 out of the sale of his home and other property to fund $50,000 of scholarship to be given within 2 years of his death to a member or members of First Presbyterian Church of Marion, Illinois. The example used in the trust is two (2) $25,000 scholarships. In Elinor’s estate, she set aside $8,000 to fund $8,000 of scholarship to be given to a member or members of First Presbyterian Church of Marion, Illinois. The church is allowed to set the criteria.
1. That the recipient be a member of First Presbyterian Church of Marion, Illinois.
2. That the recipient be working towards a degree at an accredited college or university.
3. That the recipient maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA.
4. That the recipient be making satisfactory progress towards graduation as defined by their college or university.
5. That the scholarship be renewable for multiple years which may total, if 4 years are awarded, to $25,000.