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 1966-1997, the Rev. Joel Whiteside 1997-2002. Interim Rev.
Cindy Bean came in 2002 and is capably guiding the Congregation through another
phase of its "faith journey".
During the past 9 years an extensive renovation has been in progress - 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 "child friendly".
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 - Health Ministry, Project Excel Tutoring for Mt. Vernon Schools, Kemmerer Village,
Habitat for Humanity, Wells for Malawi, Tools for Hope, and many more.
Officers who served the church from 1954-2004, not previously listed in the last history
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 Harold Christ
Eddie Mifflin Howard Redpath Sandra Burke
Dorothy Carter Bill Carter Helen Mescher
Carl Lincoln Schweinfurth 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
Deacons 1958 - 2004
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
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 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
Larry Long-Croteau Bill Gorley Jim Redpath
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.
P. W. still includes every woman in the church. Priscilla, Salt & Light, Ruth and
Elizabeth circles keep active serving funeral lunches to our church families during
their time of need. The Annual Cookie Walk has replaced the 1950's Annual Bazaar of
the Westminster Society before it's name was changed to P. W. Two rummage sales
(fall and spring) 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.
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.
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.
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 still present
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 have been a part of the music program in
the past 50 years. Although their appearance is not regular, they give a performance on
special days as well as Easter and Christmas. It is a joy for the congregation to hear the
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. At the present
time there are 2 classes for the youth, a multi-age class includes pre-school-Grade 5,
middle school class - Grades 6-8. There are two adult classes, the Traditional Bible Class
and a Contemporary Topics Class.
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.
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.
H. Clay Yates 1895
E. B. Johnson
E. B. Surface April 1910, dimssied
W. V. McAdoo Sept. 1910 to Dec. 1, 1914
G. M. Hall Feb 1915 to March 31, 1918
H. M. Thomas July 1918 to Dec. 1924
Owen W. Pratt Sept. 1925 to Jan. 1929
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: Gary Burnett 1996 to 1997
Rev. Dr. Joel Whiteside 1997 to 2002
Interim: Cindy Bean 2002 to 2005
Rev. Robert Dyer 2005 to present
Facts about First Presbyterian Church
1. The first woman elder was not elected until 1952
2. Newsletters became part of the church in 1957.
3. Our 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. This church was sponsoring Boy Scouts in 1925 and continued for many years.
11. In 1921 our church on N. 10th st. opened its doors to the "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 this
church 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. Do you know when the Baptismal font was carved and where it is now?
19. Do you know when the Manse was sold?
20. During the past 50 years our membership has included an Illinois State Representative,
2 city of Mt. Vernon mayors and 2 city managers.
21. The Carillon is a memorial to Kevin Freytag (son of Rev. Bob and Sue Freytag who
passed away at the age of 11.
22. Buster Roberts has been teaching a Sunday School class for at least 35 consecutive years.
First Presbyterian Church
Pastor: Rev. Robert Dyer
Submitted By: First Presbyterian Church
First Presbyterian Church
Pastor: Rev. Robert Dyer
Supplement - October 17, 2004