PHOTO: The First Presbyterian Church on Main Street saw its pews packed to the brim Sunday in celebration of the its milestone of 175 years of service. / Photo by Alexander Willis
By ALEXANDER WILLIS
“O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.”
Such are the words of Psalm 96 that set into motion a day of celebration and worship, with Sunday marking the 175th anniversary of the First Presbyterian Church in Spring Hill.
Both newcomers and regulars alike gathered at the small church that morning, all sitting on wooden pews decades old, the colored light of the stained glass windows painting their faces with colors of red and blue.
The Reverend Chris Adams, acting pastor at the church, touched briefly on the significance of reaching 175 years of service before beginning the day’s worship, attributing the longevity of the church directly to its acting members.
“I think it’s just the commitment of the members that have been here – they’re the ones that make this go,” Adams said after the day’s service. “I add my voice to what they’re already doing, so it’s just generation after generation that shows up and does what needs to be done and keeps it going.”
Going back 175 years to 1844, and the Reverend Robert Garrison held the role that Adams holds today – only in a much smaller church. Known then as the Presbyterian Church of Spring Hill, the original church had just 26 founding members, and it wouldn’t be until 1849 that the church building was dedicated.
At the time, the church was located slightly closer to where Main Street sits today, with the current building being constructed in 1888 – all for a cost of $4,000.
The silver communion service and baptismal font bear the inscription “Presbyterian Church, Spring Hill, April 19, 1868,” which is still in use today. The church’s pipe organ was first played on Christmas day of 1921, with the building’s first electric lights being installed three years later in 1924.
Fast forward to 1960, and two Sunday School rooms were constructed, adding a kitchen sink and cabinets. Additional kitchen, pantry and storage areas, along with Fellowship Hall, were all added in 1983, and through decades more of community engagement, the church continued to grow.
Ken Beckman, an elder at the church, moved to Spring Hill from Michigan for a job with General Motors back in 1990, and said despite his years as a leader at the auto manufacturing plant, he had learned more serving at First Presbyterian Church than anywhere else.
“We searched around for churches, and we found [this] here and I think there were only 20 families all together [then],” Beckman said. “It was small – we always had lunches and dinner and stuff, and it’s just grown from there. I’ve learned a lot, and it’s taught me a lot. I was a leader at General Motors, and I’ve learned a lot from here.”
Following the day of worship, Evans said tithings that day amounted to roughly $1,500, which church leadership had decided to donate a significant portion of to the Well Outreach food bank, a nonprofit food pantry that serves those in need in Spring Hill and surrounding communities.
“It’s just an outward expression of our community supporting us,” said Shelly Sassen, executive director for the Well Outreach. “Honestly, partnering with their anniversary celebration, that’s just such a gift – it means so much to us.”
First Presbyterian Church holds regular worship services every Sunday from 11 a.m. – noon. The church also holds monthly luncheons, choir practices and Sunday School services, and will even pick up those who wish to join in worship that don’t have the means to get to the church themselves. For more information, click here to view the church’s schedule and services online.