First Presbyterian ChurchThe First Presbyterian Church in Plymouth will hold their final service on April 28 before closing.

The decision whether or when to close the doors has been the topic of discussion over the past year as the congregation continued to dwindle. As they close, there are only 42-43 people still listed as members. Once the church members voted in favor of closing, they contacted the Presbytery of  Wabash Valley that oversees the local church and owns the church building for permission to discontinue services. At some point in the future, the Presbytery will hold a Service of Closing.

The church business has been administered over the last year by former church pastor, Rev. Les Johnson. Johnson, former Pastor Rev. Steve Mullins and several other guest speakers have been leading the worship services.

Kenneth and Penny Lukenbill have attended the church since 1975. They are among many who have called First Presbyterian their church home over the 180 years of existence.  Kenneth said, “It is hard to see the church where our son Adam grew up, was baptized and married close the doors.”

According to Penny Lukenbill, the church has been financially supported and is not being closed due to finances. Penny said they have extended legacy gifts to several organizations. A donation of $1,500 was used by missionaries in Sierra Leone to build three churches. An additional gift of $10,000 will be used by the Ripe For Harvest initiative for ongoing programming. Locally, legacy funds in the amount of        $10,000 each were received by the Boys and Girls Club, ASK youth ministries, and Boy Scout Troop 257. The scout troop has met in the church fellowship hall for approximately nine years.

The final sermon will be given by Rev. Dr. Don Naylor.  Naylor’s parents were former elders of the church and he was both baptized and ordained in the church.

In an article found in the History of Marshall County Sesquicentennial 1836-1986, it was noted that the first official meeting of the First Presbyterian Church was on  May 27,1838 with 18 charter members. Until 1844, the congregation met in a public schoolroom or the German Lutheran Church. On Thanksgiving of that year, the first church building was erected at a cost of $100.

In 1853, a new church as built on North Center Street; however, that structure was destroyed by fire in 1886. The congregation preserved and built a new church on North Walnut Street. During the first 100 years of the church, 40 different pastors filled the pulpit. By 1986, the congregation had increased to 340 members.

The congregation is extending an open invitation to the community to attend the April 28 service that will begin at 9:30A.M.

Carol Anders Correspondent