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Presbyterian History

Who are we?

The First Presbyterian Church of Winnebago is one of 66 churches in the Southwestern Minnesota with a history of over 135 years of active ministry here in Winnebago.

We are a congregation of some 200 members -- averaging nearly 100 people on most Sunday mornings -- seeking to follow and serve the Lord through worshop, fellowship, educations, service and witness.

We are a family of loving, caring, hard working, inclusive children of God, who believe God's grace is rich enough to forgive us at our worst, and help us try to be our best.

History of Our Church

Reverend Jacob Conrad began ministering to the spiritual needs of Winnebago Presbyterians by traveling here as part of his circuit. His home was near Sterling, easy of Amboy. He preached in the schoolhouse or in a hall over Moulton's store. By 1858 it was an organized group, about half Congregationalists and half Presbyterians.

A few years later, this group found more financial aid could be obtained from Presbyterian sources, so on October 14, 1869, the Presbyterian Church Society of Winnebago City was born.

In 1870 Rev. T.B. Hascall of New York City was appointed stated supply minister. During the six months of his ministry, he organized a Sunday School, started weekly prayer meeings, established a Ladie's Reunion Society for social and benevolent purposes-serving ten cent suppers to earn money. He also drew up a confession of faith. In 1871, the first elders were ordained and the first church building was dedicated, free of debt, costing $6,000. That church stood one block northeast of the present church site. Six pastors served in that church. The manse was located just west of the church and is a private residence today.

Our present church was described in a history book of Winnebago City, published in 1901: "The new edifice is Gothic, finished in Twin City pressed brick, fescoed walls, stained glass windows, circular pews, and carpeted floors. In addition to the main auditorium, there is a lecture room, social rooms, class rooms, cloak rooms, and pastor's study. It is a thoroughly modern church in its comfort and furnishings." Some of this description still applies to the church today. This building was dedicated on January 13, 1901. The cost was $14,000. Rev. W.E. Bates was pastor during the construction and until 1904.

At the time the church was dedicated, it had a Sunday School enrollment of over 300. James F. Damon was its superintendent then and for 40 years. He began the tradition of presenting Bibles to each 8 year old. The tradition has contunued, with Bibles now given to children entering third grade.

In 1915, Mrs. Bailey, wife of the Pastor, and Mrs. Frank Wasgatt organized the Naomi Guild. The present manse was purchased for $5,000 in the 1930's, during the second pastorate of Rev. Steenson.

The construcion of the Fellowship Hall was done during Rev. Richard Thompson's pastorate of 1951-57. Some major remodeling of the basement was done at thie time and the pastor's study, now used as our library, was built. The total cost of the renovation and addition was over $35,000. A camping program was emphasized and encouraged. During this time we elected the first woman elder, Mrs. Claude Hynes. The Presbyterian Woman's Society held its first meeting in January, 1954, so the Ladie's Aid and Guild organizations were dissolved.

The next-to-new shop was started in 1968, first housed in the former Dr. Armstrong's office, then the Patten building, and then its present location next to the church building. Bea Miller has been a faithful worker since its beginning. During the short pastorate of Reb\v. Douglas Tracy, 1971-73, an active Youth Club was started and also the coffee hour after the service. It is still enjoyed. Remodeling of the sanctuary was considered while Rev. Tracy was here; however, most of the work was done while Rev. Raymond Gill, our supply from Blue Earth, was here.

The newly-weds, Keith and Marilyn Crawford-Roberts, were especially welcomed beacuase the chose us. During this pastorate, 1984-91, we had co-pastors, for Marilyn was ordained and installed in our church on June 2, 1985. She continued until January, 1990, when she resigned to have more time with her new family. It was exciting to see the addition of their two girls.

Because of seeing the need for a handicapped accesible entrance to the sanctuary, we began another building program to install a lift and two wheelchair accessible bathrooms. The new addition included a pastor's study and a secretary's office, costing $100,000. The north entrance has been much used as it is adjacent to the parking lot.

Rev. Michael Roys and his wife, Bonnie, and well-loved son, Thomas came to serve us in February, 1991. Bonnie, who is an ordained minister, now teaches in Fairmont. Michael's ability to make Bible characters seem very real has endeared him to many. He seems interested in the whole congregation, whether young or old, rich or poor. A new organ was dedicated in the fall of 1992.

The Next-to-New celebrated 25 years in business in 1993 by haveing a style show and open house. It has been both a money-making project for our women and a community service to people in need of clothing.

Cooperating with other churches in town, we help with the foodshelf, the annual Christian Unity worship service, the senior citizens' picnic, delivery of Meals on Wheels, and the Baptist Home coffee hours and birthday parties. And we look forward to new areas of service as God leads us in the years ahead.

Ministers Serving Our Church

Jacob Conrad -- Oct. 1869-Dec. 1870

T.B. Hascall -- Dec. 1870-June 1871

Ira S. Dodd -- Aug. 1872-June 1881

Samuel McAfee -- Jan. 1882-Nov. 1882

C.A. Holm -- Apr. 1883-Nov. 1883

C.G. Reynolds -- Nov. 1884-Apr. 1889

E.D. Keys -- Oct. 1889-Apr. 1890

W.E. Bates -- Apr. 1891-Oct. 1903

James Steenson -- Nov. 1904-Nov. 1908

Clair B. Latimer -- Apr. 1909-Mar. 1911

Arthur C. Bailey -- Nov. 1911-Jan. 1924

Paul C. Voris -- May. 1924-Nov. 1930

James S. Steinson -- May. 1931-Sept. 1936

Charles Hubanks -- Mar. 1937-Oct. 1950

Robert W. Thompson -- July 1951-Nov. 1957

Geo. K. Tjaden -- June 1958-Aug. 1962

Harlan H. Kruse -- Nov. 1962-Sept. 1970

Douglas Tracy -- Sept. 1971-Sept. 1973

Robert Conklin -- July 1974-Dec. 1983

Keithe Crawford-Roberts -- Dec. 1984-Feb. 1991

Marilyn Crawford-Roberts -- June 1985-Jan. 1990

Michael A. Roys -- Feb 1992-Present

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First Presbyterian Church
127 Main Street North
Winnebago, MN 56098
507-893-3197

Copyright 2010 First Presbyterian Church of Winnebago