PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH HISTORY

The Presbyterian Church of Bennington, Ottawa County, was organized July 12, 1874, by a committee of Topeka Presbytery.  The eleven charter members were Mr. P. M. Williams, Mrs. Elmira Williams, Mrs. Christian Nelson,  Mr. George Parker, Mr. Edward Knight, Mrs. Maria Parker, Mrs. Miriam Dale, Mrs. Frank Philbrick and  Mrs. M. C. Clay.  The church was formed largely through the efforts of Mrs. Christian Nelson.  Rev. Henry C. Bradley was the first to speak in the new church.

Services were held in the school house one mile South of town.  Sunday School was first mentioned in the session minutes in 1883.  The women's Missionary Society, one of the earliest organizations of the church, was organized January 31, 1883.

On January 21, 1883, action was taken to build a church.  The property on which the church now stands was secured from Mr. and Mrs. Christian Nelson in 1884.  Volunteer labor, individual subscriptions and a $500 loan from the board of Church Erection made possible the completion and dedication of the building November 17, 1887.

Rev. F. A. Peake was installed as first pastor in September, 1915.  Membership now neared 100.

It was in the coming of Rev. G. McKay as pastor April 1, 1917, (he had served as stated supply 1893 to 1895), that development began for the church.  The manse was erected in 1917.  Rev. McKay served nine years.  Two class rooms were added to the original building.

In May, 1942, Rev. Pfautz was called to serve Bennington and Culver.  In 1943, the Bennington congregation petitioned the Solomon Presbytery to dissolve the Bennington and Culver field and retain Rev. Pfautz as pastor at Bennington.  The petition was granted and Rev. Pfautz served until 1944 when he entered the Chapliancy.  During the war years Rev. Howe, Weslyan, served the church.  In 1946 Rev. Edwards was stated supply through 1948.  In 1946, new pews were installed partially donated by Mr. H. Miller and Mrs. Rowe.  New pulpip furniture was received the same year, a gift from Roger Blanchard in memory of his mother.

In 1949, Rev. Peter Grooters was installed as pastor and retired in October, 1950.

Rev. John Sinclair served the church from December, 1950 until 1953.  In February,  1951, the pipe organ and chimes were given to the church by Mr. and Mrs. George Smith, also the stained glass window.  In 1953, an oil furnace was installed.  In April, 1954, Charles Light was called and on September 22, 1954, was ordained and installed.  This was the first ordination in the church.  He served until November 13, 1955.  From November 1955 to July 1956, Rev. Ezra Morgan, Miltonvale Weslyan, served as pastor.  Rev. Robert Myers was stated supply from July 8, 1956, and was ordained and installed December 28, 1956.  In 1957, Fellowship Hall and the kitchen were remodeled.

Twenty-nine ministers have served the congregation.

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