Our church’s ministry centers on being visible in the community in order to reach out to and serve the poor and disenfranchised among us. The church strives to show compassion and humility while evangelizing in the community. First Presbyterian Church is instrumental in the development, support, and operation of two leading community ministries, Good Samaritan and All God’s Children. These ministries are housed outside of the church building in order to better serve those who benefit from these missions. Throughout the year, members spearhead food drives as well as gift-giving for those in need. In addition, many of our members are at work in the community serving on various boards, working for charitable organizations, and assisting local missions to better the lives of at-risk adults and youth. Finally, our church supports a number of charitable missions around the world through our endowment funds and congregational giving.
points of interest
We are a congregation in the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination.
We worship at 11 a.m. each Sunday.
We have Sunday school classes for adults, youth and children at 10 a.m. each Sunday.
Our Middle School Youth are currently working toward confirmation.
We are multi-generational.
We have been an active congregation for over 60 years.
The first meeting of the Manchester Chapel was held on September 5, 1954, in the American Legion room of the old Manchester City Hall. For atmosphere, the room contained a television set, a pot bellied stove, a case of cold drinks, and a pool table, with a fire engine next door. Early on Sunday mornings, members would go to City Hall to push the pool table against the wall, the piano out, the bottles to the side, and set up chairs. In the winter, the congregation’s total operating expense consisted of the price of two scuttles of coal. This small group worshipped in the joy and fellowship that was to sustain them in the years ahead.
The church’s first Vacation Bible School was held in June of 1955. Lacking facilities, the church was granted use of the Manchester City Elementary School, College Street, and was aided in its work by Mr. Evans, principal, and Mr. Wilcox, custodian. When closing exercises were held, 21 pupils presented a program for an audience of 26. By 1958, plans were underway for construction of a church building. The plans stipulated that there be provided four rooms for children’s classes and a large auditorium which could be subdivided to provide three youth classes and one to two adult classes. Sunday School has always been an integral part of our worship. In 1958, the building committee was instructed “to secure the property owned by Dr. Farrar and located behind the Healing Arts Clinic as a site for a new building.”
Our original building was erected “piecemeal.” First, the church members laid the footing, which took all the money that they had raised at that point. Next came the foundation. It stood alone, and the weeds grew high before the members could afford to erect the walls. Each step of the building required generous donations and hard work by those early members of the congregation. This tireless group never stopped working. During the week of November 16, 1958, the members scheduled painting and cleanup for Monday through Wednesday. On Thursday of that week, they moved in tables and chairs. Finally, on Friday, November 21, they held their first service in the new building! The event was a “harvest dinner,” a meal of true thanksgiving. The annual Thanksgiving dinner, a birthday celebration for the church, has remained a tradition for our congregation.
In 1963, the church added the sanctuary and it was dedicated during a ceremony that was held on November 24, 1963. The congregation celebrated its traditional Thanksgiving Dinner afterward, with yet another milestone in the growth of the Manchester church. In recent years, the church building has been expanded and updated with new classrooms and restrooms, but we are ever grateful for those founding members who through their spunk and determination built the beautiful church that we still worship in today.