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Auxvasse Presbyterian Church marks 125 years

The congregation of Auxvasse Presbyterian Church will be celebrating its 125th anniversary Sunday.

The congregation of Auxvasse Presbyterian Church will be celebrating its 125th anniversary Sunday. Photo by Katherine Cummins.

Members of the congregation of the Auxvasse City Presbyterian Church are celebrating a landmark on Sunday as the parish celebrates its 125th anniversary.

Auxvasse Presbyterian actually turned 125 in May, but church member Phyllis Hornbeck said with so many members being gone on vacation at various times throughout the summer, they decided to push the celebration off until the fall, when everyone could attend.

Service will go on as usual at 9 a.m., Sunday with presentations from Joan Erickson, the General Presbyter with Missouri Union Presbytery and possibly State Rep. Jay Houghton, and a church history compiled and read by Hornbeck. After service there will be photos and a special brunch.

Hornbeck, who has been a member for more than 20 years, said Auxvasse City Presbyterian Church got its start on April 2, 1887, when the Presbytery of Missouri, "received a petition from people in Auxvasse who were praying a church would be developed."

"Their prayers were answered and one was organized on the first Sunday in May, 1887, with 25 charter members," she said.

According to Hornbeck's historical research, the church was built by S.B. Meyers, with the first services in the new church being conducted by Rev. C.F. Richmond on Aug. 12, 1888. Prior to the completion of the building, services were held in the Baptist church.

A manse was completed in 1890 after R.R. Buckner donated one lot and two more were purchased by the church.

Hornbeck's history indicates that Auxvasse City Presbyterian got its first piano in 1906 after the ladies of the church raised money by shucking corn for a local farmer at 10 cents a bushel.

In 1957 a fire resulted in smoke and water damage to the building, including a large hole burned into the floor.

"There wasn't a lot of money to repair and remodel, but many dedicated members contributed their time and work to get the job done," Hornbeck wrote in her report, noting that church services and Sunday school continued thanks to assistance from the Methodist church. "The women worked diligently all winter, often outside in the alleyway, refinishing and restoring the furniture so it would be ready when the sanctuary was repaired."

In 1994, the church received its first stained glass window, given by the descendents of one of the charter members. Six more windows were later donated by other descendents.

Despite high turnover in the pastor's position — resulting in Auxvasse City Presbyterian being included over the years in a four-church parish, a six-church parish and now a two-church parish, which includes the Benton City church and is known as The Kingdom Parish.

Hornbeck said Elder Jim Graham has served as the church's lay pastor for several years, and that the parish has continued to bring in new members under his leadership.

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