Two hundredth anniversary of the Coshocton Presbyterian Church to be celebrated

| October 12, 2018

The current Coshocton Presbyterian Church.

COSHOCTON – The Coshocton Presbyterian Church is celebrating their 200th anniversary with a special service on Sunday, Oct. 28, beginning at 10:30 a.m. with guest minister, the Rev. Chris Grewe. Grewe is the son of Norma Grewe and the late Ken Grewe. He grew up in the Coshocton Presbyterian Church where he was also ordained in November 1987. He currently serves the Savage Memorial Presbyterian Church in Portland, Oregon.

The service will feature the premier of an anniversary anthem commissioned for this celebration and in loving memory of the Rev. Robert W. Millspaugh. The hymn, “Through the Ages, Never Failing”, has been composed by John and Mary Kay Beall Carter and based on the theme for the anniversary celebration, “Faith of the ages; faith in action; faith for tomorrow”.

“After discussion, the committee for our 200th decided to ask the Reverend Mary Kay Beall to write the text for our anniversary hymn,” said Charles R. Snyder, director of music at the Coshocton Presbyterian Church. “Mary Kay has a tie with our congregation through the Harold Hunt family, so she has visited here many times over the years. Our Chancel and Crusaders Choirs have appreciated the texts she has written for some of our choir anthems, so she was an obvious choice.

“Once they agreed to accept the commission, we focused on choosing a hymn tune, and from a list of eight possibilities, decided on the strong Welsh tune, ‘Cwm Rhondda’ which is used for the texts ‘Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah’ and ‘God of Grace and God of Glory’. Our congregation sings both of those with gusto, and it was also a favorite of Bob Millspaugh, who served here for many years as pastor, parish associate, interim pastor and pastor emeritus.

The first church built in 1834.

“As she prepared to write the poem that would become the text, Mary Kay read through a year’s worth of Sunday worship bulletins and monthly newsletters to get a better feel for our congregation’s mission. We sang the new hymn, ‘Through the Ages, Never Failing’ for the first time on Pentecost on May 20. Since then, Mr. Carter has created a festival anthem from the text and tune, which employs choir, congregation, organ, brass quintet and timpani. It will be the concluding hymn for our anniversary worship celebration. The Carters hope to be here for the celebration.”

The Coshocton Presbyterian Church has been celebrating the 200th anniversary in several other ways throughout 2018.

“We have tried to add a historical focus to many of our typical church events and activities throughout this year,” said Donna Westfall, co-chair of the anniversary committee. “For example, we have included our history in our church bulletins and newsletters this year. Music is a big part of our church and we have been tying in our music history such as when we first sang certain hymns or introduced specific choir pieces to the congregation.

“We have also been updating our anniversary booklet from the one that was done at the 175th anniversary in 1993 and we very excited to have a brand new Cat’s Meow of our church building. The booklet and Cat’s Meow should both be available at the Oct. 28 celebration.”

The brick church from 1868 to 1904

Westfall says the church is putting together a new time capsule.

“There was a time capsule buried in 1993 for the 175th anniversary, and we will be opening that and burying this new one later this year,” she said.

The Coshocton Presbyterian congregation began as ‘The church in the congregations of Coshocton and Millcreek’ in 1818 with 15 members at the home of Timothy and Polly Emerson in Keene, Ohio, under the guidance of pioneer Presbyterian minister, James Cunningham. The early worship services were held in private homes until a Sabbath School was built at the NW corner of Walnut and Second Streets in Coshocton in 1824. Ten years later, the Presbyterians erected the first church building in Coshocton. It was a frame building on the public square, facing Main Street.

In June of 1863, the present site of the church at the corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets was purchased by the Ladies Sewing Society. Rev. Wm. E. Hunt was the pastor at the time and a new church was completed on that location by March 1868. It was the first building in Coshocton County to have a slate roof.

In 1904, it was decided that a larger church building was needed, and the first stone of the present day church was laid on Sept. 1, 1904, and was officially opened for worship service on Oct. 1, 1905. The church later added to this building the Chapel, Parlor and Christian Education building which was completed in January 1960.

“We are enjoying this reflection on our history,” said Westfall, “and are moving forward toward the future. We invite everyone to worship with us any Sunday, but especially on Oct. 28 for our anniversary celebration.”

All are welcome to attend the 200th anniversary celebration worship service on Sunday, Oct. 28 beginning at 10:30 a.m. An anniversary luncheon and program will follow the service. Reservations for the luncheon are required by Friday, Oct. 19. Call the church office to make reservations at 740-622-0486.

The Coshocton Presbyterian Church is located at 142 N. 4th Street in Coshocton. Sunday school is held each Sunday at 9:15 a.m. and worship services at 10:30 a.m.  For more information, visit or call the office at 740-622-0486.

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Category: Faith

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