Plymouth Presbyterian celebrates 130 years of faith

By Beverly Van Buskirk

First Plymouth Presbyterian Church, rural Le Mars, was founded in 1872. This is the third building the congregation has wor­shipped in since its beginning. The cemetery is at right.

From a humble beginning with 15 persons gathered in a small vacant house to worship, the congregation First Plymouth Presbyterian Church at rural Le Mars will celebrate 130 years God’s grace this Sunday, Sept. 1, 2002, with a special worship service, dinner, and an afternoon of reminiscing with music from its church family.

The day’s celebration will start with a worship service at 10:30 a.m., followed by a catered dinner.  A time of fellowship and a program featuring music from members and former members as well as a sharing of members will be held in the afternoon.

The church is located at 16119 Hickory Avenue, eight miles west and two miles north of Le Mars.

First Plymouth Presbyterian Church was organized Aug. 11, 1872, with 15 chartered members.  Those 15 persons had gathered in a small vacant house about seven miles northwest of Le Mars, and proceeded to organize a church.  They passed a resolution, asking that a Presbyterian church be organized, and made an application to the Presbytery of Fort Dodge to be taken under its care.  It appeared that for several years no regular services were held, but Sunday School was continued by meeting in various homes and schools.

In November 1879, a tract of land, consisting of some 40 acres, was purchased from the railroad company for a nominal sum, and soon plans for a church building were underway on the land located in the northeast quarter of section 1, Johnson Township.  The first church was built in and November 1880 was dedicated, completely free of debt. Total cost for the first church building was $517.56.

Material for the church was hauled, some of it by ox team, from a saw mill near Elk Point, S.D., and the stone for the foundation came from the same area along the Missouri River.  The cemetery was platted 1895, although several burials had been made in the plot prior to that time.

In 1921, the congregation erected the manse in order that they might have resident minister.  The Rev. A. F. Proett was the first resident minister.

By 1929, the congregation felt the need for a new facility and on July 20, 1930, the new brick church was ready for dedication.  Cost of the building was about $13,000.
By 1965, the congregation felt they needed to have a more modern facility with better Sunday school rooms.  The present church facility was constructed in 1968, and includes the sanctuary, fellowship hall, Sunday school classrooms and an office.  The cornerstone was laid on Oct. 25, 1967, and the facility was dedicated on June 23, 1968.  The church is located on the south side of the cemetery.  The two previous structures were located to the north, near the intersection of the road.

Through the years, the men and women of the congregation as well as the Sunday school students, have met for study and worship, as well as doing outreach work in the mission fields and in the community they live in, helping neighbors in need, and providing a place for Christian fellowship.

“We have those courageous, devoted pioneers who struggled in the noble attempt to keep alive the spiritual freedom we have today at the Plymouth Presbyterian Church,” said church members.  “We invite everyone to come for worship and fellowship.”

The Rev. Randy Knuth presently serves the congregation. Plymouth Presbyterian celebrates 130 years of faith.

Source: LeMars Daily Sentinel (LeMars, Plymouth County, Iowa) of 26 August 2002.

Submitter: Bruce Atkinson






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