First Presbyterian in Marietta celebrating 150 years

Since the late 1890s, the First Presbyterian Church of Marietta has called Fourth and Wooster streets its home.

Pastor David R. Smith said originally services were held in the building next door, where the Seventh Day Adventists held their services.

“This building (at Fourth and Wooster streets) was erected in 1896, about 30 years after (members) started worshiping together,” said Smith. “They bought that building (next door) in the very early history of the church.”

Throughout the years, Smith said the church on the corner has had several additions, including where the offices are now located. That space was constructed in the 1960s.

“A lot of churches boomed in the ’50s and ’60s,” he said. “For renovations, they put in an elevator over time and rearranged classrooms as needs presented themselves.”

There are many classrooms, a nursery and youth room, as well as a room for high school students, where they can relax, play pool and watch TV. Smith said each student paints one brick in the room as they graduate.

As recently as this spring, a new parking lot was built and handicapped accessible doors put in the church. The old church next door will be torn down, most likely by the year’s end to put up green space and maybe a playground.

The church currently has about 260 members, of which about 110 to 140 regularly attend Sunday services.

“(Attendance) is obviously higher on Easter and Christmas,” said Smith.

The church boasts a large organ in the sanctuary which was installed around 1902.

“We are actually having (the organ) refurbished this year,” Smith said. “It’s going to undergo an extensive amount of work. I think they’re coming next Monday or the following Monday.”

Work will include rebuilding and replacing some pipes and a thorough cleaning.

He said the church is looking for a youth director, a part-time position for someone available to work nights and weekends.

“You have to be available when the kids are out of school and when families need to do things,” he said.

Church Elder Heather Warner said Aug. 23 will be a celebration where the whole neighborhood is invited.

“I’m really excited about it,” she said. “It’s a community block party.”

Warner said a focus would be toward neighbors of the church, but everyone is invited to attend. The event will feature concessions, a bake sale, a dunk tank and live Christian music.

“The headliner is 64 to Grayson,” she said. “They’re going to play the second half of the event. They’ve had tours in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.”

Next year is going to be the 150th anniversary of the congregation. Smith said part of that celebration will be the rededication of the organ, after it’s fixed, and hopefully having the green space and playground up and children playing.

“We have a lot going on right now,” he said. “We’d love for folks to come visit with us, particularly if they need a church home.”

He said a trip to somewhere in Ohio for families is possible and a trip abroad could also be in the works as a part of the anniversary celebration.

“We’re planning a trip to Scotland in the spring,” he said. “Presbyterians have lots of roots in Scotland. As we celebrate 150 years, we’re celebrating where we come from and looking ahead to the future as well.”