First Presbyterian celebrates 125 years on same street corner

Puyallup: Church was first in the area to open its doors to Freezing Nights program in 2005

Special to the HeraldFebruary 12, 2014 

The First Presbyterian Church in Puyallup celebrated 125 years on Saturday with a program and dinner.

Pastor Sue Watkins said the program was “Share the Faith: the past, the present, the future.”

“We wanted to look back as to how faith had been shared and try to envision what might come next,” she said.

Dr. Bill Marsh, who was on the planning committee for the event, said Karen Haas, a storyteller and living history performer, appeared as Eliza Meeker, one of the first Trustees of the church.

The church, located at 412 W. Pioneer, was built in 1889 after a plot of land was donated by Roderick McDonald, who was married to Ezra and Eliza’s daughter.

“The Meeker family’s involvement with the founding of the church really connects us to the beginnings of the town,” Watkins said.

Paul Hackett, who was on the timeline committee, said they presented a lot of “did you knows” during the celebration.

“I have prepared a detailed list of 780 events that happened and that will be put on a DVD later on,” he said.

The program featured six panels that each covered 25 years. Hackett said the church was overflowing in 1919 due to a boost in membership and was raised 12 feet at a cost of about $3,000 in order to accommodate two classrooms and a kitchen underneath.

The church has been recognized by the Puyallup City Council as an example of deco art.

Watkins said many of the members of the congregation have gone on to become pastors or missionaries.

“We have a woman who is serving in Kenya now with her husband,” Watkins said. “She grew up here and is a missionary.”

“Carl Sparks was a member of this church, and we’ve had some mayors, including Sam Peach, and many educators, including Ed Zeiger,” she added.

The church houses many ministries during the week.

“The building is occupied seven days a week,” Watkins said.

She said the church has Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on Sunday nights, and a Brownie Troop as well as a group of developmentally disabled adults meet at the church, which also has an ECAP preschool on site.

First Presbyterian Church has a number of long-standing members, including sisters Margaret and Catherine Bendtsen, who joined on May 13, 1945.

First Presbyterian also was one of the first churches to open its doors to the Freezing Nights program during fall 2005.

“We are proud that we have been on the same street corner since 1889,” Watkins said.

As to the future, Watkins said: “We are trying to see what God is up to in the community and get involved in it.”

Joan Cronk is a freelance reporter for the Herald.

The Puyallup Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service