The beginning of the second 100 years of ministry and service to the community by Eckert Presbyterian Church was observed during a special worship service held last Sunday.
Pastor Jo Devinny reminded a large congregation of church members and special guests who had traveled far for the occasion, "As receivers of God's grace, you and I are now called to pass that grace along.
That's the job of the church. For over 100 years now it has been the job of this church.
"Because Jesus has commissioned you and me to be his presence on Earth, we're here, in this place, at this time so folks can look at us and know what God is like" by showing grace toward others.
Before gathering in the fellowship hall for refreshments, the congregation assembled for a group photo on the steps of the landmark church building.
The Sunday service followed a day of activities on Saturday. The planning included games, a community meal provided by church members, a bell ringing, release of 100 balloons, and preparations for placing a time capsule, which will be opened on Sept. 15, 2038, in the church's memorial garden.
Another centennial commemoration took place at the church in May when the founders, and families that have played roles in the church were specially honored.
The following historical information about the church is excerpted from the 2005 registration for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
Leading the congregation as its first pastor was Rev. James A. Hunsicker, who, with his wife Kate and six children, had arrived in Eckert in 1910.
There they purchased land along the west side of Highway 65 to the north and south of North Road. After farming for a short time, Hunsicker returned to his previous career as a teacher and was soon appointed principal of the newly formed Eckert High School. On 1 June 1913 he took on a second, concurrent career as he was called to serve as the founding pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Eckert. Hunsicker served the community as its honored pastor from 1913 until retiring from the position in 1940 at the age of 72.
Rev. James and Kate Hunsicker donated a parcel of land (1/5 of an acre, amounting to two and one-quarter building lots) near the northwest corner of Highway 65 and North Road to the church for the purpose of erecting a building there. This original parcel, where the church sits today, was added to over the coming decades to bring the property to its current size.
(As the church lacked) funds to pay for a full-time pastor, Rev. Hunsicker supported his family by continuing to work as an educator and administrator in Eckert and later Cedaredge. His service to area schools continued throughout his years [at the church in Eckert] and finally ended when he retired from education at the age of 88. In honor of his long service to the community, Hunsicker Elementary School in Cedaredge was named after him.
Rev. Hunsicker also served as secretary of the local ditch company. In all of these arenas he gained the respect and admiration of the community. By 1940 he was ready to retire from work with the church, and on April 6 of that year offered his resignation. Due to the respect he had gained and his many years of dedication to the church, Rev. Hunsicker was honored with the title of Pastor Emeritus until his death in 1959.blog comments powered by Disqus