Wallingford Pres Celebrates 125 Years
By Leslie Krowchenko
A church which traces its beginnings to a Sunday School will devote the next nine months to rejoicing in its yesterdays, its todays, and most importantly, its tomorrows. Wallingford Presbyterian Church (WPC) has a full calendar for its 125th anniversary year. Each month will have an individual theme highlighted by special events, recognitions and guest speakers.
“We are celebrating the past, embracing the present and excited about the future,” said the Rev. François Lacroix, WPC’s senior pastor.
Organized in 1891, WPC was built on an acre of ground at Brookhaven and Avondale roads donated specifically for a Presbyterian church. The 32 charter members were among those who five years earlier had formed a church school, which met in the living room of a farmhouse near the current site of Wallingford Elementary School. A professor from Lincoln University was the original minister and then a full-time pastor, the first of eight to serve the congregation, was called in 1894.
The church has had a number of growth spurts. Major building programs in 1929, 1953-54 and 1970-71 expanded the facility to its present size and configuration while maintaining the original chapel as the exterior of the chancel and front half of the present sanctuary. The complex was outfitted in 1991 with amenities such as sanctuary air conditioning.
September’s theme will be Homecoming; festivities will begin Sept. 11 with the annual Rally Day. In addition to welcoming children to Sunday School and families back from vacation, members and visitors will be greeted by a new banner bearing the Presbyterian Church (USA) symbol and the words “Welcome Home.”
The church will also dedicate the new Presbyterian hymnal, featuring more than 850 entries with a variety of musical styles and global songs. A timeline will be started in the church’s Fellowship Hall, to be augmented throughout the year. Long-term members will be recognized Sept. 25.
Beginning with World Communion Sunday (Oct. 2), October will include the Blessing of the (live and stuffed) Animals (Oct. 9) and Reformation Sunday (Oct. 30). WPC will use the month to focus on an overview of its history and the importance of education.
The Rev. David Drain, who served the congregation from 1980-2000, will visit Oct. 16. He will preach that Sunday, and he and his wife, Marion, will attend a church-wide pot luck supper later in the day.
“It seems that our church has been like a lighthouse, sitting here on the corner and shining God’s light not only on those who pass by, but, through those who worship here, taking God’s light and love out to the surrounding community,” said Roger Demos, chair of the 125th anniversary committee. “We were a small chapel that through God’s grace over the years has grown to the church that you see here today.”
Wallingford Presbyterian Church is located at Brookhaven and Avondale roads, Wallingford. For more information, call (610) 566-1644 or visit wallingfordpres.org.