First Presbyterian Church of Mineral Ridge, 3654 Main St., Mineral Ridge, celebrated its 150th anniversary throughout 2013. History moments were featured in its newsletter. The observance culminated with participation in Mineral Ridge Spirit Day parade Oct. 20. The church had a float and hosted an open house. On Oct. 27, the church conducted a special worship service. Officiants were the Rev. Mark Phillips, pastor from 1994-2010, and the Rev. Richard Jameson “Jaime” Milton, current pastor.
Organized: First Presbyterian Church of Mineral Ridge was organized by the Presbytery of Trumbull of The New School Synod of the Western Reserve on Jan. 11, 1863, and 11 people were received into membership. Jonathan Warner was its first elder and Charles A. Jackson, first Sunday school superintendent. The building was dedicated Jan. 26, 1875, making it the oldest house of worship in Mineral Ridge. The constitution carried the signatures of 48 charter members.
Records: On March 18, 1883, the store of C.F. Whitney, clerk of session, which was located across Church Street from the church, burned. The “bucket brigade” saved the church though it was damaged. Whitney kept the church records in the store and the minutes and other important papers for the church were lost.
1920-30s: The church school experienced a surge in activity and membership and at times exceeded the church in membership. The Rev. T.H. Mitchell started a children’s message” in worship.
1940s: Women’s Missionary Society was renamed Kirkbride Missionary Society in honor of the Rev. J.F. Kirkbride, pastor from 1916-1922. In 1942, women’s organizations were consolidated in the Women’s Association until 1995. The association was engaged in various charitable efforts. After World War II, the congregation sponsored a refugee family. In 1969, Esther Caskey and Marjorie Lynn were elected elders. The church was brick veneered and the entire interior was remodeled. A dedication was March 27, 1949.
1950s: The “Sunday Niters,” a social group of young couples, was organized to promote Christian fellowship. The group continued until the late 1990s. A joint vacation Bible school was begun with the Methodist Church. In 1956 a new manse was built. At a congregational meeting in 1959, construction of a two-floor educational building at the rear of the existing church building was approved. The cornerstone was laid Sept, 18, 1960, and dedicated Jan. 8, 1961. The church was known for its choir and Hallie Cline Lane was choir director for more than 30 years.
1960-70s: The congregation bought property adjacent to the north side of the manse and it was used for additional parking. Youth fellowship “Before School Breakfasts” were well received in the spring of 1974. “Story Circle” program was begun for young children. The church building has been a meeting site of community groups.
1980s: A new Allen electronic organ was bought in the fall of 1982 from Sebastian Music Co. in Youngstown. The congregation celebrated the 125th anniversary on Oct. 25, 1983. A quilt depicting events in the church’s history was created for the event. The Rev. Yngve Frykolm of Malmo, Sweden, was the first ecumenical parish associate hosted by the congregation in 1987. In 1989, the congregation approved a building project that included a new front entrance, an elevator and a new small classroom at the front of fellowship hall. The building was dedicated on Nov. 26, 1989.
Activities: Christian education of children, youth and adults has been a priority through vacation church school and other programs. The church bazaar was a popular event and continued until 2004. From 1994-97, the board of deacons prepared and served dinner on the fourth Saturday of each month at Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. Church members worked with Habitat for Humanity in Georgia, and a youth group led by the Rev. Mark Phillips, pastor, went to Bowling Green, Ky., where they repaired a community center. The church has donated to Presbyterian Disaster Relief Fund. Since 1992, several members have received the Presbytery’s “Peacemaking Award.”
Remodeling: The church kitchen was remodeled in 2001. The roof and steeple were replaced. The sanctuary has been updated.