First Presbyterian celebrates 150 years

Published 9:54 pm Thursday, September 13, 2018

On Sept. 30, First Presbyterian Church of Albert Lea will celebrate its 150th anniversary. Past pastors and youth directors have been invited to attend. A luncheon will be provided afterwards to honor 50-plus year members.

Founded on Sept. 29, 1868, by a small group of 18 committed members in Christ, the church has a long history of ministry. According to records, First Presbyterian was the first church built in the city and was the largest place in the city where meetings could be held at that time.

The first pastor of the church was the Rev. R.B. Abbot, D.D., and he also began Albert Lea College in 1885, with 51 students. Over the years, the church grew, and a new church building was needed, so in 1899, the cornerstone was laid as they built a larger church building in the same location on the corner of St. Mary’s Ave. and Water Street. However, in January 1929, the church had a fire, and all that was standing were the blackened walls. The corner stone for the building that is now currently being used was laid in September 1929 and took a year and a half to build. The cost of the building was over $90,000, which was a considerable amount at the time. The education wing was later added in 1960.

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The church’s current pastor is Dwight Netzer, and he has served the church and the community for the past 25 years. The church members are praising God for 150 years as a church family. First Presbyterian Church has been blessed to provide a spiritual home and faith community for thousands of people over the years. In honor of this jubilee celebration, special events are taking place on Sept. 23 and 30. For more information, contact the church office at 507-373-2035.