First Presbyterian Church in Ripley celebrates 200 years

By Martha Jacob –

The Ripley First Presbyterian Church was formed in 1816, (the same year the town became known as Ripley) and was commissioned in April, 1817.
“This year, in April of 2017 our congregation will celebrate its 200th year in existence,” said Lay-Pastor of the church,  Wayne Reveal. “We’ve had a lot of changes in all these years, but we believe we are going in the right direction.”
In November 2016 the First Presbyterian Church withdrew as a member of the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church USA and is now affiliated with the ECO (A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians).
ECO is not an acronym. It refers to the ecosystems of local churches. ECO organized in 2011 and pastors around the country began joining.
“We’re excited about being with ECO now, and look forward to the future of our church,” said, Lay-Pastor Reveal. “We have some fun things planned to help us celebrate our bicentennial and we hope people will come from all around to take part in our events.”
A request was granted by the Presbytery of Chillicothe to Colonel James A. Poage and eight other members to build a church on the corner of Third and Mulberry. Poage donated the lot.
“The original building was remodeled in 1834,” Pastor Reveal said. “Then it was re-built in 1854 and the current building was built in 1867.”
Reveal said that the cost of the current building was $26,270 consists of 660,000 bricks and built by bricklayer Wilson Dunn. The church has a strong connection with the abolitionist movement, as Rev. John Rankin served as pastor from 1822 to 1844.
“We are planning a special worship service on April 2, 2017, 200 years after our church was formed,” Pastor Reveal said. “The service will be gin at 2:30 p.m. and it will be attended by all kinds of invited guests, including former pastors.
“We will also hold an Open House on Friday, March 31 for all the community where everything from the cornerstone will be on display as well as other historical items. The cornerstone will actually be opened on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017.”
Reveal said that the cornerstone was removed in 1967 (150 year anniversary) and the contents were removed and put on display, then additional content was added from that year.
“We will also be having a ‘Summer Concert’ on Saturday, July 29, from 2 to 4 p.m.,” Reveal said. “The Williamsburg Community Band has agreed to come down and be the centerpiece of that event. We’re lining up other events for that day too. Our beautiful organ will be played during the concert.”
Everyone is invited to attend the upcoming events and to learn more about it please call Lay-Pastor Reveal at (937) 392-4478.