Pastor Rebecca A Sherwood
"Committed to Loving God, Loving Each Other and Reaching Out to People"
OUR CHURCH MISSION STATEMENT
First Presbyterian Church of East Moline, IL, a part of the body of Christ, affirms that God loves all people. As children of God, we are called to live His word and to witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are personally involved in service and fellowship. We celebrate together in worship and sacraments, care for and minister to each other and grow in faith by study and prayer. We show God’s love through our acts.
Our mission is to be a center of worship that inspires and gives meaningful direction; that provides spiritual nourishment and Christian education; and that serves the needs of the congregation, the community and the world. We welcome everyone to this place of faith in a secular world.
(Developed by the 2002 Pastoral Nomination Commission)
Plymouth Congregational Church of East Moline, IL was organized in 1904 by 25 people who had been worshiping in the John Deere Schoolhouse. Plans began immediately to build their own church and the congregation celebrated its second anniversary in the basement of the new structure on 16th Avenue and 6th Street, the first church to be built in East Moline.
It was a very active congregation for 17 years. There was always a desire to be involved in missions. By 1920 there were five churches of the Congregational denomination within a radius of four miles, and each church was limited to a small area in its work. The Presbyterian denomination had broader field of mission and had not yet formed a church in East Moline.
On November 11, 1921, with a unanimous vote, Plymouth Congregational Church severed its ties with the Congregational denomination and was received into the Presbytery of Rock River as the First Presbyterian Church of East Moline, Illinois with 103 members. Others joined by the end of the year and all 179 became the charter members. The Rev. William M. Boaz, Congregational minister was approved by the Presbytery to continue as the pastor.
The original Women’s circle grew to three groups. They hosted many fund-raisers to assist with the church finances. A Married Couples Club originated in November 1940. This group joined the Presbyterian National Mariners in 1944 as The Paddlewheelers and became the first chartered “ship” in Illinois. The Christian Endeavor youth group, choirs, Sunday School, and midweek or Sunday evening worship services provided education & fellowship.
Plans to build a larger church had fallen through in the forties but in May of 1947, the congregation again began a campaign to raise $60,000 for a new church building, and a building committee was authorized in July. As many new housing areas were growing south of 25th Avenue, the decision was made to build “on top of the hill” at our current location. The cornerstone was laid on June 15, 1951. The church manse was built in 1959. The membership was growing, Sunday School classes overflowing, the church needed more room. A Christian Education building on the north end of the church was dedicated in April 1965. The membership peaked in 1972 at 587 members. The Presbyterian Women had grown to 6 circles, music expanded to 2 adult & 2 children’s choirs and each Sunday School class had its own space. Rev. George Steele was the pastor during this time. A partnership with Dubuque Presbyterian Seminary in 1970 enabled the church to hire six Interns for one year terms, under Rev. Steele’s supervision. After 17 years as pastor, Rev. Steele retired in 1976.
An elevator was installed in 1984 near the north entrance. A parking area for the handicapped was made across from this entrance. Handicapped Accessible restrooms were added, as well as space for wheelchairs in the sanctuary.
In 1921, the congregation wished to change to the Presbyterian denomination because of its broader scope of work. First Presbyterian has maintained its concerns for mission and for the community over the years. Over the years, many programs have used our facilities for their meetings, including Head Start/Project Now classes (now in its 32nd year), Alcoholics Anonymous, Smile-Awhile Preschool, East Moline Women’s Club, and Scout troops. Outreach missions added more recently include serving meals once a month for the Churches United Meal-Site in East Moline, a tutoring program with Ridgewood Elementary School, working with Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Q.C. Together, held neighborhood Easter Egg Hunts, rang bells for the Salvation Army, and worked with the First Day Fund. The Labyrinth, one of the first in the Quad-Cities, is still visited by many. A Prayer Shawl ministry has made and given away over 200 shawls to those needing comfort, support and prayers.
Worshiping together is our foundation as a church family. Many people help to enhance our services: adult vocal choir, children’s choir, bell choir, puppet ministry, a team assisting the pastor with sermons and a congregation who “Loves God, Loves Each Other, Reaches Out to Others.”
FPC recently celebrated its 90th Anniversary honoring those who have been members the longest and members who are descendants of our charter families. All donated historical papers, stories, and photos are on permanent display in our Heritage Room.
This bell represents a tradition of faithful followers who collectively built a spiritual foundation on which this church stands today. Built in 1905 it resided in the original church, 16th Avenue and 6th Street, East Moline, until 1952. It was then donated to Lutheran hospital where it remained until 1997. It was moved to this site in 2000.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
You are invited to go to http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/101/ for an introduction to who Presbyterians are and what we believe.
A LONGER HISTORY OF FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
THE STORY OF FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
During the fall of 1903 the town of East Moline was considered to be worthy and well qualified for the establishment of a church. Under the auspices of the Illinois Home Missionary Society and the First Congregational Church of Moline, the Rev. Frank Hoover was sent to begin a series of services. He soon won several people by his passion for souls, loyalty to Christ, and efficient preaching. After several weeks of services, twenty-five people were received as being ready to enter the covenant fellowship and form a congregational Church “So as to combat the evil rife herein.”
A preliminary organization at the John Deere school house on December 31, 1903 adopted the name of “Plymouth Congregational Church of East Moline.” Formal organization took place on January 15, 1904, and incorporation on February 28, 1905. The Rev. J. William Davis was extended a call to become the regular Pastor on February 3, 1904 at a salary of $200 per year. His pastorate continued until September 1, 1905.
Under the pastorate of the Rev. Henry Harris, which began September 10, 1905, plans were immediately begun for the erection of a church, and the congregation celebrated its second anniversary in the basement of the new structure at the corner of 16th Avenue and 6th Street, East Moline. At that time a vote of thanks was formally extended to the Ladies Circle “for their meritorious labors which so materially aided and made it possible for the progress of the new building.” Dedication services were held on September 9, 1906.
On January 2, 1907 the congregation adopted a resolution thanking Rev. Harris, who “by his mental, moral, and physical energy, has buried the prejudice of the people against the church, and has won the confidence of the community.” The same resolution noted that during the past year there had been an increase of 65% in membership.
The Rev. H, North served as Pastor of the church from October 8, 1907 to August 12, 1908.
In March of 1909 the congregation felt that the progress of the church had been retarded and they were unable to support a Pastor, sustain the indebtedness on their building and the assessments of the municipal improvements to the church property, and other incidental items. They therefore entered into an agreement to share a Pastor with Union Congregational Church of Moline. Then Rev. Frank Anderson served the church until January 14, 1912.
During the pastorate of the Rev. Malcolm Miller (March 29, 1912, to February 9, 1916) thirty-two new members were received. In 1918, new pews were added to the church at cost of $150.
On November 11, 1921, Plymouth Congregational Church severed its ties with the Congregational denomination and was received into the Presbytery of Rock River as the First Presbyterian Church of East Moline, Illinois with 103 members. Other joined by the end of the year and all 179 are the charter members. The Rev. William M. Boaz, Congregational minister, at the unanimous request of the congregation, was permitted to continue as Pastor of the new organization pending arrangements for his transfer from the Congregational Church. The change was made after careful consideration of the broader field of work the Presbyterian Church would cover. There were at that time five churches of the Congregational denomination within a radius of four miles, and each church was limited to a small area in its work. The Presbyterian church is the only one of its denomination in East Moline.
The first meeting of Session of the new church was on November 11, 1921, and Mr. A. D. Taft was elected Clerk by a unanimous vote. The Rev. Mr. Boaz was received by Rock River Presbytery on December 22, 1921, and installed as Pastor on the same date, His pastorate continued until January 1 1924. The manse on 16th Avenue was purchased in 1923.
The Congregation met to elect a new Pastor on February 7, 1924, but since there was no fire in the furnace of the church, the meeting was adjourned to the offices of S. E. and George D. Long in the Manufacturers Bank building. Two Pastors-elect declined their calls. The Rev. E. E. Schroeder, a recent theological graduate was installed May 22, 1924. Minutes of the Session indicate that the Pastor took the month of June 1925, for his vacation and also for the purpose of getting married. He resigned April 7, 1927.
The Rev. C. E. Hoff was Pastor of the church from November 1927 to October 17, 1943, in March of 1931 the church participated in a series of union evangelistic meetings held in a tabernacle erected on 16th Avenue between 8th and 9th Streets, By the end of 1932, the membership was 203.
Rev. David Brigham was called as Pastor January 2, 1944. In June of that year the congregation entered into an agreement to construction of a new building. This resolution was later voided because funds were not available from the Board Of Church Extension.
A Married Couples Club originated in November 1940. This group joined the National Mariners in 1944, The Paddlewheelers became the first charted ship in Illinois. A Deacons Court was organized April 10, 1947. On May. 25, 1947, the congregation again began a campaign to raise $60,000 for a new church building, and a building committee was authorized in July. Rev. . Brigham resigned in September.
The Rev. J. K. Patterson was installed Pastor on September 22, 1949. In February of 1950, a congregational and corporation meeting authorized the sale of the old building on 6th Street and 16th Avenue, and the building of a new church at the current site. Architectural plans were approved January 31, 1950, and the cornerstone of the new building was laid July 15, 1951. Five church families took second mortgages on their homes to help meet the building fund drive. The building was dedicated in March of 1952. Membership was now 255. In 1959, a new manse was built just north of the church.
The women of the church had been active in the Ladies Circle, the Nevin Club and the Missionary Society since the beginning of the church. On February 25, 1953, they were organized into Presbyterian Women’s Organization, and reorganized July 17, 1957, as the United Presbyterian Women; after the Reunion in 1983 the name was changed to PW.
An electric carillon was installed in memory of Mrs. Hollis Warren by her husband, and was first played on May 13, 1956. Dr. Patterson resigned as Pastor March 16, 1958, in order to take a position on the Synod staff.
The Rev. George E. Steele was installed March 22, 1959. He spent many hours going door to door, visiting with people in the new housing areas springing up near the church. By the end of 1959, seventy new members had been gained. In January of 1961, the Long Range PlannIng Committee recommended to the congregation that a Christian Education building be built as soon as possible, and additional parking facilities developed as they are needed. A building committee was appointed in March, and building and fund raising plans approved in April, 1963. Ground was broken on August 23, 1963, and the Christian Education Building was dedicated April 11, 1965. The congregation authorized the installation of stained glass windows in the Sanctuary on January 22,: 1967. The chancel window, “Come Unto Me,” is in memory of Mr. Robert Johnson, an elder of the church, and the nave windows depicting symbols of events in the Life of Christ are in memory of several members of the congregation during past years.
In May of 1962, Mrs. Traute Sloane was elected Church Secretary and the first Assistant in Christian Education, continuing in this capacity until July of 1973. On June 20, 1963, the congregation entered into the Personal Interest Program of the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations. The missionaries assigned were the Rev, and Mrs. Francis N. Seely of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The church maintained support to and communication with the Seeley’s until their retirement in recent years.
There has always been a program for the youth of the church beginning with Christian Endeavor in the early 20’s, later becoming known as Westminister Fellowship. Mr. Gary Hobbs was hired as part-time youth work director in 1966. Miss Judy Dekker held this position for 1969-70. Prior to this time, the youth groups had been guided and supervised by many adult volunteers over the years. Late in 1969, the Session began looking into the intern program of Dubuque Seminary. A seminarian would be with the church for one year as a staff member who would direct the youth work, and share in the preaching and pastoral ministry. July, 1970, brought us the first of six interns who would serve under the supervision of Rev. Steele. They were Rev. Richard Harken, 1970-71; Rev. Charles Pendleton, 1971—72; Rev. Alan Schaefer, 1972—73; Rev. Bruce Giese, 1973— 74; Rev. Donald Drummond, 1975-75;---and Rev. -Dan Patterson, 1975—76.
During the pastorate of the Rev. Steele the church reached a peak of 587 members in 1972. In 1976, he retired after 17 years service to this congregation. The UPW had grown into 6 circles; there were 2 adult choirs, a youth choir and a cherub choir. The Rev. Dr. James McPherson was installed July 10, 1977. November 20th of that year a new organ in the sanctuary was dedicated. In October of 1980, a Scholarship Fund was established for the purpose of awarding grants to church members who wished to attend, college or other post-high school vocational training.
Early in 1981, the kitchen was remodeled, providing new fixtures, countertops, and a new stove. A handicap Access Committee was formed in June 1981 and on July 25, 1982, the congregation voted to install an elevator near the north entrance. A parking area for the handicapped was made across from this entrance. The elevator went into use in the spring of 1984, and can take people to both levels of the church.
In 1921, the congregation wished to change to the Presbyterian denomination because of its broader scope of work. First Presbyterian has maintained its concerns for mission and for the community over the years. The goal for mission giving to Presbyterian programs has consistently been surpassed. Many members have served on committees and task forces of the Blackhawk Ministry Council, Presbytery and Synod. Part of the service to our community is to allow certain programs to use the facilities in our church. Those groups have included the Head Start/Project Now classes (now in its 32nd year), Alcoholics Anonymous, Smile-Awhile Preschool, East Moline Women’s Club, and Scout troops. At election time, the Youth room is used as a Polling place.
Music has always been a vital part of our worship. Linda Miller, organist, began in 1969 and Brian Nelson, musical director and Gail Glockhoff-Long, bell choir director have been with us for over 25 years and have become members as well. In 1983, Elvira Brandsmeier gave a gift of $3000 to begin a Bell Choir. A small engraved bell is displayed to honor her. Gail agreed to direct, volunteers came forward and they soon began playing during Worship. A Youth Bell Choir was also started; many of today’s ringers have been playing for 25 years. A request from the choirs in early 1986 to consider remodeling the choir area, spurred the Session to create a Chancel Renovation Committee and begin fund raising. March 20, 1988, the newly remodeled chancel was dedicated, giving the choirs more room and flexibility and giving a more open look to the sanctuary.
From 1991 through 1996 various members, working through Constructores Paro Christo helped build homes in Mexico. It was originally a Black Hawk Ministry Council project but in 1996 we had a full team of 20 from our church, who raised $18,000 to fund the trip and buy the supplies to build the house. Looking for ways to keep our young people involved with the church, a Puppet Ministry was organized in 1993 and soon became His Hands Puppet Ministry. They gave programs during worship, at other churches, even at the Meal Site one year at Christmas, continuing for close to 20 years. We celebrated our 70th Anniversary as First Presbyterian Church in November 1991 with an Open House honoring our remaining charter members, Margaret Hanson, Clara Haddick, and Anna Siefken, and recognizing the families of charter members still active in the church.
After much work & discussion by the Session and Trustees through 1995, the congregation voted to become a Unicameral governing body, with Trustees as part of Session. Committees became Commissions and new By-laws & Leadership Manual were written. November 3, 1995 we began a year-long 75th Anniversary year with an Open House recognizing those who had been members 50 years or longer. The following November, we completed our anniversary year with a luncheon & presentation of Proclamation from the city council of City of East Moline, declaring it “First Presbyterian Church week”.
The Deacons proposed that we begin a Parish Nurse program. A Sunday School room became the nurse’s office and Denise Maxwell was hired in 1993. In 1995 we began working with the Trinity Parish Nurse program and Laura Brown began her ministry with us.
Rev. Eric G. Nielsen was installed as pastor May 12, 1996. During that year, handicapped accessible restrooms were built upstairs & downstairs. Having realized that we could not raise $18,000 every year for a Mexico Mission Team, it was decided to become more “hands-on” mission at home. We began serving meals once a month for the Churches United Meal-Site in East Moline, started a tutoring program with Ridgewood Elementary School, working with Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Q.C. Together, held neighborhood Easter Egg Hunts, rang bells for the Salvation Army, and worked with the First Day Fund in addition to our long-standing missions: collecting food for Churches United East Moline Food Pantry, participating in CROP Walk among others. For many years a church van had been discussed and that dream became true in 1999. Rev. Nielsen & wife, Lisa, laid out a Labyrinth across the street, one of the first in the Quad-Cities, still visited by many. We lurched into the 20th Century, finally purchasing computers for both the pastor & church secretary and began a web site. In 2001, Rev. Nielsen & family moved to Wisconsin to be closer to family and once again, we began searching.
Many years after the congregation had moved to the present building, it was discovered that the old church on 16th Avenue was to be torn down. Carillons had been installed in the new church and Session felt we had no use for the old church bell. Dr. Nick Katrana, former member, purchased the bell and donated it to Lutheran Hospital. Lutheran Hospital was then torn down and the bell relegated to a warehouse. In 2002, the Van Tieghem family began the process of making the old bell a Memorial. Mike Tyler designed a brick & wrought iron housing for the bell on the west lawn where it was hung in 2003.
Rev. Rebecca A. Sherwood, “Becky” came to us in September 2002. Soon after, a group of Evangelical Presbyterians from Togo, West Africa became regular visitors and March 26, 2006, 17 adults became members. Their arrival led to reading the Scripture and praying the Lord’s Prayer in English and in French so we could be inclusive of the congregation we became together. Some of the congregation refreshed their memory of French classes. The church celebrated when Ben Barrigah, one of the early Togo members, became a United States citizen.
A new tradition began with Memorial Banners: every November banners are made to honor each church member who had died the previous year. On All Saints’ Sunday, the youth present the banners during worship.
A group of women began meeting once a month to crochet or knit Prayer Shawls, others made shawls at home and over 200 have been given away. In the past few years, many disasters have occurred across the country leading us to doing hands on mission a little farther from home. Offerings were gathered to send to the New York Presbytery following the September 11, 2001 tragedy. “Flood buckets” were assembled for churches in our Presbytery along the river. Several members went to Mississippi to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Our Sunday School children started collecting nickels to make a Mile of Nickels. With a little help from the adults, the goal was reached in 2009. Barb Newburg wrapped all those nickels end to end and laid them out on the lawn, circling the church and parking lot to spell “First Presbyterian Church”. The children are still choosing missions to receive funds.
Several current members are descendants of the families that organized this church and we hope to contribute as much to the history of this church as those in the past 90 years. As we celebrate this anniversary, we are also preserving stories and photos for a Centennial Anniversary which is only 10 short years away.
November 11, 1921 to November 11, 2011
Celebrating Our 90th Anniversary
John William Davis* January 1, 1904 to September 1, 1905
Henry Harris * September, 1905 to September 7, 1907
Walter H. North* December 19, 1907 to September 1, 1908
Frank H. Anderson* April 1, 1909 to November 3, 1912
Malcolm F. Miller* November 13, 1912 to April 20, 1916
Arve K. Johnson* October 8, 1916 to April 30, 1918
William H. Dorn* July 1, 1918 to April 1, 1919
H. W. Stein* June 1, 1919 to July 1, 1919
W. F. Bacon* August 1, 1919 to December 31, 1920
William M. Boaz April 24, 1921 to January 1, 1924
E. E. Schroeder May 11, 1924 to April 1, 1927
Charles E. Hoff August 15, 1927 to October 2, 1948
David J, Brigham February 24, 1944 to October 3, 1948
Jewell K. Patterson September 22, 1949 to March 16, 1958
George E. Steele March 22, 1949 to July 31, 1976
James C. McPherson July 10, 1977 to April 3, 1983
Mark H. Miller May 6, 1984 to August 14, 1994
Eric G. Nielsen May 12, 1996 to July 9, 2001
Rebecca A. Sherwood September 1, 2002 to present
PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN AT FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Written by Cathy Runburg (PW Moderator) & presented at the Spring Gathering in 2001
In the last couple of weeks I have combed through many old papers my mother had saved, old minutes books of the Session, previous PW yearbooks and have discovered some interesting facts. It didn't really surprise me because I had heard a lot of stories growing up. But it is amazing what the women of the early church were able to accomplish. Also interesting to see what things they did in the 1920's we were still doing the 80's and 90's.
How long ago do you suppose the first women's circle was formed? 1904 - I'd like to read you part of a paper found in my grandmother's things.
The Very Beginning of Women’s Group
In February 1904, a small group of women met to organize a church circle which consisted of women of different denominations. They were called the Plymouth Circle and met at various homes. The Plymouth Congregational Church was built in 1905. The circle had grown so rapidly that the group decided to meet at the church
From that time on the group started sponsoring activities to help finance the church. The first was a supper held in the back of Mrs. Willey’s Variety Store. There were tables and wooden horses carried down from the old Oddfellows Hall. The water was carried from the John Deere School, most of the food prepared at home, and the dishes were rented. The supper was served at 25 cents.
It was quite difficult at first to hold suppers in the church as there was no kitchen. The meal was prepared in the corner of the dining room (basement). One stove, a couple of tables to work on and very few cooking utensils and dishes were rented. 150 to 200 people were served at 35 cents to 50 cents. In later years a small kitchen was built. We had a sink, stove & shelves for cooking utensils. About 6 people could be in the kitchen at one time, but we managed.
In 1921 Plymouth Congregation Church became First Presbyterian Church of East Moline and the women’s circle became the Presbyterian Circle. They continued to hold events to raise money for the church.
The first annual report that mentioned the women's group that I found was 1923. The Ladies Circle had 67 members and there also was a Nevin Club but it had no report. The church had a membership of 167 so I think a majority of the women were in a circle. They spent $1020 which included $500 for manse improvement.
In 1926 they served the men's suppers, the Father-Son Banquet, had a Washington Tea (don't know what that is), a bake sale and a bazaar. I found a interesting note in the 1928 annual report: "Men's club not held often as ladies could not be induced to serve dinners as before." Apparently, it was as hard for Presbyterians to meet without eating then as it is now! There were 64 women in the 3 circles that year.
At the 1930 meeting, it was noted, "Rousing note of thanks (to the ladies) for great assistance to pastor's salary, redecorating of the church, and installing new furnaces - all on $1100.
This morning I ran across the minutes from a 1950 Congregational meeting to vote on whether to move to this location. The women were looking forward even then and were more vocal about it than the men!
The first mention of the Presbyterian Women's Organization was found in 1954. There were still the original 3 circles, Presbyterian Circle, Missionary Society and the Nevin club besides PWO and all 4 had separate budgets. Two of the original PWO board are still with us, Irene Schlundt & Edna Green.
In 1957 Rev. Patterson requested that the Session elect a Committee of Women to study over all women's organizations of the church. On July 7, 1957 a congregational meeting of the women was held to vote on reorganization. It was recommended that the Nevin, Missionary and Presbyterian Circles be dissolved and be reorganized to the prescribed form of the PWO Presbyterian Women’s Organization. The vote was 48 for, 4 against.
Goldie Wright and Betty Harker were in charge of serving the Kiwanis dinners back in the early 50's. We realized about $1000 a year from those dinners. And in 1958 we relented and began serving dinners for the Men's Club. Also in 1958 there was an intensive person to person contact regarding circles and we ended up with 72% of the total enrollment of women in the church involved in circles! That was the first year we held our Christmas potluck and I hope that is a tradition we will keep!
January of 1959 we had to reorganize again because of the merger of the United Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church of the USA. Our new name was United Presbyterian Women. That year the Spring Presbyterial was held at South Park in Rock Island and 700 women attended, 18 from our church.
In 1960 we discontinued serving Kiwanis Dinners but I found a note that said we later agreed to serve it longer so they must have offered us a pretty good deal. One year there was a note from the Kiwanis thanking the ladies for their special effort in serving the venison dinner. We also began our participation in the Fellowship of the Least Coin that was started by the aunt of our own Avis Dwyer. I couldn't find specific dates when this started or ended but in the 60's $1000 a year was budgeted to go to the churches general operating fund.
1964 was a year of major outreach efforts. Esther circle was formed for the young women of the church. There were 8 of us that first year. I still have the ceramic bean pot they gave me as a wedding gift in 1965. Study books were purchased for the 97 women of the church who did not attend circles. I was pretty impressed by that! We also began doing nursing home visits that fall as part of a Christian Friendliness program. Sometime in the early 60's we began serving Lenten dinners.
I couldn't find any minutes from the 70's and during that time, the type of reports we now include in the Session minute book were not done. So some of you are going to have to give us some memories of those times.
In 1984 we were a busy group. I'd like to read a couple of paragraphs from the annual report that year. Do you remember what that $4000 was spent on? (Drapery for the CE wing.)
There were 6 circles in 1986 with an average of 60 women in circles each month. We were making many changes once again as the northern and southern churches merged. In July of 1988, UPW became PW (Presbyterian Women).
In the nineties we had a Father-Daughter Banquet as well as a Mother-Daughter Tea. This was the decade we saw a decline in our membership.
We were losing a lot of our older ladies who had been in circles for 60 years. And we have had problems attracting younger members. In many cases, they are just too busy. As I said in our business meeting, we have had great difficulties getting officers; we haven't had a full board for several years.
In spite of all this, I don't want us to be thinking of this time as "giving up". We are changing our emphasis! We will focus on fellowship and Bible study. We will still be of service to the church whether through circle activities or individually. I hope that if one group has a good fellowship or activity idea, they will contact the other circle or Sandy and we will do things on a more spontaneous level rather than planning events a year ahead. I hope we will always be looking forward and keep an open mind about our future. We don't know what opportunities God will put in front of us. Maybe being less structured will open new possibilities. No matter what, we will always be Presbyterian Women!
I have brought as many old yearbooks as I could find and some old minutes and annual reports if you would like to look through them. But before we do that I would like to hear how some of you became involved in PW, if there was a specific person that got you involved. And special memories you have of past activities or events. The floor is open to you.