A Brief History of
First Presbyterian Church
- Our congregation has it’s roots in Pendleton back to 1885 starting with only 13 members. Our first building was on the corner of Alta and College streets (now SE 4th and Dorion).
- Our current church building was constructed in 1936.
- The money for the new building came from the estate of John & Jessie Vert. The Verts joined our church in 1889. John and Jessie were both emigrants from Scotland. John invested well in real estate and, having no children, he chose to enrich the town instead. Jessie passed away in 1927 and when John died in 1934 he left $45,000 to the First Presbyterian Church to construct a new house of worship.
- The Vert’s pictures and name are on the room which now houses our church library as well as a meeting and Adult Christian Education room.
- There was a catch though. The Vert estate would not pay out until the building was completed so members of the congregation banded together and lent the church the money for construction at no interest until it was completed and the estate released.
Ground was broken on May 6, 1936 and the corner stone was set on June of that year.
contents: a Bible; a copy if the church history to date; the history of the building project; list of charter members, elders, trustees, laborers, and pastors; a copy of the East Oregonian; pictures of the old church; and pictures of the groundbreaking for this building.
- This building was officially dedicated on November 22, 1936 thus fulfilling the requirements of the Vert will.
- At this point all we had was the sanctuary. We needed more space and in 1951 a committee was formed to construct an education and fellowship wing which was dedicated in October 1953 completing the outside of the building pretty much as you see it today. The Rogers Fellowship Hall was named for Lowell and Minnie Rogers whose generosity contributed greatly to its construction.
- Since that time walls have been moved, safety upgraded, office space built, and new stained glass windows installed.
- The five stained glass windows in the sanctuary were given by the estate of Robert T. Lister in honor of his late wife Carrie. Mrs. Lister’s daughters, Helen Levy and Joan Corey, were to designate how the bequest was to be spent in the church. It was their wish to fund as well as oversee the design and construction of these five windows.
The 3 east window panels depict three parables of Jesus: the Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep, and the parable of the sower and the seeds. The 2 west windows depict the dual nature of Jesus, completely human and yet completely divine. One shows the divine intervention which was his birth and the other shows the triumphant risen Lord of the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
The family also added enough money to purchase the round window on the south wall (also known as the rose window) which was completed in 1979. As one leaves the sanctuary at the conclusion of worship, you pass under the rose window. With its figure of Christ it commands us to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, Baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always to the close of the age”.
In 1982, when The Rev. Myron Nichols retired after 25 years at the church, funds were donated by the members of his congregation to purchase the windows in the narthex as an expression of their appreciation for his ministry. They show the transition between the holiness of the sanctuary and the demanding pressures of the world: human labor; marriage and family life; and civil government and justice are looking at the world outside and the image of the church is looking inside.