On June 23, 2001, with gratitude and rejoicing, the First Presbyterian Church at Mexico celebrated its Sesquicentennial, 150 years of service to God through this church congregation.
Since the early days of the town, Presbyterians have been a strong presence in Mexico. Meeting first with other Christians at the Court House for simple community services, by the 1840's they were planning to organize their own church. Although their first attempt failed, by 1851 a group of fifteen reorganized and was recognized by the Presbytery. The church slowly grew. The leadership shown by these first members and their determination to succeed have been characteristics of the congregation ever since.
Mexico Presbyterians have been associated with three different church buildings over the years. The first, a small brick meeting house built in 1858, housed the congregation for four decades, through the Civil War days, when Union soldiers removed the furnishings and used the building to stable their horses, and past the difficult years of reconciliation. In 1898, a large yellow brick structure in the Gothic style was built at East Promenade and Coal Streets, Mexico's "Church Corner." With several additions, it served through the 1950's. By the 1960's, the need for more space and more modern facilities prompted a drive for a new and larger building. Property was bought on Lakeview Road, then open fields, and a brick colonial church was built. Opening services took place on April 28, 1968.
Through these 150 years the congregation has been served by able ministers. Two pastors in particular have been outstanding in their long tenure and dedication to the church: the Rev. Addison A. Wallace (1887 to 1942), and the Rev. Robert R. Collins (1958 to 1990). In December 2021, we welcomed our current minister, Reverend Dr. Susan Presley.
The main strength of the church lies in its people. Its members have always given generously of their time and talents. They represent all facets of the community, hold a variety of jobs and business positions, have a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds, and contribute to many different areas of the church's work. The congregation has carefully nurtured its small town atmosphere where they know each other by name and support one another with both practical aid and prayer.
Most members are quick to say that the church plays an important and abiding role in their lives. Like Christians everywhere, they seek guidance in day-to-day living, long for the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, and know a deep desire to worship and glorify God.
For 151 years, Mexico’s First Presbyterian Church has opened wide its doors, inviting all people to join them in praise and service and Christian fellowship. In the same spirit it looks forward to the next 150 years.
Written by Leta Hodge – 2002 (Updated September 2022)