Church: Abbotsford 1st United Presbyterian (50th Anniversary - 2018)

Transcriber: Robert Lipprandt 

Surnames: Buchholz, Christiansen, Glidden, Johanek, Nikolay, O’Brien, Thomas, Thompson

----Source: The Tribune-Phonograph (Abbotsford, WI) 11/21/2018

By Kevin O’Brien

The First United Presbyterian Church of Abbotsford celebrated the 50th anniversary of its current church building on Elm Street this past Sunday.

The Rev. Charles E. Glidden, who was the pastor when the cornerstone of the church was placed in 1968, returned from his home in Joliet, Ill, as a guest preacher for the special worship service.

During his sermon, Glidden spoke about the history of the Presbyterian Church in Abbotsford, going back to the start of the Abbotsford Christian Alliance in 1894. He also spoke about his own life experiences and quoted from scripture to emphasize the church’s mission. “Christ is the cornerstone, and we are just the builders,” he said.

The Rev. Marsha J. Thomas led the service as liturgist. The church’s tone chimes group performed under the direction of Kristine Johanek, as did the church choir.

Following worship, parishioners and guests were treated to a free catered meal in the lower level fellowship hall.

According to an August 19, 1969, article in the Tribune-Phonograph, the origin of the church building on Elm Street goes back to 1956, when a parsonage was constructed and extra land was purchased.

“In 1965 Jack Nikolay donated nine acres of land, and in 1966, Carl Thompson donated 1,500 shares of stock in memory of his mother, Mrs. Rachel Thompson,” the article states.

Harold Christiansen offered the church access through his adjacent land, and Robert Buchholz granted an easement through his property for water and sewer, the article states.

The project was approved in April 1968, at which time a building committee was appointed. Construction started in July of that year, and the cornerstone was laid on Sunday, October 13, 1968.

The 1969 article about the dedication ceremony also provided some history of the religious alliance that preceded the Presbyterian Church in Abbotsford. The original group was responsible for the construction of a union chapel in 1895.

“Records show that the German Lutheran, the Swedish Free Mission Society, the Methodist, the Episcopal, the Baptist and the Presbyterian churches, at one time or another, used the building,” the article states.

On May 1, 1900, thanks to the efforts of the Rev. K. Knudson, “11 people gathered together to for the First Presbyterian church of Abbotsford,” the article states.

“The original church was torn down and replaced by a second church in 1925,” the article explains.

On august 17, 1969 letter written by Rev. Glidden describes the years of effort and dedication that went into building the newest church. That effort included financial pledges from 67 families and over 50 people donating time and labor.

“It is my hope that the same kind of personal dedication will continue to be the vital force of the First Presbyterian church of Abbotsford,” he wrote. “I pray that the sense of mission, historically the main thrust of the congregation, will be combined with a new sense of ministry to all the people of the community. May the congregation be dedicated to the use of these facilities to minister to the needs of the people in the name of Jesus Christ.”



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