Our Mission and Vision
Why we’re here: We are called to love God wholeheartedly and to love neighbors – near and far, strangers and friends – as ourselves.
What we do: The Lord calls, invites and wants us to unite and reunite in worship and service – healing and forgiving, listening and learning, including and inviting.
All are welcome in this place!
Our faith community gathers for worship each Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
Our worship is both traditional and contemporary: Traditional because it follows the practices and example of Christians through the centuries. Contemporary because God’s people are worshipping in the here and now.
Our worship is both formal and informal: Formal because the focus of the service is on God in Jesus Christ. Informal because people are encouraged to share and voice the joys and concerns that are on their hearts.
Our worship is participatory and sensory: Participatory because worship is the work of all God’s people, not just the pastor and other leaders. Sensory because worship includes elements that appeal to all the human senses, with particular emphasis on visual images.
Our celebration of communion is monthly: You don’t have to be Presbyterian to participate. All whose faith is in Jesus Christ are welcome at the Lord’s Table.
Children and Families
Children and youth are most welcome in Sunday worship, and we encourage parents to worship with their families every week. Children and youth are responsible for lighting the candles in the Sanctuary and pulling the big rope that rings our church bell.
During the service, we provide children with bulletins that include Bible-based puzzles and games. Activity bags with coloring pages and crayons also are available. A large rack of Christian books for children is available in our library, and children are welcome to grab a book and bring it into the worship service.
For young children who need to move around a bit, family-friendly spaces with comfy rocking chairs and children’s books are available in and near the Sanctuary.
Pastoral Care and Support
It’s pure and simple: The people of First Presbyterian Church care for friend, neighbor and stranger. We bear one another’s burdens. We support our sisters and brothers when personal emergencies arise and when life’s challenges seem never-ending. We lean on each other and lift up those who have fallen or been knocked down. We pray for and with others. Contact the church office to arrange a visit with Pastor Grant or one of our ordained deacons.
Faith Formation for Adults
Pastor Grant holds a weekly adult Bible study Wednesdays at 1:15 p.m. The group studies the Scripture reading that will be read in worship on the upcoming Sunday. This weekly study helps people prepare to hear God’s Word proclaimed in Sunday worship. A diverse group of between 10 and 15 people usually attend the study, and they all are at different places in their faith journeys. Currently, due to COVID-19, the group meets online via Zoom.
Faith Formation for Children and Youth
Christian education activities for children and youth take place on Wednesday nights. We serve a kid-friendly family meal starting at 5:15 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall, and parents are encouraged to eat supper with their children. Don’t worry if you can’t get here right at 5:15. The meal is served buffet style until 5:45, when children and youth gather for study and activities. The evening wraps up around 7.
Becoming a Member
God calls us to worship together, to be in regular fellowship with one another, and to serve friend, neighbor and stranger. You don’t need to be a formal member of our church to join us in these activities, and everyone is invited to participate in our life and ministry.
But people who become formal members soon discover that making the commitment provides them with a sense of belonging, a challenge to grow in their faith, and an opportunity to use their talent and experience to serve the Lord. They also discover that it’s a blessing to be part of something so much bigger than themselves!
If you’ve never been to church, if you are a lifelong church-goer, or if you are somewhere in between, our doors are always open, and you are welcome here.
If you have questions about formal membership or want more information, feel free to contact Pastor Grant.
Women of all ages are welcome to join the Presbyterian Women (PW), a group that seeks to nurture faith through prayer, Bible study, and participation in local, national and worldwide service projects. The PW meets on the first Tuesday of each month: a morning group at 9:30 and an evening group at 6. The women also meet for “mission morning” service projects throughout the year.
History of the Church
Our congregation has been part of the community for more than 160 years!
In 1856, 10 years after Iowa was admitted to the Union, the Cumberland branch of the Presbyterian Church eagerly sent missionaries to work with Native Americans, traders and early settlers west of the Mississippi River. On Aug. 21, 1856, a Cumberland Presbyterian church was organized in the small village of Waukon, where natural springs flowed along a busy footpath.
Worship was held in a schoolhouse until Fall 1858, when the first church building was completed and dedicated. The present, Gothic-architecture church was completed in 1904 and cost $18,000. An addition to the main church, which included a large fellowship hall, kitchen and chapel, was completed in 1959.
In 1906, the Cumberland Presbyterians united with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., and Waukon’s Cumberland Presbyterian Church became First Presbyterian Church. Today, the congregation is part of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
History of Our Denomination
Presbyterians trace their history the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Our heritage, and much of what we believe, began with the French lawyer John Calvin (1509-1564), whose writings crystallized much of the Reformed thinking that came before him. Presbyterians are ecumenical partners with a number of other Christian denominations.
In the New Testament, the Greek word presbuteros means “elder” and refers to the democratic custom of choosing leaders and advisors from among the wisest members of the church. Presbyterians leadership is founded on this concept of democratic rule under the Word of God.