Mocksville First Presbyterian celebrating 250 years

Published 8:23 am Thursday, April 13, 2017

By Paul Beaver

Special to the Enterprise

As First Presbyterian Church of Mocksville prepares to celebrate its 250th anniversary May 27-28, the 2017 Lenten Series offered a precursor to this upcoming historical event.

The series began on March 9 with a taco dinner provided by the Chancel Choir and Bells of Praise. The program was kicked off by an informative talk and visual display by building and grounds committee members R.C. Moore and Kelly Alexander. The history of the physical structures of the church was covered – from the small log building at Joppa Cemetery in 1767 to the present-day sanctuary at South Main and Lexington streets built in 1905.

The evening concluded with the Rev. Sandie Greene giving her faith journey that led her from the role of being a member and teacher in Davie County Schools to the ministry.

The Presbyterian Women furnished a dinner of loaded baked potatoes to kick off week two on March 16.

Susan Caudill, co-moderator of the Women of the Church, talked about the role women have played in the church, beginning as far back as 1890 when the first formal women’s organization was born – The Ladies Benevolent Society.

The evening was anchored by Paige Maconochie, who talked about her faith journey that began at First Presbyterian. She is a first-year seminary student.

Week 3 found the Men of the Church grilling hotdogs and hamburgers on March 23.

The historic  portion was given by Elizabeth Krige and centered on the Sunday School program. Evidence indicates that Sunday School was an integral part of the overall worship experience as far back as the early 1820s at the Joppa Church. Vacation Bible School has been conducted regularly since 1936.

The night’s finale was “pastoral letters of remembrance” by the current minister, the Rev. Dana Fruits. She read letters from three previous ministers, the Revs. W.I. Howell, Paul Richards and Leland Richardson, which included their observations of the church while they served here.

The youth provided a pasta and salad meal on March 30. Lynn Yokley made a presentation on the changes in worship from itinerant preachers with various styles to today’s more structured format. She included a history of the organs and organists, dating back to the purchase of the first organ, an Estay Cottage Organ, in 1875, still on display.

The featured speakers were Sylvia Steele and Alice Brown, representing Second Presbyterian. Their talk centered on the long-standing close relationship between the two churches. Old stories and photos helped to relive the creation of the Second Church from First just after the end of the Civil War.

The series concluded on April 6. A dinner of chicken pie and salad was prepared by the Adult Sunday School classes. A historical look back at the domestic and international missions was presented by Barb Johnson and Kevin Fruits. It included commentary from Margaret Eckerd (member  since 1949) who, along with her late husband Everette, made a mission trip to Nigeria in 1975 to provide dental instruments and education.

Member Tom Nesbit emphasized the roles played by his church family and his own family in deciding to heed a religious call.

The Lenten Services provided a month-long look back into the 250-year history of First Presbyterian Church as well as a connection to the exciting future that lies ahead.