Feb 16, 1868:
The First Presbyterian Church of Harvard was organized and held services in Empire Hall.
Mar 14, 1868:
The Sunday School was organized.
Nov 1, 1868:
$500.00 was pledged toward building a church. The total cost of lot, building and furniture was $3,714.13.
Because of financial difficulties, the Presbyterian and Congregational churches united.
Rev. J. L. Tait was the first minister to wear a robe while he preached. Mrs. Tait’s Sunday School class later grew into E.O.W.
A new larger church was built and dedicated debt free on June 30. J.U. was formed this year.
The congregation authorized the borrowing of $3,200.00 to buy the house and lot just north of the church.
Rev. Robert Wirth Frank served as pastor, coming from Marengo Church.
Rev. William Hodgson was the first pastor to completely fill the auditorium on Sunday mornings. In his first year, 106 new members were added.
Rev. Wilford Hall Taylor came to Harvard. He and his wife were the first occupants of the newly built manse. He founded a Junior Church and branch Sunday Schools on the south side of town and Lawrence. He spoke to a group of farm families about his trip to Europe and this group grew into the interdenominational Farmers Fellowship. Youngsters from their families became part of youth group meetings – about 65 each Sunday night.
Rev. William J. DuBourdieu came. He and his wife did much to revitalize Farmers Fellowship. He did much to increase interest in missionary work.
Dr. James Congdon was stated supply minister. He always spoke without notes.
Dr. Papperman, his wife and 3 daughters, came from Chicago. Mrs. Papperman organized T.E.L. Club and started U.P.W. Remodeling was done in the church basement. Meet and Eat (a group of young married couples) was formed.
Rev. Donald Riker came. He was well liked and filled the auditorium each Sunday. People were very disappointed when he decided to leave the ministry.
While Rev. David Pfleiderer was here, a new Christian Education addition was made to the building consisting of three classrooms, rest rooms, a hall upstairs, and a large multi-purpose room in the basement. The sanctuary, chapel, and parlor were also remodeled.
An addition was made to the manse for Rev. Harold Demus and his family. The “Cellar” was started (a Presbyterian sponsored program for all Harvard youth that met on Saturday nights). This grew into the “Coffee House” in 1973. This same year Kurt Pasko became Youth & Christian Education Director. November 1975 the Men’s Prayer Breakfast group was started. The purchase of the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church property was made in January 1980.
The Harvard Historical Society began renting the former St. Paul’s Lutheran Church property.
The church office was remodeled as a memorial to Estelle Olson who was church secretary for many years, as well as being choir director. Joint Lenten services with other Harvard churches began.
Rev. Demus left to go to a church in Ohio. Rev. James Breckenridge became moderator until Rev. Richard Harmison became interim pastor in May.
In September, Rev. Jeff Borgerson, his wife Joyce, and their two sons, Jacob and Joel, came from a church in Hoopeston, Illinois to become our new Pastor.
The St. Paul’s property was sold to the Harvard Historical Society.
In October the Church hired a new secretary, Janet Carollo.
On Palm Sunday children and adults, led by Rev. Dr. Jeff and a donkey, participated in a procession that has become an annual event. A group went to
Kemmerer Orphanage at Assumption, Illinois, for a week to do whatever work was needed. This was done each summer for several years.
Elaine Olmstead became our student pastor.
Much repair work was done on the church throughout the year. The beginning of “our dream” took form when Session appointed a Future Facility Committee to investigate options and needs; they recommended a new church.
Jan 31, 1993:
A land acquisition committee was appointed to look for a suitable sight for a new church.
Two parishioners were part of a Blackhawk mission trip to Kenya. They came back with a strong desire to help an orphanage – the Githiga Children’s Home. Over the next five years, we gave two cows, many blankets, and partnered with the Waltham Church to dig the well deeper and supply a pump and electricity. Support of the home is continued annually.
Ten acres were purchased on Harvard Hills Road. The architectural firm, Williams and Elliott Associates, were employed to design our building.
Rev. Borgerson spent two weeks visiting holy sites and taking classes as part of a study visit to Israel.
May 30, 1998:
Groundbreaking was held for our new church. Construction quickly followed.
Representatives were part of a group to travel to Kenya to finalize a partnership between Blackhawk Presbytery and Imenti Presbytery in Kenya.
June 6, 1999:
The first worship service was held in the sanctuary of our new church and the new building dedicated. The dream was realized!! The old building was sold to the New Life Pentecostal Church.
Many additions were made to our new church in the way of built-in improvements and furnishings, completely finishing and equipping the new kitchen, fellowship hall, and the parlor. Playground and sports equipment was added and parking lot improved. This continues to be an on-going project.
Seven represented FPC-Harvard on another working mission trip to Kenya, visiting and working at Githiga Children’s Home.
Our church family hosted 3 friends from Imenti Presbytery in Kenya for several days. A potluck supper and program were hosted with each of the visitors giving a presentation of their work with the church and Githiga Children’s Home in Kenya.
First Presbyterian hosted their first Christian Rock Concert at the church. A memorial garden was planted outside the parlor windows.
June 6, 2004:
By the grace and power of God, we burned the mortgage on the fifth anniversary of our first Worship Service in our new church.
The first Folkfest took place on the church grounds with individuals and groups entertaining.
Donated shoes, hats and mittens were boxed and mailed to Afghanistan. “Presbyterians In Action” (PIA) summer project was to fix a parishioner’s garage. The Brat Stand during Harvard’s Milk Days continued and Folkfest returned. A Coffee House in Fellowship Hall was initiated for young adults. A Memorial Rose Garden was established on the south side of the church.
Rev. Jeff and others fashioned a Prayer Labyrinth on part of the back 5 acres which is an on-going project. The Brat Stand during Milk Days and Folkfest were repeated. “Presbyterians In Action” (PIA) again worked outside a dedicated parishioner’s residence. A clavinova was purchased for use during worship.
2007: A projection system was installed in the sanctuary to integrate visual power-point presentations during worship. PIA worked outside on a parishioner’s home. Foundation provided lighted brick columns at our entrance way.
PIA worked outside on a parishioner’s home.
Foundation provided lighted brick columns at our entrance way.
The gazebo donated by Harry and Sonya Stafford was dedicated to the memory of their son, Jeff.
The Harvard Milk Days Brat Stand tradition continues each year with the dedication of several members.
Vacation Bible School was changed from a week of ½ day hours to full days with the guidance of the staff from Stronghold. Rev. Jeff and three church members joined with other members of the Presbytery to journey to Kenya and while there visited Githiga Children's Home.
An amendment to our By-laws regarding our Church Life Committee’s name being changed to Church Membership and updating it’s duties.
Session worked with the Worship Committee to change the format of our Sunday Worship Services. Our 9 am Service now includes a Praise Band. We began to hold Fellowship Time between Sunday Worship Services with many good responses from our congregation.
PW held the Luncheon here for the Presbyterian Fall Meeting. Fundraising began for our new Piano. A New Pictorial Directory began. Our new Baby Grand was purchased