If buildings could talk the old white church on Sycamore Street would have hundreds of stories to tell. The building will soon be gone but the legacy it leaves in this community has been preserved in a 20 page booklet authored by the late Wanda McQuilkin in 1992 as the Presbyterian Church celebrated its 125th anniversary. Always the musician, Wanda became local historian, poet and author/editor with this booklet.
From its inception in1868 the congregation was served by 31 pastors. The stories of these men alone could fill several commercial volumes. Because of Wanda's research I know that after serving the congregation here in 1942-43 a student pastor named Fredrick R. Passler left to become a flying missionary in Yucatan. He died while flying his mission plane named “Gospel Wings” twenty years later on Nov. 13, 1962. Wanda wrote “He was a dedicated Christian, husband and father.” He was also part of this community's history and heritage.
Going back farther I find that from 1889 until 1904 the church was served by Pastor S.E. Koons. In 1903 the pastor's son, Wade Koons, was sent as a missionary to Korea. When the Japanese occupied Korea he was accused of espionage and imprisoned. That sent me to check Korean history and to the fact that it has been the focus of war since time began!
“When the church was redecorated in 1936 the back wall of the sanctuary featured a painting of a gold cross interspersed with white lilies painted by H.D. Kline,” wrote Wanda. Kline was a respected LPC business man and a very talented artist. If you own a piece of his art work you have a treasure. This bit of information calls us to remember we are more than we think we are. We have a rich history and heritage, and though the building has served its purpose and must go, as a community we are obliged to honor the large part that Presbyterian congregation has played and the old members continue to play as they carry their heritage to new places. The building will come down but thanks to Wanda who wrote, and her husband Kirk who gave me a copy of her booklet, I have more stories to tell.