Wallingford Presbyterian Church has a full calendar to mark its 125th anniversary. Standing near the church sign are anniversary committee Chair Roger Demos (left) and Rev. François Lacroix.

A church that traces its beginnings to a Sunday school will devote the next nine months to rejoicing in its yesterdays, its present days, and most importantly, its tomorrows.

Wallingford Presbyterian Church (WPC), at Brookhaven and Avondale roads in Wallingford, has scheduled a full calendar to mark its 125th anniversary.

Each month will have an individual theme highlighted by special events, recognitions and guest speakers.

“Wallingford Presbyterian is a church that is large enough to meet your needs, yet still feel like home,” said Rev. François Lacroix. “We are celebrating the past, embracing the present and excited about the future.”

Organized in 1891, WPC was built on an acre of ground at its present site that was donated specifically for a Presbyterian church. The 32 charter members were among those who, five years earlier, formed a church school that met in the living room of a farmhouse near the current site of Wallingford Elementary School. A professor from Lincoln University was the original minister and then a full-time pastor, the first of eight to serve the congregation, was called in 1894.

The church has had a number of growth spurts. Major building programs in 1929, 1953-54 and 1970-71 expanded the facility to its present size and configuration while maintaining the original chapel as the exterior of the chancel and front half of the present sanctuary. The complex was outfitted in 1991 with amenities such as sanctuary air conditioning and an enlarged parking lot.

September’s theme will be Homecoming and festivities begin Sept. 11 with the annual Rally Day. In addition to welcoming children to Sunday School and families back from vacation, members and visitors will be greeted by a new banner bearing the Presbyterian Church (USA) symbol and the words “Welcome Home.” The church will also dedicate the new Presbyterian hymnal, featuring more than 850 entries with a variety of musical styles and global songs.

A timeline will be started in the church’s Fellowship Hall which will be augmented throughout the year. Long-term members will be recognized Sept. 25.

Beginning with World Communion Sunday (Oct. 2), October will include the Blessing of the (live and stuffed) Animals (Oct. 9) and Reformation Sunday (Oct. 30). WPC will use the month to focus on an overview of its history and the importance of education.

Rev. David Drain, who served the congregation from 1980-2000, will visit Oct. 16. He will preach that Sunday and he and his wife, Marion, will attend a church-wide pot luck supper later in the day.

November will open with All Saints Day (Nov. 6), end with the first Sunday in Advent (Nov. 27) and provide an opportunity to honor veterans, active military and their families (Nov. 13). The monthly topic will be Stewardship.

As the church prepares for Christmas, the December theme of missions will be augmented with Christ Market. The yearly alternate giving fair offers a chance to substitute typical presents with ones that support local (after-school settings), regional (inner-city social services) and international (livestock and training programs) organizations.

The celebration continues in 2017 by centering on worship, music and arts, women and outreach, culminating in June with “Where Are We Going?” The WPC Strawberry Festival, a community-wide event featuring food, games, attic treasures, books, plants and other booths, will be held June 5.

“As I look at the history of Wallingford Presbyterian Church, it seems that our church has been like a lighthouse, sitting here on the corner and shining God’s light not only on those who pass by, but, through those who worship here, taking God’s light and love out to the surrounding community,” said Roger Demos, chair of the 125th Anniversary Committee. “First we were a small chapel that, through God’s grace over the years, has grown to the church that you see here today.”

For more information, call (610) 566-1644 or visit www.wallingfordpres.org.    

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