Our congregation traces its roots to 1828 when Marion’s earliest Presbyterians held services in a small brick building downtown (which no longer exists). This building also served as a courthouse, school, and church home for three denominations.
Following continued membership growth, our church purchased a building known as “The Wigwam” in the late 1880s. It had served as Marion’s center for meetings, entertainment and conventions.
Continuing to expand, our current home was built over a three-year period on the site of The Wigwam. The foundation was made of blue limestone; Berean sandstone was used for the main building. It took three years to complete – at a cost of $45,000 – and was formally dedicated in 1896.
In his last sermon at the old church, First Presbyterian’s minister Rev. W.E. Thomas (father of six-time Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas) spoke words of hope that still resonate today:
“…Christ has endowed us with hope … Let us turn to the future today with gratitude for the past and with renewed zeal, faith and hope for days to come…”
In 1996, 100 years after it was originally dedicated, our building celebrated our Centennial. Among the many highlights was the unveiling of the Centennial Wall Hanging, now displayed in our Sanctuary. Take a close look to reveal its messages of history and hope.
A complete church history, created as part of our Centennial celebration, can be found in our church library in “The Great Stone Church 1896-1996, a Historical Sketch of our Congregation.”
How beautiful! That’s what we frequently hear from first-time visitors.
Our windows are among the finest examples of stained-glass workmanship, with many dating back to our church’s earliest years.
Can you find the Good Shepherd? The Victory Angel? Martin Luther? The Last Supper? Jesus blessing the children? And many, many more. Don’t forget to look up at the Sanctuary dome and at the skylight gracing our Reception Room ceiling.
Perhaps most interesting of all is the window titled “At Evening Time it Shall be Light,” designed at the famous Louis C. Tiffany Glass Studio, New York, and installed in 1917. Located along the east wall (right side) of the Sanctuary, it is surrounded by five memorial windows portraying important figures in church history. Notice the Tiffany window’s unique colors of glass, created by stacking pieces of glass together (rather than paint) to achieve Tiffany’s desired color/effect. The window is listed in the book, “Tiffany Windows,” by Alastair Duncan, 1980.