As First Presbyterian Church in Manchester celebrates its 150th year at services this weekend, the congregation will have a chance to reflect on its past as it moves toward the future.
The church will celebrate Sunday, Aug 18 with a special service at 10 a.m. followed by a meal and fellowship. A former pastor, the Rev. Gary Keast, will return to assist in the service.
For the Rev. Max Muska, who has been the pastor at the church since 2017, the celebration is a special time.
“We have a group of people working to tell the history of the church with historical displays, old photos and even old bulletins dating back to the early 1900s,” he said.
With a congregation of just over 100, Muska said the church has lasted because of the people. “We have people who have dedicated their time, their talents and their money. It has meant a lot to a lot of people.”
Muska said his congregation isn’t as concerned about growth as much as it is about helping the community. “The best thing I can say about the congregation is that they try to be good neighbors. It’s their top priority, both as part of the church and on their own in their personal lives.”
Muska explained the congregation helps with the local food bank, as well as assists with the Second Helpings meal program at the United Methodist Church.
For church member Lucia Hutchcroft, the idea of being a good neighbor is important. “We have a few community projects that quietly get done. We’ve been a small but mighty church that has tried to do things for the community and share God’s love that way.”
Muska said his sermon Sunday will address the past but also look toward the future. “I’ll talk about who we’ve been, who we are now and who we hope to be. The thread that runs through all of that is being good neighbors and being active in the community.”
He said Manchester has seen change over 150 years and he expects it to change going forward. He said that may mean changing what it means to be a neighbor. “What it looked like to be a good neighbor 50 years ago might look different than what it looks like to be a good neighbor now or in 25 years from now. It’s my hope this church can continue to grow and to adapt to the ways the community changes around us.”