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Historical marking held for church in Paris

Historical marking held for church in Paris

Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 3:10 pm

Historical marking held for church in Paris

ATTEND HISTORICAL MARKING — Attending the historical marking of the Paris First Presbyterian Church program were (from left) Benita Brown, Tennessee state registrar; Janie York, Tennessee state president; Mrs. Winston Richter, Capt. Charles Barham Chapt
The Captain Charles Barham Chapter, Colonial Dames 17th Century, marked the First Presbyterian Church of Paris on Nov. 15. Chapter President, Mrs. Bobby Bland, gave the welcome and introductions. Tennessee State Registrar, Mrs. Jack Brown, gave the invocation, Junior Tennessee State Guard of Paris posted the colors. Honorary Tennessee State President, Mrs. Thomas Wood, gave the history of the church. She said the congregation began as a Southern Presbyterian church organized in the 1820s by nine men and one woman who each donated $100. They built a house of worship and a manse on North Market Street, where Lasater Lumber Co. later stood. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized in 1857 at this location, and most of the Southern congregation remained. The Rev. Abner Cooper preached the first sermon in 1857 that lasted three hours. Negotiations with the Paris Masonic Lodge for a place to worship in a building at Poplar and Ruff streets were begun before the Civil War. They were not completed until 1866 when the Masons deeded the building to the church elders for $1,000. The Masons continued to own the lot and the church owned the building. In 1906 some of the branches of the Cumberland Church and the Presbyterian Church USA merged. W.E. Rogers donated the lot on North Brewer Street, upon which a large “manse” was built, the funds being raised by Mrs. S.H. Caldwell and Mrs. W.A. Grainger. The women of the church are and have always been very instrumental in collecting funds for every project, including, collecting money for the pastor’s salary each week, in earlier times. In December 1910 the church sold the building on Poplar Street back to the Masons for $2,000. They then purchased the land that the church currently stands on from a Mr. Alexander for $4,000. Plans for a church were drawn up by an architect named A.W. Woods. Mr. Otto Hauri, a talented builder and church member, was contracted to erect the building. From 1913-17 the congregation met in the Circuit Court room of the Courthouse. In 1916 the cornerstone for the church was laid. Rev. B.B. Lavender was the minister. The first service was held in the basement of the new building in 1917. The Presbyterian Church US and the USA united in the 1980s. The treasured stained glass windows are among the most beautiful to be found in any church in this area. Each window was donated by church members in memory of loved ones. The flowers in the sanctuary and fellowship hall, given by Mrs. Stephanie Tayloe, are in memory of Mrs. R. H. “Miss Diana” Rhodes, who inspired many generations of students in the Christian way of life. Librarian General Mrs. H. Ansil Boals presented the marker, and Mrs. Winston Richter unveiled the marker. Accepting the marker was Bill Williams, elder, First Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Bland invited all to the fellowship room for tasty desserts. The Rev. Robert D. Scott gave the benediction. The Tennessee State Guard performed the Retiring of the Colors.wcp 12-18-08

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