A Lexington Church Continues its Legacy

By Maura Teynor

April 19, 2017

(Pictured: Sue Welch on the left and Mary Wise on the right)

The church no longer exists but its legacy will live on. 

Mary Wise and Sue Welch, on behalf of the Lexington First Congregational Church, invested the church’s remaining resources into a fund at the Richland County Foundation. 

They established a field of interest fund called the Lexington First Congregational Church Legacy Fund.  Earnings from the fund will be used for the benefit of programs and projects in the Village of Lexington.  The church decided to fold because of declining membership. The congregation gifted the church building and land to another church, Fusion, earlier this year. The property must always be used as a church.

Mary, the former church treasurer, said she began to attend the church over 30 years ago when a friend invited her to a service. She stayed because of the people.

Sue said her husband grew up in the church and she enjoyed the church because it was family oriented.

They both fondly reminisced about previous pastors, church members, ice cream socials, soup suppers and community projects.

Mary and Sue still attend service at the same church on Sundays. But now they listen to the new pastor, Jeff Robertson, lead a new congregation.

History of the Lexington First Congregational Church:

The church began as the First Congregational Church in 1862. Prior to that, they met as a group of worshippers of Presbyterian Theology, in a meeting place north of the old Lexington School House on Frederick Street. Rev. Adam Torrence accepted the call March 29, 1832.

Because of the Civil War, there was a split in the congregation in 1844 and Rev. Evan Evans left with a small number of members known as the “New School” Presbyterians. The small group would later become the First Congregational Church led by Rev. Samuel Kelso.

The church on Delaware Street was built in 1846 at the cost of $835.

Major building projects over the years added stained glass windows, vestibule, steeple, offices and a basement.

A bronze bell was donated by friends Bloomer and George Sowers from New York. The bell was cast by John Benson of the Brooklyn Brass Bell Foundry in New York. The bell weighs about half a ton and is 20 inches high and 28 inches in diameter. 

A special acknowledgment was given to the church’s Ladies Fellowship. Pastoral leadership was provided by many and included Rev. Guy Chapin who served the congregation on two separate pastoral calls and the Rev. Donald Rinehart who served the longest. 

Anyone can donate to the Lexington First Congregational Church Legacy Fund and receive a tax deduction at richlandcountyfoundation.org or by writing a check and noting the fund on the memo line.


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