Churches

HISTORY
Coppin Chapel

1979

Fort Dodge Coppin Chapel A.M.E. Church is part of the national group of Coppin Chapels. 

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On July 22, 1855, a community meeting called together by Rev. Mr. Peet, rector of the St. Paul’s Church in Des Moines, organized St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

The first work of the congregation was to obtain a church building. Just one year after the organization, Bishop Lee offered to raise the remaining funds necessary for a chapel if Fort Dodge raised $1,000.00. The offer was not accepted. On February 17, 1858, the vestry resolved to build a church the next summer. Mr. J. L. Cheney, Mr. E. Bagg, and Dr. S. B. Olney were appointed the building committee. This building was a frame structure, standing just north of where Tobin College now stands.

The building was not completed until 1873-76 due to the panic of 1857 and the Civil War. This was made possible through the generosity of J. F. Duncombe, Webb Vincent, Beth Vincent, B. Grayson, H. Beecher, and Dr. S. B. Olney. On June 28, 1876, the church was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. H. B. Whipple and D. D., bishop of Minnesota.

The church was destroyed by fire on January 5, 1892. Immediately, steps were taken for the erection of a new structure. The vestry headed by Rev. J. W. Paige and Mr. Leon Vincent were appointed as the building committee. In the early spring of 1893, Rev. Page died. On April 23, 1893, the vestry appointed Messrs. J. C. Cheney, Webb Vincent, Leon Vincent, and A. J. Arthur as the new building committee. On May 24 1894, Mr. C. B. Hepler presented a proposal to build the new church with a cost of $7,000.00. This was accepted, and the building was erected. In 1898, the chancel was enlarged and a new organ was installed at a cost of $2,683.00.





First Baptist

1871

The First Baptist congregation has been serving the Fort Dodge community for almost 145 years.

Corpus Christi

1859

Father John Vahey was the first priest to come to Fort Dodge as a regular pastor in 1859. He built a small cabin to live in and started building the first of the church from rough-hewn logs.

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The Early Catholic Church in Webster County

Prior to 1856, there were little Catholics within the state. A few mission priests traveled the prairies and wilderness on horseback from house to house to find the scattered members of the church. Among these men was Rev. Matthias Hannon, who came from the southeast in 1853.

Father John Vahey was the first priest to come to Fort Dodge as a regular pastor in 1859. He built a small cabin to live in and started building the first of the church from rough-hewn logs. Among those who helped cut and hew the logs were Dr. W. L. Nicholson, Peter Reilly, William Reilly, and John P. White.

In the fall of 1857, Father Vahey left. Father McCullough came and remained for the winter. He was succeeded by Father Ellwood who remained for about two years. After Father Ellwood, Father Marsh came in 1860. He was well beloved and gentle, and he remained until his death in 1865. His remains are resting in the Catholic cemetery north of the city. A gentler, kindlier, and more well-known man never stepped on the soil that constituted his parish, which extended from Fort Dodge to Emmetsburg and Spirit Lake on the north, and to Sioux City on the west. Often, in the dead of winter, he would drive with his ox team across the prairies to minister to those in distant parts of his parish. Father Marsh and some of his parishioners cut logs and lumber from the hillside near Arnold’s damn to build the first Catholic school in Fort Dodge.

After the death of Father Marsh in 1865, Fathers Delany and Butler came and remained until 1870. Along came Father Thomas M. Lenehan whose long and successful pastorate is a part of the general history of the state. He remained until 1897, when he was made Bishop of Cheyenne. Father Lenehan built the present Corpus Christ Church which was dedicated January 1, 1883. He also built the Old Convent and began construction of the present school.

Bishop Lenehan was succeeded by Father Campbell under a temporary appoint. In September 1897, Rev. P. J. Burke was assigned as pastor and remained until September 1903.

Rev. B. C. Lenehan, the vicar general of the Sioux City diocese, whose long and faithful service as priest earned him the honor of promotion as Monsignor, came in 1905. He was succeeded by Rev. James T. Saunders.





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First Presbyterian Church was organized on September 22, 1856 by Rev. S. T. Wells, a missionary. The first members were Maj. W. Williams, Jeanette J. Williams, Samuel Rees, Eleanor Rees, and Andrew Miller. The first minister was Rev. Edward L. Dodder. Andrew Miller and Samuel Rees were ordained elders.

On July 21, 1856, William Wilson, Jr., of Philadelphia, of the firm of Wilson, McBane & Co.,

drew up a subscription paper soliciting aid "to build a Presbyterian meeting house in Fort Dodge." On September 22, 1856, the trustees received a donation from the proprietors of the town of lot three, block twenty-five, valued at $100.00. Money to erect a building was raised by subscription, and the church was completed and dedicated on February 25, 1856. The cost was $2,207.00. As the church grew, this edifice proved too small, and two lots were secured in 1880 on the corner of First Avenue South and Eighth Street for $1,600.00. Donations of $10,292 were raised. Work began the same year, and the church was dedicated on October 7, 1881 under the pastorate of Dr. Robert F. Coyle.

During the years 1861-69, the Presbyterians and Congregationalists held union services. The church has always been active in missionary work, and has supported a mission west of Moorland, at the Duncombe mills, and the Memorial Chapel on the corner of Fourteenth and Tenth Avenue South.

The Memorial Chapel was built by Mr. E. H. Rich in memory of his son, Willis Rich. The following have served the church as pastors: Rev. Edward L. Dodder, Rev. Lyman C. Gray, Rev. R. F. Coyle, Rev. Ezra B. Newcomb, Rev. J. Milton Greene, Rev. Phil C. Baird, and Dr. E. E. Hastings, who has been pastor since 1908. The belonged to the Presbytery of Dubuque, but now forms a part of the Presbytery of Fort Dodge.

First Presbyterian Church of Fort Dodge traces its roots to the very beginnings of the community. When the military post was abandoned in 1853 only a handful of civilians remained behind and the future was uncertain. It was only when the federal land office for North central Iowa was located in Fort Dodge that the economy of the new community began to boom. In 1855 and 1856 five churches were organized: Methodist, Congregational, Episcopal, Presbyterian and Catholic.

Credit for the organization of the Fort Dodge Presbyterian Church can be given to Rev. S. T. Wells, the first minister commissioned by the Board of Domestic Missions of the Presbyterian Church as a missionary and evangelist for the Synod of Iowa. Rev. Wells sent Rev. E.I. Dodder to serve as the first pastor in October of 1856. During the first two months, the congregation met in people’s homes but in December services were moved to the new but uncompleted public school.

The first members were Major William Williams (founder of Fort Dodge), Jeanette J. Williams, Samuel Rees, Eleanor Rees, and Andrew Miller. The first minister was Rev. Edward L. Dodder. Andrew Miller and Samuel Rees were ordained elders.

On September 22, 1856, the trustees received a donation from the proprietors of the town of lot located on the east side of Seventh Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue North. Money to erect a building was raised in the community and the church was completed and dedicated on in July of 1857. The cost was $2,207.00. The new church, like most frontier churches, suffered through difficult times. When Rev. Dodder left in 1861, membership had fallen to sixteen. Without a pastor, regular worship services were suspended temporarily.

In 1863, the Presbyterian Church and the local Congregational Church agreed to unite for worship and share a pastor. Under this agreement, which lasted until 1866, Presbyterian membership fell to only ten members. Over the next thirteen years, the church had eight different pastors.

When Dr. Coyle arrived, membership had reached 119 with 175 in the Sunday school. Under Dr. Coyle’s leadership a new church was built at 1st Avenue South and 9th Street, the largest church in the city, capable of seating nine hundred. With the support of the First Presbyterian Church membership, the Fort Dodge Collegiate Institute was established, the predecessor of Buena Vista University.

As the church began to grow, the building proved too small, and two lots were secured in 1880 on the corner of First Avenue South and Eighth Street for $1,600.00. Donations of $10,292 were raised. Work began the same year on a new building and the church was dedicated on October 7, 1881 under the pastorate of Dr. Robert F. Coyle.

Growth continued over the next few years as the church was blessed with several excellent pastors. Especially noteworthy was Dr. J. Milton Greene, who came to the church in 1893. He led the church to greater commitment to Christian outreach, including the organization of the First Presbyterian Calvary Church of Barnum in 1899. Under Dr. Green’s successors, the Rich Memorial Chapel was organized in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood and Sunday school centers near Duncombe School, at the gypsum mills, and at the brick and tile plants were established. Several women’s groups were established and successful efforts were also made to establish church youth groups.

Dr. Greene was succeeded by Phil Baird, a brilliant preacher and lecturer, and Dr. Hastings who entered the ministry after a career in law.

In 1916, Dr. Harless assumed the pastorate and served twenty years, the longest pastorate in the history of the church. During his term, membership grew and eventually exceeded one thousand, making it the 4th largest Presbyterian church in Iowa. In 1922, lots were bought at the site of the current church and a new building fund was started. The Depression of the 1930’s and World War II created financial hardships for the church, and plans for the new building were placed on hold.

Rev William Paden became pastor in 1936 and he brought a new vitality to the church. For the first time, focus was placed on families with the organization of the Mariners clubs. Church life was disrupted by the coming of the Second World War. One hundred and thirty-eight members served in the armed forces, roughly 15% of the membership. Others moved to new places to work in defense plants. In 1945, Rev. Paden entered the military as a chaplain and his position as pastor was filled by Rev. Harrison Hilscher, former missionary to China.

The return of peace brought a renewal for the church. The drive for a new church building was revived and in 1948 ground was finally broken. The new church was opened a year later in 1949. With expanding church programming, the congregation raised the money to add the East wing (the Commons) in 1970, offering staff office space, youth classrooms, a new kitchen and a commons for small church gatherings.

During the post-war, baby-booming 1950s, there was a revival of religion. Indeed, some at the time considered it a third great awakening. Then came the societal changes of the 1960s, which included a questioning of religious institutions. American culture changed drastically in the 1960s and 70s and the change was apparent in church life as well. Church attendance nationally declined and worship styles, which satisfied the previous generation, lost their appeal for the baby boomers and later generations. First Presbyterian responded by placing an increased focus on its youth programs, hiring full time professionals to expand the offerings.

Traditional styles of worship were also reconsidered and it was determined that an alternate style of contemporary worship might more effectively meet new needs. In response, the congregation purchased the former Jewish synagogue and named it the Shalom Center. First Presbyterian also committed itself to the construction of another addition, the Christian Life Center (CLC). Funds were raised in 2011-2012 and the new addition was completed in 2013. The CLC is a beautiful multipurpose facility that houses a new, more contemporary worship service for church members. It also was space used for large group meetings as well as youth recreational activities. A Hispanic ministry was added in 2004, which started its own church in the Spring of 2010. Vida y Esperanza Iglesia Presbyteriana was the first new church development of North Central Iowa Presbytery in roughly forty years.

In the first decade of the new century, First Presbyterian began two other new ministries that continue to enrich our community today. In 2003, the church began the KidZone Christian Childcare Center. The program has since expanded to include a three and four year old preschool, and care for children through elementary school. The ministry is a wonderful and valuable service to families throughout the community of Fort Dodge.

In 2004, First Presbyterian completed the Outreach Ministry Center, located across the street and just south of the church. This facility houses First Presbyterian’s wheelchair ministry and provides a space where people come together to work on a variety of projects for others. Through the tools and machinery in the OMC, members of the church are able to refurbish wheelchairs for Hope Haven International, help repair items for community events, and help others in need.

In the most recent years, First Presbyterian has mobilized numerous mission trips in other states and countries, helping the less fortunate while spreading the Gospel of Christ. In addition to these short-term mission projects, multiple members have begun non-profit ministries here in Fort Dodge and beyond including Gateway for Discovery, a women’s recovery home in Fort Dodge that opened in 2013.

The history of First Presbyterian Church is a story of commitment to advancing the ministry of the church by constantly striving to attract new members to the church and to embrace God’s Word. It is also a ministry that continually strives to reach and help people where they are in the community and even in other countries. This same ministry continues today and people of all ages are invited to join the First Presbyterian ministry and make their story part of the ongoing history of First Presbyterian Church.

Pastors through the Years

1856-1861 The Rev. W.I. Dodder
1863-1866 (The church had 8 different pastors during this time)
1867-? The Rev. Dr. Coyle
1893-? The Rev. Dr. J. Milton Greene
?-? The Rev. Phil Baird
?-? The Rev. Dr. Hastings
1916-1936 The Rev. Dr. Harless
1936-1945 The Rev. William Paden
?-? The Rev. Dan Ogada
1945-? The Rev. Harrison Hilscher
?-? The Rev. Dr. Gene Seikman

?-? The Rev. Gary Heinman
1990-2006 The Rev. David A. Feltman
2006-2007 The Rev. James H. Guyer (Interim Pastor)
2008-2012 The Rev. Jeffrey J. Martens
2012-2013 The Rev. Dr. Nancy A. DeVries (Interim Pastor)
2013-Current The Rev. Dr. Austin D. Hill





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First Presbyterian Church was organized on September 22, 1856 by Rev. S. T. Wells, a missionary. The first members were Maj. W. Williams, Jeanette J. Williams, Samuel Rees, Eleanor Rees, and Andrew Miller. The first minister was Rev. Edward L. Dodder. Andrew Miller and Samuel Rees were ordained elders.

On July 21, 1856, William Wilson, Jr., of Philadelphia, of the firm of Wilson, McBane & Co.,

drew up a subscription paper soliciting aid "to build a Presbyterian meeting house in Fort Dodge." On September 22, 1856, the trustees received a donation from the proprietors of the town of lot three, block twenty-five, valued at $100.00. Money to erect a building was raised by subscription, and the church was completed and dedicated on February 25, 1856. The cost was $2,207.00. As the church grew, this edifice proved too small, and two lots were secured in 1880 on the corner of First Avenue South and Eighth Street for $1,600.00. Donations of $10,292 were raised. Work began the same year, and the church was dedicated on October 7, 1881 under the pastorate of Dr. Robert F. Coyle.

During the years 1861-69, the Presbyterians and Congregationalists held union services. The church has always been active in missionary work, and has supported a mission west of Moorland, at the Duncombe mills, and the Memorial Chapel on the corner of Fourteenth and Tenth Avenue South.

The Memorial Chapel was built by Mr. E. H. Rich in memory of his son, Willis Rich. The following have served the church as pastors: Rev. Edward L. Dodder, Rev. Lyman C. Gray, Rev. R. F. Coyle, Rev. Ezra B. Newcomb, Rev. J. Milton Greene, Rev. Phil C. Baird, and Dr. E. E. Hastings, who has been pastor since 1908. The belonged to the Presbytery of Dubuque, but now forms a part of the Presbytery of Fort Dodge.

First Presbyterian Church of Fort Dodge traces its roots to the very beginnings of the community. When the military post was abandoned in 1853 only a handful of civilians remained behind and the future was uncertain. It was only when the federal land office for North central Iowa was located in Fort Dodge that the economy of the new community began to boom. In 1855 and 1856 five churches were organized: Methodist, Congregational, Episcopal, Presbyterian and Catholic.

Credit for the organization of the Fort Dodge Presbyterian Church can be given to Rev. S. T. Wells, the first minister commissioned by the Board of Domestic Missions of the Presbyterian Church as a missionary and evangelist for the Synod of Iowa. Rev. Wells sent Rev. E.I. Dodder to serve as the first pastor in October of 1856. During the first two months, the congregation met in people’s homes but in December services were moved to the new but uncompleted public school.

The first members were Major William Williams (founder of Fort Dodge), Jeanette J. Williams, Samuel Rees, Eleanor Rees, and Andrew Miller. The first minister was Rev. Edward L. Dodder. Andrew Miller and Samuel Rees were ordained elders.

On September 22, 1856, the trustees received a donation from the proprietors of the town of lot located on the east side of Seventh Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue North. Money to erect a building was raised in the community and the church was completed and dedicated on in July of 1857. The cost was $2,207.00. The new church, like most frontier churches, suffered through difficult times. When Rev. Dodder left in 1861, membership had fallen to sixteen. Without a pastor, regular worship services were suspended temporarily.

In 1863, the Presbyterian Church and the local Congregational Church agreed to unite for worship and share a pastor. Under this agreement, which lasted until 1866, Presbyterian membership fell to only ten members. Over the next thirteen years, the church had eight different pastors.

When Dr. Coyle arrived, membership had reached 119 with 175 in the Sunday school. Under Dr. Coyle’s leadership a new church was built at 1st Avenue South and 9th Street, the largest church in the city, capable of seating nine hundred. With the support of the First Presbyterian Church membership, the Fort Dodge Collegiate Institute was established, the predecessor of Buena Vista University.

As the church began to grow, the building proved too small, and two lots were secured in 1880 on the corner of First Avenue South and Eighth Street for $1,600.00. Donations of $10,292 were raised. Work began the same year on a new building and the church was dedicated on October 7, 1881 under the pastorate of Dr. Robert F. Coyle.

Growth continued over the next few years as the church was blessed with several excellent pastors. Especially noteworthy was Dr. J. Milton Greene, who came to the church in 1893. He led the church to greater commitment to Christian outreach, including the organization of the First Presbyterian Calvary Church of Barnum in 1899. Under Dr. Green’s successors, the Rich Memorial Chapel was organized in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood and Sunday school centers near Duncombe School, at the gypsum mills, and at the brick and tile plants were established. Several women’s groups were established and successful efforts were also made to establish church youth groups.

Dr. Greene was succeeded by Phil Baird, a brilliant preacher and lecturer, and Dr. Hastings who entered the ministry after a career in law.

In 1916, Dr. Harless assumed the pastorate and served twenty years, the longest pastorate in the history of the church. During his term, membership grew and eventually exceeded one thousand, making it the 4th largest Presbyterian church in Iowa. In 1922, lots were bought at the site of the current church and a new building fund was started. The Depression of the 1930’s and World War II created financial hardships for the church, and plans for the new building were placed on hold.

Rev William Paden became pastor in 1936 and he brought a new vitality to the church. For the first time, focus was placed on families with the organization of the Mariners clubs. Church life was disrupted by the coming of the Second World War. One hundred and thirty-eight members served in the armed forces, roughly 15% of the membership. Others moved to new places to work in defense plants. In 1945, Rev. Paden entered the military as a chaplain and his position as pastor was filled by Rev. Harrison Hilscher, former missionary to China.

The return of peace brought a renewal for the church. The drive for a new church building was revived and in 1948 ground was finally broken. The new church was opened a year later in 1949. With expanding church programming, the congregation raised the money to add the East wing (the Commons) in 1970, offering staff office space, youth classrooms, a new kitchen and a commons for small church gatherings.

During the post-war, baby-booming 1950s, there was a revival of religion. Indeed, some at the time considered it a third great awakening. Then came the societal changes of the 1960s, which included a questioning of religious institutions. American culture changed drastically in the 1960s and 70s and the change was apparent in church life as well. Church attendance nationally declined and worship styles, which satisfied the previous generation, lost their appeal for the baby boomers and later generations. First Presbyterian responded by placing an increased focus on its youth programs, hiring full time professionals to expand the offerings.

Traditional styles of worship were also reconsidered and it was determined that an alternate style of contemporary worship might more effectively meet new needs. In response, the congregation purchased the former Jewish synagogue and named it the Shalom Center. First Presbyterian also committed itself to the construction of another addition, the Christian Life Center (CLC). Funds were raised in 2011-2012 and the new addition was completed in 2013. The CLC is a beautiful multipurpose facility that houses a new, more contemporary worship service for church members. It also was space used for large group meetings as well as youth recreational activities. A Hispanic ministry was added in 2004, which started its own church in the Spring of 2010. Vida y Esperanza Iglesia Presbyteriana was the first new church development of North Central Iowa Presbytery in roughly forty years.

In the first decade of the new century, First Presbyterian began two other new ministries that continue to enrich our community today. In 2003, the church began the KidZone Christian Childcare Center. The program has since expanded to include a three and four year old preschool, and care for children through elementary school. The ministry is a wonderful and valuable service to families throughout the community of Fort Dodge.

In 2004, First Presbyterian completed the Outreach Ministry Center, located across the street and just south of the church. This facility houses First Presbyterian’s wheelchair ministry and provides a space where people come together to work on a variety of projects for others. Through the tools and machinery in the OMC, members of the church are able to refurbish wheelchairs for Hope Haven International, help repair items for community events, and help others in need.

In the most recent years, First Presbyterian has mobilized numerous mission trips in other states and countries, helping the less fortunate while spreading the Gospel of Christ. In addition to these short-term mission projects, multiple members have begun non-profit ministries here in Fort Dodge and beyond including Gateway for Discovery, a women’s recovery home in Fort Dodge that opened in 2013.

The history of First Presbyterian Church is a story of commitment to advancing the ministry of the church by constantly striving to attract new members to the church and to embrace God’s Word. It is also a ministry that continually strives to reach and help people where they are in the community and even in other countries. This same ministry continues today and people of all ages are invited to join the First Presbyterian ministry and make their story part of the ongoing history of First Presbyterian Church.

Pastors through the Years

1856-1861 The Rev. W.I. Dodder
1863-1866 (The church had 8 different pastors during this time)
1867-? The Rev. Dr. Coyle
1893-? The Rev. Dr. J. Milton Greene
?-? The Rev. Phil Baird
?-? The Rev. Dr. Hastings
1916-1936 The Rev. Dr. Harless
1936-1945 The Rev. William Paden
?-? The Rev. Dan Ogada
1945-? The Rev. Harrison Hilscher
?-? The Rev. Dr. Gene Seikman

?-? The Rev. Gary Heinman
1990-2006 The Rev. David A. Feltman
2006-2007 The Rev. James H. Guyer (Interim Pastor)
2008-2012 The Rev. Jeffrey J. Martens
2012-2013 The Rev. Dr. Nancy A. DeVries (Interim Pastor)
2013-Current The Rev. Dr. Austin D. Hill





First Congregational
1856

First United Methodist Church of Fort Dodge had its beginnings in the 1850's. This first congregation gathered to hear the word of God by Rev. Burleigh. The meeting lasted three days.

First German Methodist

1873

The First German Methodist Episcopal society was organized in 1873. At first, services were held in private homes and halls. In 1879, a lot was purchased, and a church was built on the corner of First Avenue North and Twelfth Street. Afterward, the lot was sold to the Christian Science Church. Currently, the church does not have an organization in Fort Dodge.

First Methodist Episcopal

1914

First United Methodist Church of Fort Dodge had its beginnings in the 1850's. This first congregation gathered to hear the word of God by Rev. Burleigh. The meeting lasted three days.

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In the fall of 1851, in the hospital tent of the military post in Fort Dodge, the first congregation gathered to hear the word of God. The congregation consisted primarily of soldiers, a few carpenters, a few trappers, and frontiersmen. The meeting, conducted by Rev. J. A. Burleigh, a Methodist minister, lasted three days.

First United Methodist Church of Fort Dodge had its beginnings in the 1850's. In 1851, a traveling Methodist preacher, the Reverend J. H. Burleigh, came to Fort Dodge to minister to the soldiers, the carpenters and the laborers in and around a forty mile strip of neutral ground near the Des Moines River where a military headquarters called Fort Dodge was established. This first congregation gathered to hear the word of God by Rev. Burleigh. The meeting lasted three days.

By 1854 a Methodist Class was organized and the following year (1855) the Fort Dodge Methodist Church was organized, originally named First Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. S. B. Guiberson, the pastor, was sent east to raise money and through persistent effort and liberality on part of the public, the church was built. Within three years a white frame structure was built on the southeast corner of Seventh Street and Second Avenue South. Until that time the congregation had been meeting in a brick school house across the street. It was the first church built in the city. It was a large, roomy building, and its erection was an exciting development for the young town.

With twenty years passed and under Rev. Lozier’s pastorate, the church membership largely increased and the need for a new church became apparent. At a session of the quarterly conference held on May 15, 1873, the matter was up for discussion and a committee was appointed to formulate church building plans. This committee consisted of E. E. Prusia, Isaac Garmoe, D. M. Crosby, D. A. Weller, John F. Duncombe, N. M. Page, G. R. Pearsons and F. M. Grant. Within two months, they had raised two thousand dollars. With this amount, the trustees of the church decided to go ahead with the building. Isaac Garmoe, E. E. Prusia, D. M. Crosby, G. R. Pearsons, N. M. Page and F. M. Grant were appointed to the building committee, with Mr. Pearsons as chairman.

At a session of the board of trustees January 8, 1874, plans were submitted for the new building. The board chose Mr. A. V. Lambert’s plans, and he was chosen as the architect. His instructions were to furnish designs and specifications for a church building to cost not less than fifteen thousand nor more than twenty-five thousand dollars. The construction started soon after, and the foundations were laid by Patrick O'Conner. The cornerstone for the new church building of Gothic architecture was laid in 1874 at the corner of First Avenue North and Tenth Street.

The work on the church was carried on during fall and winter. Messrs. Mitchell and Sulzbach had the contract for the brick work, and Mr. Israel Jenkins had the supervision of the structure. The First Methodist Episcopal Church was first occupied for services in August, 1875, although the building was not yet completed. Lack of funds made it necessary to postpone the completion of the building. Under his pastorate of Rex. I. N. Pardee, the church building was completed and formally dedicated on June 3, 1878. The building costs total was just share of twenty-two thousand dollars. Fifteen years later, the parsonage was built at a cost of $3,000.

The date when the First Methodist Episcopal Church’s name was changed to First United Methodist Church is not known.

The present church building of Greco-Roman design, was built on the same site and was

dedicated in 1915, to become known as the "One Foot in Heaven" church because of a book of that same name written by Hartzell Spence, son of the Reverend William Spence, pastor of the church during its construction. An Austin pipe organ was installed and has provided music leadership through the years with a new console and pipework added in 1955. Additional work in rebuilding was continued in 1969, 1988 and 1992. The building features a beautiful center dome and a bell tower. Bells, eleven in number, were given in 1915 by Mrs. Jonathan P. Dolliver in memory of her husband and other family members.

Through the years, members of the congregation were involved in the formation of other Methodist congregations including Riverside United Methodist (1892) and Epworth United Methodist (1906), development of Friendship Haven, a United Methodist related retirement center in Fort Dodge, creation of the Mission in the Valley, known as Urban Visions, the Lord's Cupboard - a food pantry housed in the church's office building and operated as an ecumenical project in the community, and a host of other projects dedicated to the ministry of Jesus Christ in this community.

In 1975 a medical clinic building to the north of the church was purchased and renovated to house our offices as well as additional class and meeting rooms.

The year 2003 saw extensive renovations begun on the 1914 building. New boilers, air handling and air conditioning were installed. In 2004 and 2005 the interior of the sanctuary and adjacent hallways were redecorated and newly carpeted. The chancel area of the church was enlarged.

In 2004, the congregation, led by its pastors, embarked on an outreach ministry - "Taking It To The People". An 18 wheel diesel tractor was fitted to bring the ministry of the church to people. Sidewalk Sunday School sessions, Worship in the Park, extended visits to other congregations and sites in other communities encompass an extended ministry outside the walls of our church.

In 2005, the congregation celebrated 150 years of ministry and mission in this community. Various worship services and program activities allowed us to "Remember our Past --- and Embrace the Future. The congregation gave thanks to God for members and friends from 1851 to the present day who have assisted in all the ministries of First United Methodist Church.

Sources:

*History of Fort Dodge and Webster County… by H.M. Pratt
*First United Methodist Church website





First Presbyterian

1856

First Presbyterian Church was organized on September 22, 1856 by Rev. S. T. Wells, a missionary.

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First Presbyterian Church was organized on September 22, 1856 by Rev. S. T. Wells, a missionary. The first members were Maj. W. Williams, Jeanette J. Williams, Samuel Rees, Eleanor Rees, and Andrew Miller. The first minister was Rev. Edward L. Dodder. Andrew Miller and Samuel Rees were ordained elders.

On July 21, 1856, William Wilson, Jr., of Philadelphia, of the firm of Wilson, McBane & Co.,

drew up a subscription paper soliciting aid "to build a Presbyterian meeting house in Fort Dodge." On September 22, 1856, the trustees received a donation from the proprietors of the town of lot three, block twenty-five, valued at $100.00. Money to erect a building was raised by subscription, and the church was completed and dedicated on February 25, 1856. The cost was $2,207.00. As the church grew, this edifice proved too small, and two lots were secured in 1880 on the corner of First Avenue South and Eighth Street for $1,600.00. Donations of $10,292 were raised. Work began the same year, and the church was dedicated on October 7, 1881 under the pastorate of Dr. Robert F. Coyle.

During the years 1861-69, the Presbyterians and Congregationalists held union services. The church has always been active in missionary work, and has supported a mission west of Moorland, at the Duncombe mills, and the Memorial Chapel on the corner of Fourteenth and Tenth Avenue South.

The Memorial Chapel was built by Mr. E. H. Rich in memory of his son, Willis Rich. The following have served the church as pastors: Rev. Edward L. Dodder, Rev. Lyman C. Gray, Rev. R. F. Coyle, Rev. Ezra B. Newcomb, Rev. J. Milton Greene, Rev. Phil C. Baird, and Dr. E. E. Hastings, who has been pastor since 1908. The belonged to the Presbytery of Dubuque, but now forms a part of the Presbytery of Fort Dodge.

First Presbyterian Church of Fort Dodge traces its roots to the very beginnings of the community. When the military post was abandoned in 1853 only a handful of civilians remained behind and the future was uncertain. It was only when the federal land office for North central Iowa was located in Fort Dodge that the economy of the new community began to boom. In 1855 and 1856 five churches were organized: Methodist, Congregational, Episcopal, Presbyterian and Catholic.

Credit for the organization of the Fort Dodge Presbyterian Church can be given to Rev. S. T. Wells, the first minister commissioned by the Board of Domestic Missions of the Presbyterian Church as a missionary and evangelist for the Synod of Iowa. Rev. Wells sent Rev. E.I. Dodder to serve as the first pastor in October of 1856. During the first two months, the congregation met in people’s homes but in December services were moved to the new but uncompleted public school.

The first members were Major William Williams (founder of Fort Dodge), Jeanette J. Williams, Samuel Rees, Eleanor Rees, and Andrew Miller. The first minister was Rev. Edward L. Dodder. Andrew Miller and Samuel Rees were ordained elders.

On September 22, 1856, the trustees received a donation from the proprietors of the town of lot located on the east side of Seventh Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue North. Money to erect a building was raised in the community and the church was completed and dedicated on in July of 1857. The cost was $2,207.00. The new church, like most frontier churches, suffered through difficult times. When Rev. Dodder left in 1861, membership had fallen to sixteen. Without a pastor, regular worship services were suspended temporarily.

In 1863, the Presbyterian Church and the local Congregational Church agreed to unite for worship and share a pastor. Under this agreement, which lasted until 1866, Presbyterian membership fell to only ten members. Over the next thirteen years, the church had eight different pastors.

When Dr. Coyle arrived, membership had reached 119 with 175 in the Sunday school. Under Dr. Coyle’s leadership a new church was built at 1st Avenue South and 9th Street, the largest church in the city, capable of seating nine hundred. With the support of the First Presbyterian Church membership, the Fort Dodge Collegiate Institute was established, the predecessor of Buena Vista University.

As the church began to grow, the building proved too small, and two lots were secured in 1880 on the corner of First Avenue South and Eighth Street for $1,600.00. Donations of $10,292 were raised. Work began the same year on a new building and the church was dedicated on October 7, 1881 under the pastorate of Dr. Robert F. Coyle.

Growth continued over the next few years as the church was blessed with several excellent pastors. Especially noteworthy was Dr. J. Milton Greene, who came to the church in 1893. He led the church to greater commitment to Christian outreach, including the organization of the First Presbyterian Calvary Church of Barnum in 1899. Under Dr. Green’s successors, the Rich Memorial Chapel was organized in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood and Sunday school centers near Duncombe School, at the gypsum mills, and at the brick and tile plants were established. Several women’s groups were established and successful efforts were also made to establish church youth groups.

Dr. Greene was succeeded by Phil Baird, a brilliant preacher and lecturer, and Dr. Hastings who entered the ministry after a career in law.

In 1916, Dr. Harless assumed the pastorate and served twenty years, the longest pastorate in the history of the church. During his term, membership grew and eventually exceeded one thousand, making it the 4th largest Presbyterian church in Iowa. In 1922, lots were bought at the site of the current church and a new building fund was started. The Depression of the 1930’s and World War II created financial hardships for the church, and plans for the new building were placed on hold.

Rev William Paden became pastor in 1936 and he brought a new vitality to the church. For the first time, focus was placed on families with the organization of the Mariners clubs. Church life was disrupted by the coming of the Second World War. One hundred and thirty-eight members served in the armed forces, roughly 15% of the membership. Others moved to new places to work in defense plants. In 1945, Rev. Paden entered the military as a chaplain and his position as pastor was filled by Rev. Harrison Hilscher, former missionary to China.

The return of peace brought a renewal for the church. The drive for a new church building was revived and in 1948 ground was finally broken. The new church was opened a year later in 1949. With expanding church programming, the congregation raised the money to add the East wing (the Commons) in 1970, offering staff office space, youth classrooms, a new kitchen and a commons for small church gatherings.

During the post-war, baby-booming 1950s, there was a revival of religion. Indeed, some at the time considered it a third great awakening. Then came the societal changes of the 1960s, which included a questioning of religious institutions. American culture changed drastically in the 1960s and 70s and the change was apparent in church life as well. Church attendance nationally declined and worship styles, which satisfied the previous generation, lost their appeal for the baby boomers and later generations. First Presbyterian responded by placing an increased focus on its youth programs, hiring full time professionals to expand the offerings.

Traditional styles of worship were also reconsidered and it was determined that an alternate style of contemporary worship might more effectively meet new needs. In response, the congregation purchased the former Jewish synagogue and named it the Shalom Center. First Presbyterian also committed itself to the construction of another addition, the Christian Life Center (CLC). Funds were raised in 2011-2012 and the new addition was completed in 2013. The CLC is a beautiful multipurpose facility that houses a new, more contemporary worship service for church members. It also was space used for large group meetings as well as youth recreational activities. A Hispanic ministry was added in 2004, which started its own church in the Spring of 2010. Vida y Esperanza Iglesia Presbyteriana was the first new church development of North Central Iowa Presbytery in roughly forty years.

In the first decade of the new century, First Presbyterian began two other new ministries that continue to enrich our community today. In 2003, the church began the KidZone Christian Childcare Center. The program has since expanded to include a three and four year old preschool, and care for children through elementary school. The ministry is a wonderful and valuable service to families throughout the community of Fort Dodge.

In 2004, First Presbyterian completed the Outreach Ministry Center, located across the street and just south of the church. This facility houses First Presbyterian’s wheelchair ministry and provides a space where people come together to work on a variety of projects for others. Through the tools and machinery in the OMC, members of the church are able to refurbish wheelchairs for Hope Haven International, help repair items for community events, and help others in need.

In the most recent years, First Presbyterian has mobilized numerous mission trips in other states and countries, helping the less fortunate while spreading the Gospel of Christ. In addition to these short-term mission projects, multiple members have begun non-profit ministries here in Fort Dodge and beyond including Gateway for Discovery, a women’s recovery home in Fort Dodge that opened in 2013.

The history of First Presbyterian Church is a story of commitment to advancing the ministry of the church by constantly striving to attract new members to the church and to embrace God’s Word. It is also a ministry that continually strives to reach and help people where they are in the community and even in other countries. This same ministry continues today and people of all ages are invited to join the First Presbyterian ministry and make their story part of the ongoing history of First Presbyterian Church.

Pastors through the Years

1856-1861 The Rev. W.I. Dodder
1863-1866 (The church had 8 different pastors during this time)
1867-? The Rev. Dr. Coyle
1893-? The Rev. Dr. J. Milton Greene
?-? The Rev. Phil Baird
?-? The Rev. Dr. Hastings
1916-1936 The Rev. Dr. Harless
1936-1945 The Rev. William Paden
?-? The Rev. Dan Ogada
1945-? The Rev. Harrison Hilscher
?-? The Rev. Dr. Gene Seikman

?-? The Rev. Gary Heinman
1990-2006 The Rev. David A. Feltman
2006-2007 The Rev. James H. Guyer (Interim Pastor)
2008-2012 The Rev. Jeffrey J. Martens
2012-2013 The Rev. Dr. Nancy A. DeVries (Interim Pastor)
2013-Current The Rev. Dr. Austin D. Hill





Riverside Methodist

1892

Fort Dodge was growing, so dividing the First Methodist Church was needed. In 1892, the Riverside Methodist Church, located in West Fort Dodge, was organized. A church structure was built the same year. Rev. C. E. Leitzell was the pastor, ad he also was in charge of the Epworth Methodist Church, located at the corner of Eleventh Avenue South and Twenty-First Street.

Sacred Heart Parish

1897

Sacred Heart Parish was established June 3, 1897 by Arch Bishop Henessy. Father Edmond Heelan, rector of the Cathedral at Dubuque, was appointed to take charge of the new congregation.

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Sacred Heart Parish was established June 3, 1897 by Arch Bishop Henessy. Father Edmond Heelan, rector of the Cathedral at Dubuque, was appointed to take charge of the new congregation. On July 21, 1897, work began on a church costing about $4,500.00. On Sunday, October 24, 1897, mass was celebrated in it for the first time and on Sunday, November 7, 1897, the church was dedicated with solemn and appropriate ceremonies by Monsignor Ryan and a large number of priests. Rev. R. Slattery of New Hampton preached the dedicatory sermon at morning mass, and at the evening service, Rev. W. Halpin lectured to a large audience.

The two Fort Dodge congregations are now among the most prosperous in the state. In 1910, the Knights of Columbus erected their building on First Avenue South and Ninth Street. St. Joseph's Hospital, built in 1908, was dedicated March 21, 1909 by Bishop Garrigan.

When Father T. M. Lenehan came here in 1870, there was only the little old. Today there are two churches in Fort Dodge, two parochial schools and residences, a fine brick church, a school in Clare, and churches in Barnum, Moorland, Lehigh, Duncombe, Vincent, Coalville, and the church on the Lizard, almost on the Pocahontas county line. The parish he had in 1870 has now over one hundred sub-divisions but few of his old co-laborers are living.

The soldiers left the old fort in 1854, and fast upon the advancing and protecting rifle came the Catholic pioneers. In 1855, Mrs. Hannah Reilly and family came. They settled upon the north half of section thirty-three in the Cooper township. They received a patent from the United States government. This patent was held for nine years, and then they were evicted. George Crilly was another of the vanguard coming in 1855. He settled upon the quarter section of land that is now a part of Oleson Park. He, too, had a title from the government but lost his land. For many years, Mrs. Reilly and George Crilly fought for their homes. Mrs. Reilly's case went to the United States Supreme Court, and George Crilly stormed the chambers of congress pleading for his home. They both lost but bravely turned their faces to the future and began again. Mrs. Reilly died here in Fort Dodge, and George Crilly died a few years ago in South Dakota.





St. Mark's Episcopal 
1855

On July 22, 1855, a community meeting called together by Rev. Mr. Peet, rector of the St. Paul’s Church in Des Moines, organized St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

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On July 22, 1855, a community meeting called together by Rev. Mr. Peet, rector of the St. Paul’s Church in Des Moines, organized St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

The first work of the congregation was to obtain a church building. Just one year after the organization, Bishop Lee offered to raise the remaining funds necessary for a chapel if Fort Dodge raised $1,000.00. The offer was not accepted. On February 17, 1858, the vestry resolved to build a church the next summer. Mr. J. L. Cheney, Mr. E. Bagg, and Dr. S. B. Olney were appointed the building committee. This building was a frame structure, standing just north of where Tobin College now stands.

The building was not completed until 1873-76 due to the panic of 1857 and the Civil War. This was made possible through the generosity of J. F. Duncombe, Webb Vincent, Beth Vincent, B. Grayson, H. Beecher, and Dr. S. B. Olney. On June 28, 1876, the church was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. H. B. Whipple and D. D., bishop of Minnesota.

The church was destroyed by fire on January 5, 1892. Immediately, steps were taken for the erection of a new structure. The vestry headed by Rev. J. W. Paige and Mr. Leon Vincent were appointed as the building committee. In the early spring of 1893, Rev. Page died. On April 23, 1893, the vestry appointed Messrs. J. C. Cheney, Webb Vincent, Leon Vincent, and A. J. Arthur as the new building committee. On May 24 1894, Mr. C. B. Hepler presented a proposal to build the new church with a cost of $7,000.00. This was accepted, and the building was erected. In 1898, the chancel was enlarged and a new organ was installed at a cost of $2,683.00.





St. Olaf's Norwegian Lutheran
1891

St. Olaf's Norwegian Lutheran Church was organized on September 22, 1891 by Rev. B. K. Berkeland with twenty members. For three years, services were held in the Swedish Lutheran Church. During the summer of 1893, a movement was started to raise funds to build a new church. Plans were drawn and accepted. In September of the same year, the foundation was laid. The church was finished and dedicated the last Sunday in October 1894. The pastor was Rev. P. C. Danielson.

St. Paul's German Lutheran

1861

The first worship service of the small congregation in Fort Dodge was held in the Leonard Fessel home on January 20, 1861 . The Rev. Dr. Frederick Fickenscher walked from Boone to Fort Dodge to conduct services once every 4 weeks.

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First Presbyterian Church was organized on September 22, 1856 by Rev. S. T. Wells, a missionary. The first members were Maj. W. Williams, Jeanette J. Williams, Samuel Rees, Eleanor Rees, and Andrew Miller. The first minister was Rev. Edward L. Dodder. Andrew Miller and Samuel Rees were ordained elders.

On July 21, 1856, William Wilson, Jr., of Philadelphia, of the firm of Wilson, McBane & Co.,

drew up a subscription paper soliciting aid "to build a Presbyterian meeting house in Fort Dodge." On September 22, 1856, the trustees received a donation from the proprietors of the town of lot three, block twenty-five, valued at $100.00. Money to erect a building was raised by subscription, and the church was completed and dedicated on February 25, 1856. The cost was $2,207.00. As the church grew, this edifice proved too small, and two lots were secured in 1880 on the corner of First Avenue South and Eighth Street for $1,600.00. Donations of $10,292 were raised. Work began the same year, and the church was dedicated on October 7, 1881 under the pastorate of Dr. Robert F. Coyle.

During the years 1861-69, the Presbyterians and Congregationalists held union services. The church has always been active in missionary work, and has supported a mission west of Moorland, at the Duncombe mills, and the Memorial Chapel on the corner of Fourteenth and Tenth Avenue South.

The Memorial Chapel was built by Mr. E. H. Rich in memory of his son, Willis Rich. The following have served the church as pastors: Rev. Edward L. Dodder, Rev. Lyman C. Gray, Rev. R. F. Coyle, Rev. Ezra B. Newcomb, Rev. J. Milton Greene, Rev. Phil C. Baird, and Dr. E. E. Hastings, who has been pastor since 1908. The belonged to the Presbytery of Dubuque, but now forms a part of the Presbytery of Fort Dodge.

First Presbyterian Church of Fort Dodge traces its roots to the very beginnings of the community. When the military post was abandoned in 1853 only a handful of civilians remained behind and the future was uncertain. It was only when the federal land office for North central Iowa was located in Fort Dodge that the economy of the new community began to boom. In 1855 and 1856 five churches were organized: Methodist, Congregational, Episcopal, Presbyterian and Catholic.

Credit for the organization of the Fort Dodge Presbyterian Church can be given to Rev. S. T. Wells, the first minister commissioned by the Board of Domestic Missions of the Presbyterian Church as a missionary and evangelist for the Synod of Iowa. Rev. Wells sent Rev. E.I. Dodder to serve as the first pastor in October of 1856. During the first two months, the congregation met in people’s homes but in December services were moved to the new but uncompleted public school.

The first members were Major William Williams (founder of Fort Dodge), Jeanette J. Williams, Samuel Rees, Eleanor Rees, and Andrew Miller. The first minister was Rev. Edward L. Dodder. Andrew Miller and Samuel Rees were ordained elders.

On September 22, 1856, the trustees received a donation from the proprietors of the town of lot located on the east side of Seventh Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue North. Money to erect a building was raised in the community and the church was completed and dedicated on in July of 1857. The cost was $2,207.00. The new church, like most frontier churches, suffered through difficult times. When Rev. Dodder left in 1861, membership had fallen to sixteen. Without a pastor, regular worship services were suspended temporarily.

In 1863, the Presbyterian Church and the local Congregational Church agreed to unite for worship and share a pastor. Under this agreement, which lasted until 1866, Presbyterian membership fell to only ten members. Over the next thirteen years, the church had eight different pastors.

When Dr. Coyle arrived, membership had reached 119 with 175 in the Sunday school. Under Dr. Coyle’s leadership a new church was built at 1st Avenue South and 9th Street, the largest church in the city, capable of seating nine hundred. With the support of the First Presbyterian Church membership, the Fort Dodge Collegiate Institute was established, the predecessor of Buena Vista University.

As the church began to grow, the building proved too small, and two lots were secured in 1880 on the corner of First Avenue South and Eighth Street for $1,600.00. Donations of $10,292 were raised. Work began the same year on a new building and the church was dedicated on October 7, 1881 under the pastorate of Dr. Robert F. Coyle.

Growth continued over the next few years as the church was blessed with several excellent pastors. Especially noteworthy was Dr. J. Milton Greene, who came to the church in 1893. He led the church to greater commitment to Christian outreach, including the organization of the First Presbyterian Calvary Church of Barnum in 1899. Under Dr. Green’s successors, the Rich Memorial Chapel was organized in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood and Sunday school centers near Duncombe School, at the gypsum mills, and at the brick and tile plants were established. Several women’s groups were established and successful efforts were also made to establish church youth groups.

Dr. Greene was succeeded by Phil Baird, a brilliant preacher and lecturer, and Dr. Hastings who entered the ministry after a career in law.

In 1916, Dr. Harless assumed the pastorate and served twenty years, the longest pastorate in the history of the church. During his term, membership grew and eventually exceeded one thousand, making it the 4th largest Presbyterian church in Iowa. In 1922, lots were bought at the site of the current church and a new building fund was started. The Depression of the 1930’s and World War II created financial hardships for the church, and plans for the new building were placed on hold.

Rev William Paden became pastor in 1936 and he brought a new vitality to the church. For the first time, focus was placed on families with the organization of the Mariners clubs. Church life was disrupted by the coming of the Second World War. One hundred and thirty-eight members served in the armed forces, roughly 15% of the membership. Others moved to new places to work in defense plants. In 1945, Rev. Paden entered the military as a chaplain and his position as pastor was filled by Rev. Harrison Hilscher, former missionary to China.

The return of peace brought a renewal for the church. The drive for a new church building was revived and in 1948 ground was finally broken. The new church was opened a year later in 1949. With expanding church programming, the congregation raised the money to add the East wing (the Commons) in 1970, offering staff office space, youth classrooms, a new kitchen and a commons for small church gatherings.

During the post-war, baby-booming 1950s, there was a revival of religion. Indeed, some at the time considered it a third great awakening. Then came the societal changes of the 1960s, which included a questioning of religious institutions. American culture changed drastically in the 1960s and 70s and the change was apparent in church life as well. Church attendance nationally declined and worship styles, which satisfied the previous generation, lost their appeal for the baby boomers and later generations. First Presbyterian responded by placing an increased focus on its youth programs, hiring full time professionals to expand the offerings.

Traditional styles of worship were also reconsidered and it was determined that an alternate style of contemporary worship might more effectively meet new needs. In response, the congregation purchased the former Jewish synagogue and named it the Shalom Center. First Presbyterian also committed itself to the construction of another addition, the Christian Life Center (CLC). Funds were raised in 2011-2012 and the new addition was completed in 2013. The CLC is a beautiful multipurpose facility that houses a new, more contemporary worship service for church members. It also was space used for large group meetings as well as youth recreational activities. A Hispanic ministry was added in 2004, which started its own church in the Spring of 2010. Vida y Esperanza Iglesia Presbyteriana was the first new church development of North Central Iowa Presbytery in roughly forty years.

In the first decade of the new century, First Presbyterian began two other new ministries that continue to enrich our community today. In 2003, the church began the KidZone Christian Childcare Center. The program has since expanded to include a three and four year old preschool, and care for children through elementary school. The ministry is a wonderful and valuable service to families throughout the community of Fort Dodge.

In 2004, First Presbyterian completed the Outreach Ministry Center, located across the street and just south of the church. This facility houses First Presbyterian’s wheelchair ministry and provides a space where people come together to work on a variety of projects for others. Through the tools and machinery in the OMC, members of the church are able to refurbish wheelchairs for Hope Haven International, help repair items for community events, and help others in need.

In the most recent years, First Presbyterian has mobilized numerous mission trips in other states and countries, helping the less fortunate while spreading the Gospel of Christ. In addition to these short-term mission projects, multiple members have begun non-profit ministries here in Fort Dodge and beyond including Gateway for Discovery, a women’s recovery home in Fort Dodge that opened in 2013.

The history of First Presbyterian Church is a story of commitment to advancing the ministry of the church by constantly striving to attract new members to the church and to embrace God’s Word. It is also a ministry that continually strives to reach and help people where they are in the community and even in other countries. This same ministry continues today and people of all ages are invited to join the First Presbyterian ministry and make their story part of the ongoing history of First Presbyterian Church.

Pastors through the Years

1856-1861 The Rev. W.I. Dodder
1863-1866 (The church had 8 different pastors during this time)
1867-? The Rev. Dr. Coyle
1893-? The Rev. Dr. J. Milton Greene
?-? The Rev. Phil Baird
?-? The Rev. Dr. Hastings
1916-1936 The Rev. Dr. Harless
1936-1945 The Rev. William Paden
?-? The Rev. Dan Ogada
1945-? The Rev. Harrison Hilscher
?-? The Rev. Dr. Gene Seikman

?-? The Rev. Gary Heinman
1990-2006 The Rev. David A. Feltman
2006-2007 The Rev. James H. Guyer (Interim Pastor)
2008-2012 The Rev. Jeffrey J. Martens
2012-2013 The Rev. Dr. Nancy A. DeVries (Interim Pastor)
2013-Current The Rev. Dr. Austin D. Hill





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