The year of 1803 marked the beginning of a journey by a group of people brought together by the famous missionary, Rev. Joseph Badger, who was serving the Connecticut Missionary of the Congregational Church. Two hundred years later, 2003, the First Presbyterian Church of Warren, founded by that small group of devout followers led by Rev. Badger, celebrated its bicentennial.
We trace our beginnings to the earliest days of the Connecticut Western Reserve. Four years after settlers started building along the Mahoning River, the Church was constituted, was then called “Church of Christ in Warren” and was under the congregational form of government. To put this in perspective, Thomas Jefferson was serving his first term as President at the time of our founding. The first real church building was constructed in 1832 and housed the congregation until 1870. The present sanctuary was erected and dedicated in 1876 on the same location and cost $52,000. The 150-foot spire became a focal point of the community.
The educational wing was added in 1948. In 1945 the radio broadcasting of the Sunday service was begun and continues today. The bell in the church steeple is probably the oldest artifact and was the first bell in the town, having been brought “over the mountains” by oxcart in 1832. It announced sorrow, joy, danger and fire to the inhabitants of that early settlement. Because of a crack, it had to be re-cast and is now well into its second century; it is proudly rung every Sunday morning prior to the worship service.
In the late 1980s a new Holtkamp mechanical organ was installed, and the chancel area of the sanctuary was remodeled. In celebration and honor of the Church’s bicentennial in 2003, a large Bicentennial Garden was created near the building.
Major renovation of the steeple and the stained glass windows was completed in 2006. With the addition of new copper to the steeple, it continues to shine as a beacon of inspiration and vision to all who view its stately grandeur.
Two of the congregation’s daughters and seven sons have entered the ministry to serve the Lord and His people. Our outreach and committed mission to the needs of our community, our denomination and our world remains strong and will continue into the future.
Our church is located at 256 Mahoning Avenue NW in the historic section of downtown Warren, Ohio, known as Millionaires’ Row. (download a self-guided walking tour of Millionaires’ Row)