By Paul Hadsall
CLARK – Osceola Presbyterian Church celebrated its 70th anniversary this weekend, with an anniversary dinner on Saturday, Oct. 19, and a special worship service on Sunday, Sept. 20.
Former pastors Rev. S. Timothy Pretz (1986-2001) and Rev. John S. Naugle (2004-2012) returned for the weekend, as did Betty Theobald, wife of Osceola’s first pastor, Rev. Donald K. Theobald (1943-1944). Clark Mayor Sal Bonaccorso issued a proclamation congratulating the church on its anniversary and recognizing its influence on the community.
The church, located at 1689 Raritan Road, was built on land that was once part of Sperry Osceola Farm. A group of 15 people became the Osceola’s first members during Holy Week in 1942, and services were first held at the incomplete building that fall.
Osceola was formally recognized by the Presbytery of Elizabeth on July 16, 1943. At that time, the church membership included 56 adults and 125 young persons on the church school roll. The completed church building was dedicated on Oct. 24, 1943.
The church continued to grow, with membership reaching the 1,000 mark by 1959, and multiple expansions and renovations were made over the years.
In 1988, a fire destroyed the Osceola church building, but some furnishings and stained glass windows that had been in place since the 1950s were able to be salvaged and incorporated in the new church building which was dedicated on Jan. 20, 1991.
Osceola Presbyterian Church currently offers Sunday school classes and youth programs, and supports various mission projects. It is also home to the Osceola Church Preschool and several community organizations. For more information, visit www.osceolapresbyterianchurch.org or call the church office at 908-276-5300.
Editor’s note: The author is a member of Osceola Presbyterian Church.
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