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Winchester, Kan., RPC

09. August 2008

Columns, Congregation of the Month,


Winchester RPC

Location: Winchester, Kan.

Presbytery: Midwest

Organized: 1868

Membership: 65 communicant; 11 baptized

Pastor: Paul Finley


Kansas became a state in 1861. Two years later, Rev. W.W. McMillan visited, having been sent there as a missionary among the Reformed Presbyterians who were homesteading in the northeastern part of the state. In 1866, he became the pastor of the Olathe congregation, the first RP congregation in Kansas.

In 1867, Rev. Josiah Dodds, the pastor of a Reformed Presbyterian congregation in Indiana that was reduced in size because of members moving west, resigned his pastorate to do likewise. Rev. Dodds led the Winchester Covenanters in worship on the Sabbath, and, within a short time, on Sept. 8, 1868, the Winchester Reformed Presbyterian Church was organized by a commission of the denomination.

Bolstered by continuing westward movement of Covenanters and by large families, the Winchester Reformed Presbyterian Church grew rapidly. By the third decade of the next century, the congregation had the largest communicant membership (about 220) in the denomination. However, membership began to decline during the 1930s and 1940s because of the economic hardships of the Great Depression and the deaths of many of the early settlers. Confronting the ongoing pressures of a changing rural economy and ...

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