Church History

The First Presbyterian Church of Winnebago Rapids, an earlier name for Neenah, was organized on December 15, 1848, the same year in which Wisconsin became the Union’s 30th state. Seventeen men and women worshipped together, first in a home, then in a school, and, as worship attendance grew, in a large room over the general store. In 1851, the first of several church buildings was constructed.

From 1860-1870, the congregation split over doctrinal issues and created the First and Second Presbyterian churches. Reunited in 1870, the congregation has been an energetic force within the community and worldwide ever since.

For more that 150 years, this congregation has worshipped and worked, as the Westminster catechism admonishes, to glorify God and enjoy God forever. Neenah is located on an important Wisconsin waterway in the middle of a global paper industry. Presbyterians prospered and used their resources to extend the work of the church beyond the sanctuary to the community and world.

Today the congregation numbers just under 900 members. A senior pastor, an associate pastor, a director of Christian Education, a parish nurse, financial manager, and office and custodial staff lead and support the work of the congregation. Presbyterian Women, Bible studies, youth fellowships, Christian education, mission outreach with money and work trips for youth and adults are some of the activities which keep this congregation vital, involved, and committed to service.

Worship is central to the life of this congregation. Music, preaching, and prayer are the trinity of worship at First Presbyterian. Congregational responses are sung and spoken during the service, inspiring participation by members who no longer just sit and listen.