BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CYNTHIANA PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The Cynthiana Presbyterian Church was formally organized on December 11, 1829, with 34 members. In 1836 the congregation moved its Pleasant Street building to the northwest corner of Pleasant and Main Street. This building was razed and the current building was erected in the 1880s. An educational wing was added in 1953. During most of the 19th century, pastors were sent by the Presbytery to serve the Cynthiana Presbyterian Church.
On October 13, 1929, the Church celebrated its Centennial Anniversary with morning, afternoon and evening services. The 1930s and 40s saw a growing emphasis on Youth Ministry; these included Vacation Bible School for 65 children. During the 1960s, several historic events occurred. Among these were the election and ordination of the first women officers, the creation of the Food Pantry by the Presbyweb Circle and the sending of Christmas packages to Harrison County servicemen in Vietnam. The following words were printed on the Church Bulletin: People of all races and nationalities are welcome in this church. This is none other than the House of God.
A very difficult period in the church's history occurred between 1970 and 1973. During that time, there was a conflict within the congregation; this ultimately led to a split in the church. Healing came with the longest pastorate in the church's history, as Rev. James C. Erwin served fruitfully from 1974 until 1997. Rev. Lawrence J. Bowald faithfully served the congregation from 1999 until 2008.
Some programs added in the years between 1975 and continued today include: Christmas Eve and Maundy Thursday Communion Services, Church Services at a local long-term care facility, annual church picnic, inclusion of a children’s message in the Morning Worship, publication of a monthly newsletter, annual Ice Cream Social, monthly Family Night suppers, increased participation in the Ministerial Association (including community Good Friday Services and other ecumenical projects). In 1993 an elevator was installed to facilitate access to the sanctuary.
In the 21st century, there has been an increased emphasis on music as a part of the worship service: this has been enhanced by a large and talented choir, under the direction of a trained Music Director. A baby grand piano for the sanctuary was purchased through a special fund drive. Youth and children's choirs participate regularly during worship service. The Session approved an End-of-the-Month Meal for those in need. In 2006, an important new endowment program was made possible by a generous bequest from the Frank Lebus Estate. A portion of the endowment income funds the Sarah Frank McKemie Scholarship a one-time award to be used toward post secondary education for church members and other deserving members of the Cynthiana/Harrison County Community.
In 2009-2010, several revitalizing events have occurred in the Cynthiana Presbyterian Church: Rev. Patrick W. Laney of Tuscaloosa, Alabama was called to be the pastor. The Church has completed an extensive restoration and renovation plan, made possible by the Lebus endowment fund and donations received from church members and friends. We enter the new decade with 150 members. The children and youth programs include two musical groups under the direction of choir director Tammy Bruce. There is a church nursery available for children 5 and under held during worship services. All activities are carried out with the same spirit of discipleship which has moved through the Cynthiana Presbyterian Church for more than 185 years.
Compiled by Sarah Kinney