Our church began many years ago with twelve. A small number worshipping together in each others homes. Much like the early apostles responsible for spreading the Gospel message into all parts of the world, these twelve shared their spiritual and everyday lives together.
Our church has seen many changes over the years. Many of members know the stories from the past 50 years, and maybe even more. Others of us only know the stories of the past 10 years, and others are only beginning to share in the story. But no matter where we are in the timeline, our stories of the church community are important. The church is formed by stories. We have the biblical stories, our own individual stories and stories of the church’s life together. Stories have the ability to shape who we are, how we remember the past, and how we are able to look forward to the future. Here at First Presbyterian Church we love to hear and share stories. We hope that yours will become part of ours one day!
“The First Hundred Years: A History of the Founding and progress of The First Presbyterian Church of Caro” written by Dorr N. Wiltse, Sr. It was published on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the church in 1978.
“During 1879 prayer meetings were held in various church members’ homes once a week. Church services were held on those Sundays when the services of a minister could be obtained, in the Red Ribbon Hall which stood where the Hotel Montague is now located…” (p. 13)
“On May 8th 1890 the session of First Presbyterian Church of Caro resolved that we join with other Church communions of the Village in holding Union Evening services at the Opera House from the second Sunday in May for a period of four months” (p. 17).
“From 1895 to 1903, The Ladies Aid Society had been busy sponsoring all kinds of suppers—Easter, harvest and ten cent. There were farmer’s dinners, Shrine dinners and picnic dinners. There were campaign socials, corn socials, box socials, lawn socials, and poverty socials. Then followed sun bonnet sales, Church Fairs, rummage sales, cake sales, apron sales, pastor’s lectures and cartoon lectures. There were other odd names for money raisers—some difficult to visualize—but those should give you a fair ideas of the hard word involved and the magnificent contribution of the women of this Presbyterian Church” (p. 29).
“The Great War ended… By the end of 1919, the automobile and related manufacturing industries were on the upward trend. They beckoned to the young men and community of the church. An exodus to Detroit was underway” (p. 39).
“World War II came and with it a resultant drop in attendance. Our members became involved with other things. Some went off to war, others worked extra jobs at night in war plants, and some were air raid wardens. Gasoline and food rationing came into vogue. The public was discouraged in having gatherings where travel and food were involved…” (p. 48)
“A prisoner of war camp was set up on the Caro Fairgrounds. Things suddenly became very real. We had seen it in the movies and the newsreels, but now it was here to see first hand—the barbed wire enclosures, the heavy guns, the military guards, the big army trucks and gray uniformed garb of the prisoners, with bit letters PW on the backs” (p. 48).
“Our church had its share of the soldiers from the camp attending services on Sunday mornings. Those who came to church were usually taken home to “Sunday Dinner” by various members of the congregation” (p. 48).
“You would probably have to admit that Rev. Holmes is somewhat a controversial figure. There is not the set holier than thou pattern to his ministry. His is not the droning, dry repetition of scripture type sermon. He is a man of wide experiences who is willing to share them with his listeners… Rev. Holmes is a determined man. He has his own ideas of how things should be…” (p. 59)
“There are some who do not like to give up old customs—and therein lies the controversy. Who wants a church without controversy? It is a healthy condition. Show me a church without controversy and I’ll show you a church ready to close its doors. It any situation, in any group, people must learn to ride with the punch. It’s give and take. You can’t better any cause by running away from it—you must stay and work at it” (p.59).
“It should be a rewarding experience for all members of this Presbyterian Church to realize that our members, both a hundred years ago and the present day, are persons that are the “doers” in the community, state and nation. We are of a concerned nature. We care for our fellow man. It is our fond hope is that all will be inspired to rededicate themselves to the up-building of this church and through its up-building, an entire better Caro will unfold into the future. As they said of old, “let us pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor” to the Glory of God and this, our beloved spiritual home” (p.94)