A Brief History of Our Congregation Compiled by Gerry Irwin
The First Presbyterian Church of Pontiac was organized February 26, 1824, by four men and nine women under the leadership of Missionary Eldad Goodman at the home of John Voorheis in Bloomfield Township. The congregation met during its early years in Pontiac and for a time in Auburn (Heights).
In 1844, a brick church 40x70 was completed at the corner of Huron and Saginaw Streets. This church was the second Presbyterian Church in Michigan. The first was in Monroe, MI. In 1868, members subscribed funds for a building on Huron and Wayne, but it burned in 1914. The present building was begun in 1918 and completed and dedicated in 1924.
During our 189 years of history, First Presbyterian Church of Pontiac has survived difficult days both locally and nationally. To establish this mission church in the Michigan wilderness of 1824 took vision, courage and a strong faith in God.
To maintain the church during the turbulent times of the Civil War (1861-1865), the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the disruptive days of World Wars I and II and to rebuild after a devastating fire required loyalty, sacrifice and hope under the Almighty’ leadership. From 1824 to the present day, each generation has dealt with pressing problems when the future of this congregation was threatened.
Still…this congregation has survived. Why?
The teaching and leadership of distinguished predecessors in the ministry, the faith, love and labors of thousands of dedicated Christian man and women have entered into the making and achievements of this great church. Because the work of their minds and hands has been established, the beauty of the Lord our God is upon us today.
Rev. Isaac Ruggles was the first minister. He was born in Brookfield, Connecticut on July 14, 1783. He served as an itinerant missionary. In 1857, he died and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Pontiac about a half mile east of this church.
First Presbyterian basks in the knowledge that seven Presbyterian churches in North Oakland County were started as mission endeavors by its members. Those being First Presbyterian of Birmingham , Kirk in the Hills, in Bloomfield, University in Rochester, White Lake Presbyterian, Crossroads Presbyterian in West Bloomfield, Sashabaw Presbyterian in Clarkston, Atonement in Waterford. The Holy Spirit was alive among this this congregation’s membership. May you be inspired through this historic congregation today and may God continue to bless all who have worshiped here in the past 195 years and in the future.