A ministry part of Paducah for 122 years is closing its doors. Westminster Presbyterian Church held its last service Sunday.
Established in 1894 the congregation moved to the building on the corner of 28th and Broadway in 1952.
Lay Elder Don Barger says giving Sunday's last sermon was tough.
“Preparing for this service, I probably spent more time working on this than probably any other sermon that I've given over the years that I've been doing this,” Barger said.
Barger said the church's members voted 40 to 1 in shutting down the church last summer. Their numbers were dwindling and the church couldn't keep up with the costs. Barger said it was logical to merge with the other church in the area part of their denomination - First Presbyterian.
Other local churches will begin to claim items that are no longer needed on Tuesday.
“So what has been here at this corner of 28th and Broadway will now be spread across our presbytery,” Barger said.
Baptist Health Paducah is buying the church's property. Barger says Baptist Health's plans for the church aren't set in stone but if they do tear it down they plan to preserve a piece of its history.
“Either use stained glass windows, and there’s two, one on each end of the sanctuary, or the bell that used to be in the bell tower above us, which has been removed because we were afraid it was going to fall through, and it's been reconditioned, or there is a stone cross up on top of the steeple of the main sanctuary roof, and they're looking to use one or more of those as some sort of memorial to this church,” Barger said.
Baptist Health anticipates closing the sale of the church’s property at the end of June. Catherine Sivills with Baptist Health says they feel the church property, “is a valuable asset and a beautiful building and anticipate using it for storage and education or meeting space. It does need some maintenance, which we will tend to but there are no plans to raise it at this time”.
Service was cancelled at First Presbyterian Sunday so members could come to Westminster’s service. Interim Reverend Mike Chamberlain says they want to show their support.
“Show respect for their time here, and just to show the friendship,” Chamberlain said.
He says he's excited about the merger.
“We highly welcome them to be with us and we will be one with them,” Chamberlain said.
Members from both churches have formed a committee that's been searching together for their new permanent pastor. The first merged service is next Sunday at First Presbyterian Church at 7th and Jefferson.
100 Television Lane
Paducah, KY 42003