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First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre - National Fund For Sacred Places
2022 Cohort

First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre is considered the oldest religious congregation in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the first large scale steel-framed structure in Wilkes-Barre.

First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre by IDGB, LLC

First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre by IDGB, LLC

2022 Cohort

First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre is considered the oldest religious congregation in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the first large scale steel-framed structure in Wilkes-Barre.

The congregation traces its roots to the 1760s when Europeans first settled in the area, then a frontier territory disputed by Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Historically comprised of elite and powerful community members, First Presbyterian grew during the American Revolution and the early Republic. In 1889, the congregation commissioned J. Cleveland Cady, best known as the architect of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, to design a grand Richardsonian Romanesque-style church building. First Presbyterian has a long history of community involvement and activism starting with abolitionism in the 1830s.

Located in a formerly industrial city that has experienced economic declines over time, First Presbyterian is working to establish an in-house community center with free-of-charge space sharing to nonprofits. The church already hosts over 100 meetings and events each year, including free community dinners and monthly meal deliveries; a support group for mothers; and a volunteer-led peace camp for children.

First Presbyterian recently completed a stained-glass window restoration project and a kitchen renovation and now turns its attention towards replacing the heating and air handling systems. A National Fund grant of $100,000 with $100,000 in matching funds raised by the congregation will support this project. The congregation believes this work will help fully utilize the 40,000 square foot building in order to keep “serving the needs of a changing city.”

First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre by Jonathan Edwards/570Drone

First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre by Jonathan Edwards/570Drone

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

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