Our History

 

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Our Founders

The history of Middle Creek Presbyterian Church began when a group of Presbyterian families from Perry County, Pennsylvania, settled in this area. They desired a church near their homes, and on June 24, 1855, a preaching service was held. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered and a church with 16 charter members was formed.

Our Name

The name “Middle Creek” was selected the same day of the first service. The charter members of Middle Creek had previously attended the church in Millerstown, PA. In the country near Millerstown was the old Middle Ridge Church and burying ground. The name “Middle Ridge” was considered as a reminder of their former life, but there were no ridges here, only three creeks. Since the church was organized near the middle of the three, the name “Middle Creek” was chosen instead.

Our Pastors

In our over 150 years of existence, Middle Creek has had only seven installed pastors serve our congregation. The year these pastors came to Middle Creek is listed in bold. Like the founders of Middle Creek, many of our pulpit supply and pastors also claimed Pennsylvanian roots.

1855- Rev. Hugh A. Brown & Rev. James Ordway of Rockford served as pulpit supply.

1856- Rev. W. P. Carson of Marengo served as pulpit supply. He moved to Winnebago in the autumn of 1856 to teach school there also.

1861- Rev. M. B. Patterson served as pulpit supply. He had been a pastor for many of the members of the church in Pennsylvania before they came here.

1862- Mr. J. L. Merritt served as pulpit supply.

1865-Reverend Joseph S. Braddock, originally from Pennsylvania, was Middle Creek’s first installed pastor. He was installed on June 20, 1866, and served as our Pastor for 42 years. Dr. Braddock resigned in 1907 and was elected Pastor Emeritus. He died in 1909 and was buried in the Middle Creek Cemetery.

1907- Rev. O. R. Newcomb was called, accepted, but never installed as a pastor here.

1908– Rev. H. P. Armstrong was another Pennsylvanian who found his way to Middle Creek. Rev. Armstrong served Middle Creek well for 33 years, serving as Moderator of Presbytery, Moderator if Synod, and Commissioner to General Assembly four times. His D.D. was bestowed by Blackburn College in 1936. Due to poor health, Dr. Armstrong resigned in 1941 and was elected Pastor Emeritus. He died in April 1950, and was buried in the churchyard on Easter Sunday afternoon.

1942– Rev. Howard Wilbur Strong was ordained and installed at Middle Creek on May 31, 1942. He left in 1945.

1946– Rev. George H. Swalve Jr. came to Middle Creek  as a student supply pastor. A call was extended to him and he became “student minister” at Middle Creek. He graduated from Dubuque Seminary in June, and was ordained and installed by Freeport Presbytery at Middle Creek on October 14, 1946. Rev. Swalve retired in 1985, having served Middle Creek for 39 years, and was elected Pastor Emeritus. During his pastorate, he was commissioner to the General Assembly three times, Moderator of Presbytery, and Synod level committees. In 1980 he was appointed vice-moderator of Blackhawk Presbytery.

1985- Various pulpit supply and lay persons led our congregation in worship.

1987- Rev. Brenda K. Alexander was installed on March 1, 1987 as Middle Creek’s fifth installed pastor. After ten years of service to Middle Creek, in 1997 Pastor Brenda accepted a call to a church in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

1997- Rev. Richard “Dick” Harmison served as interim pastor.

1998- Rev. Keith E. Jones was installed as Middle Creek’s pastor on Steptember 13, 1998. After four years of service, Pastor Keith accepted a call to a church in Abbotsford, Wisconsin.

2002- Rev. Donna Wrzeszcz served as interim pastor.

2004- Our seventh and current installed pastor is Reverend Anita Stuart-Steva. Yet another former Pennsylvanian, Pastor Anita came to Middle Creek in December 2004, and was installed on February 13, 2005. Music is a very influential part of Pastor Anita’s life, and it definitely shows during worship on Sundays. Middle Creek has been blessed with her enthusiastic worship style and looks forward to many years with Pastor Anita and her husband Patrick here at Middle Creek.

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Medill McCormick Tomb

On the heavy iron door are the simple words, “Medill McCormick, a Senator of the United States, 1878-1925.” It was the wish of this famous senator that his body should rest by the country church which he loved so well. While his remains have since been moved, the tomb still remains behind our Middle House. This beautiful arrangement of massive boulders and colorful flowers is currently used during special worship services.

(Information compiled from “Middle Creek Presbyterian Church Sesquicentennial Photo Journal 1855-2005”; and “Middle Creek United Presbyterian Church the First 125 years 1855-1980”.)

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One thought on “Our History

  1. My Grt. Grt. Grandmother ( Jennette Brodie Webb) was a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church of Middle Creek until moving from the family farm to retire at Byron in 1886. She then attended her husbands church at Byron (Congregational) until her death in 1888. Rev Braddock assisted at her funeral service at Byron. The Webb family farmed in section 21 Byron Township. Their son my Grt. Grandfather (Edward Webb) came to Nebraska in April 1884 to a homestead near Elgin Nebraska his wife was (Alice Cooling) also of Byron. My Grandmother Mary Alice Webb Bartlett continued our Presbyterian tradition and was a member of the Presbyterian church at Spalding. My mother Marion Bartlett Anson was the pianist at our Presbyterian Church at Spalding at the time she passed away in 1997.I continue to attend our ole church at Spalding though it ceased to be a Presbyterian Church in 2002 the Homestead Presbytery of Nebraska sold the remaining members this church building in 2002 and we few (12) members operate it as St. Andrew Community Church,I still hold to my Presbyterian roots and we sing from our Presbyterian hymnal too. It was my joy to read your history at Middle Creek, Thank you historians for your work and may God continue his blessing to Middle Creek Presbyterian Church. Amen, Arthur Anson.

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