I will tell of Your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise You –Ps 22:22

First Presbyterian Church was founded on June 19th, 1855 with 22 families.  The first church building was begun in 1857 and dedicated in July, 1859.  Clay for the foundation bricks was quarried from the pit here in town that is now the “Lake in the Park.”  Samuel M. Templeton (1816-1867) was the first of our pastors.

In 1886, a hand-pumped pipe organ was installed; this organ was used until 1914.  In the mid-1890s, the manse next door was built and furnished by gifts from the Women’s Missionary Society.

The original frame building of the church was torn down in August, 1903, and workers began digging the foundation for the present, larger church building.  The cornerstone was dedicated on May 15th, 1904.  A full basement was excavated by the men of the church in the 1920s.  For the centennial in 1955, the church underwent some updating.

In 1914, a Hinner’s pipe organ, built in Pekin (about eighteen miles north of Delavan), was installed.  It was originally powered by a water pump operating on city water pressure, and was later converted to an electro-pneumatic system.  In 1962, the Hinner’s Pipe Organ from the chapel at Illinois Wesleyan University was moved to Delavan and combined with our organ, making ours the largest of its kind in this part of Illinois, second only to the organ at the Scottish Rite Masonic Lodge in Peoria.  There are now 38 ranks, totaling nearly 3,000 pipes. In 2000, the electro-mechanical relays were replaced by a digital-electronic system.  Come by on Sunday to experience the beautiful music this organ adds to our worship.


The large stained glass windows, “Jesus, the Good Shepard” and “Mary at the Empty Tomb,” are original to this building.  The glass was manufactured in Germany and then shipped to the Hooker Glass Company in Chicago, where the windows were assembled.  The images in each window are reproductions of paintings by the German artist Bernhard Plockhorst (1825-1907), known for his religious works.  An early member of the church took his bride on a honeymoon to Germany, where they saw Plockhorst’s work and were deeply impressed by it.


Note also the seven “Symbols of the Faith” windows at the back of the sanctuary:

    The Suffering and Death of Jesus,

The Kingdom of God,



     The Sower of Gospel,


The Harvest of Believers,

The Rescue of the Lost Sheep,


The Holy Trinity,



 and The Word of God.


A history of First Presbyterian Church was compiled by George Culbertson for the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the church and is available upon request.