The beginnings of Memorial Presbyterian Church can be traced back over one hundred and forty years and originally from two churches – Emmanuel Presbyterian Church and Biddleville Presbyterian Church. In 1876, Emmanuel Presbyterian Church opened its doors in Yorkville, Berryhill Township. Reverend Stephen Matoon was the first pastor. Four years later, in 1880, Biddleville Presbyterian Church was founded, led by Reverend Thomas Lawrence.
Biddleville Presbyterian grew and in 1918, almost twenty years after its founding, Dr. I.B. West would lead the congregation from the old building to a new sanctuary. The new structure cost more than seven thousand dollars and was dedicated in the summer of 1922. Meanwhile, Emmanuel Presbyterian evolved; and in 1944, Reverend D.G. Burke was installed as pastor. Renovations to the church building would soon begin. But it was a tragedy that fostered the birth of what is now Memorial Presbyterian. Fire destroyed Emmanuel Presbyterian on Christmas Day, 1953.
But less than a year later, W. Massey, T. Avery and H. Massey, Jr. purchased a lot on Beatties Ford Road and a new church was built.
In 1961, Emmanuel and Biddleville churches merged. Reverend Burke and Biddleville’s pastor, Dr. H.W. Givens served as co-pastors of the new Biddleville-Emmanuel.
The generosity of Miss Dolly Young led to a new building dedicated as Memorial United Presbyterian Church in 1968. Money bequeathed to Biddleville Presbyterian in Miss Young’s last will and testament also went to a new education building, dedicated in 1973.
The first worship service was held at Memorial in December of 1967. Ten years later, after decades of tireless and selfless service, Reverend Givens and Reverend Burke retired.
Rev. Edward B. Newberry was installed as Memorial’s pastor in 1978. On November 1, 2016, to our dismay, Dr. Newberry elected to retire, leaving us to seek new leadership. Much was accomplished during his 38 years of service to God and the Congregation of Memorial Presbyterian Church. Stained glass windows were dedicated in memory of Dr. Givens in1986. The church also purchased a new organ. A new altar was dedicated in 1998. Through education and inspiration, several members have sought the ministry – two have been ordained. A growing congregation has seen a number of improvements and new programs at Memorial including a new parking lot, building restorations and expansions, a new computer system, Wonderful Wednesday Worship children’s ministry, Vacation Bible School and catechism and Bible study classes.
Memorial is blessed to have many members who remember stories of the development of this church. Today we are proud of the rich heritage and memories of the church. Our abiding faith and working together makes us excited as we look forward to an equally blessed future.