This is a brief look at the history of the Linden Presbyterian Church. There was a centennial history written in 1960 with more information that we would be happy to share with you. Please contact the office.
The following is a summary from an account by the founding pastor of the church, Rev. Thomas Wright:
In 1860, the town of Linden had approximately 300 residents but no church building. Inquiries were made about starting a "religious society" that might organize, gather, and one day construct a building for worship and this found a very favorable response. Rev. Wright had just begun to preach in the Presbyterian churches in Fenton and Holly and went about making arrangements to preach in Linden, as well. A vacant storefront was used for monthly preaching services. On May 8, 1860, the First Presbyterian Society of Linden was founded with eight chartering founders (women not being allowed to legally sign the document) and connected itself to the Presbytery of Saginaw and Synod of Michigan. However, amongst the 13 charter members in 1865, there were eight women.
The store was needed for business and services were temporarily moved to Tickner Hall and the need for a sanctuary came to the fore. There was great enthusiasm in the town for the construction of a church building and the town rallied to raise money and offer supplies and labor. In the winter of 1861-62, the timbers were felled and hewn in the surrounding woods and stones hauled in for the foundation. The summer of 1862 saw the raising and covering of the building but the interior structure was not completed until 1863. The first worship service took place on October 21, 1863. The mortgage for the church would not be fully paid off for several decades.
The church struggled along faithfully for many decades. Between 1865 and 1940, there were no less than 30 pastors who served the church and there were many years where the pulpit was officially vacant. Of note is that in the 1880's part of the church split off to form a Congregational church which functioned until the turn of the 20th century.
The basement was dug in the 1920's but this deepening of the structure did not result in a concomitant deepening of the membership. There were only a few regular attenders in worship services and the pastor eventually left being owed a substantial amount of back pay.
The church experienced the boom in membership after World War II that most other churches in America experienced. After the devastating effects of the Depression on the very future of the church, more than 200 people joined the membership of the church between 1946-1960. The Rev. Bob McComb became pastor in 1952 and is fondly remembered by our congregation. During this time the organization of the church was modernized, the sanctuary was remodeled, the membership became more active in stewardship, ministry, and mission work.
One of Linden's own, Rev. Don Neuville, became pastor in 1965 and was pastor until 1997. With his deep knowledge of Linden and her people, Don was able to connect with nearly everybody in town - this is perhaps most easily reflected in the fact that Don has done over 1,000 weddings and 1,000 funerals. The church membership continued to grow and change with the times.
In 1974, the addition to the church which contains the fellowship hall and Sunday School classrooms was completed due to a generous bequest by George Whitney.
Following Rev. Neuville, was Rev. Parker Smith. Parker took a particular interest in youth ministry and led the church's efforts to partner with YoungLife Ministries to reach the youth of Linden for Christ.
Rev. Seth Normington has been pastor since 2010.