Church in rural Mercer County celebrates 150 years

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 5:25 PM CDT
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HAMLET, Ill. (KWQC) - Even though only about 48 people live in Hamlet, Illinois, people have attended Hamlet Perryton Presbyterian Church for 150 years. The small Mercer County community celebrated the milestone on Sunday.

Pastor Harry Losey said about 200 people came to share a meal and look back at the history of the church.

“We’ve invited people from the community that have been touched by these churches in their ministry over the years,” Losey said. “The church was full this morning, and that’s a great feeling, to see all the people that we’ve been able to touch.”

The congregation actually started as two separate churches with one in Hamlet founded in 1870 and another in Perryton founded in 1872

Church treasurer Bob Winter helped organize the celebration. He said sometimes a place of worship is all a town can count on.

“It was more of a social thing,” Winter said. “Of course, they came to worship God and but there was a lot bigger part in the family’s lives, especially out here in the rural area, The farmers would come together and have a time to talk to everybody.”

Both churches merged in 1994. Losey said it’s been great to serve the area as pastor for 13 years.

“They brought part of [the Perryton] church down here and added it on,” Losey said. “That has just been a real blessing to have the two congregations merge into one and then continue the ministry "

While farms in the area have dwindled in size, Winter said it’s great to see familiar faces week after week.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Winter said. “We still have some faithful families. My wife grew up in his church, we got married in this church. Her parents were married in this church. So there’s a lot of family history/”

The celebration also included community members sharing their favorite memories and hearing from previous church pastors.

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