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Princeton Bible Church marks 50th anniversary

Published: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 3:16 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 9, 2014 3:20 p.m. CDT
(Photo contributed)
Harold Burkey, the second pastor of the Princeton Bible Church, shovels some dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony in 1967 for the church’s current location northeast of Princeton on Route 34. The church was started in 1964 as the Elm City Bible Church and changed its name later that year to the Princeton Bible Church. It will be marking its 50th anniversary this weekend.

PRINCETON — Princeton Bible Church will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend.

The church’s fastpitch softball team will kick off the weekend’s activities with a game at 7 p.m. Friday at Westside Park. A homecoming-type concert will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at the church.

Sunday activities include a combined Sunday school for children and adults at 9 a.m. followed by a worship service at 10:15 a.m. A variety of games and trivia about the church’s history will be played after the family luncheon. A video of the church’s history that has been put together will be shown.

The church was started by five couples who held a Bible study in 1964 at the Prouty Building and then started meeting at the former St. John’s Lutheran Church located at the intersection of LaSalle and Church streets by Douglas School.

The new church was named the Elm City Bible Church, with the first service held there on July 5, 1964. The church’s name was changed to the Princeton Bible Church on Nov. 11, 1964.

On Nov. 5, 1967, ground was broken for the church at its current location on Route 34 northeast of Princeton on three acres of land donated to the church by Claude Bailey. The first service in the new building was held in January 1969.

The Princeton Christian Academy was started in 1981. A sister church, the Walnut Community Bible Church, was started in 1980, with PBC’s assistant pastor Howard Hoffman (1974-1996) serving until 1982 when Ron Eckberg became WCBC’s full-time pastor.

Pastors serving the church during its 50 years of existence include Benjamin DeJong (1964-1967), Harold Burkey (1967-1996), Howard Hoffman (1974-1997), and Pastor Ken Wilson (1996-present).

PBC youth pastors throughout the years include Bob Schultz, Peter Phipps and Curtis Odell.

Original church members still alive today are Ruth Parrott and Dorothy Dickinson, who live in Princeton.

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