Donnellson Presbyterian Church

"I call you by your name...though you do not know me." Is. 45:4


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Christmas Program Brightens Town and Shares Nativity Story

Posted by donnellsonpresbyterian on December 26, 2019 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Our church put on a Christmas Program Sunday evening, December 22, 2019! Through narration, songs by soloists and congregation, and young people's play, the story was retold and celebrated of our Savior's birth. Following the program, we gathered for sandwiches, cookies, and hot chocolate! Merry Christmas!

200th Anniversary!!

Posted by donnellsonpresbyterian on August 21, 2019 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Donnellson Presbyterian Church celebrated its 200th anniversary during Harvest Home Sunday on August 18. The day included a worship service at 11 a.m., with Reverend Ralph Ward preaching. A potluck dinner followed at 12:30 p.m. with meat and beverages provided.

At 1:15 p.m. a program about the history of the church was presented. Everyone ever connected to the church's membership and wider community was invited to attend activities throughout the day.

The Donnellson Presbyterian Church was founded in 1819. The current church building was constructed in 1890.

Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois attended and they posted wonderful photos of our event. Check them out at the link!

Fun, Faith & Learning at Parish Family Conference, June 18, 19, 20

Posted by donnellsonpresbyterian on June 24, 2018 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Sorento Presbyterian hosted 2018 Family Conference evening worship and fellowship.


Monday night featured a Hymn Sing! Several people also sang special solo numbers.

Tuesday night, Dr and Pastor Dunkley spoke about their mission schools in Malawi. Their group is still getting established, but has already accomplished so much for the children of poverty there. Learn more about Agape Scholars - "transforming street children into scholars in Jesus' name", (and give to their cause) at their website

And on Wednesday, Eleanor Gregory recalled her recent trip to the Holy Land with lots of photo slides! We felt like we were there too!

Harvest Home Americana Folk Style!

Posted by donnellsonpresbyterian on October 17, 2016 at 10:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Wildflower Conspiracy graced our humble church at 2016's Harvest Home Service, September 25. From "Hank to Hendricks", bluegrass to gospel, our regular parishoners, guests, and a Sunday School class of youngsters, sang along, danced, and shook their rhythmic noisemakers, making a joyful noise unto the Lord! Thank you, Erin O'Toole and Dale Hannah and your guitars, banjo, washboard, and harmonica, for making this year's Harvest Home at Donnellson Presbyterian Church so very harmonious, fun, and memorable.

Chamber Players Grace 2015 Harvest Home Program

Posted by donnellsonpresbyterian on August 31, 2015 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)

What a blessing to hear the organ's 'pipes' again in Donnellson Presbyterian Church! Harvest Home August 30, 2015 featured special music and a sing-along. Two chamber musicians on organ/piano and violin played classic well-known chamber pieces as well as several hymn and gospel pieces. Part of the program consisted of the congregation and other guests picking their favorite songs from the Songs of Praise hymnal. Fantastic talent in these two men and greatly enjoyed by all in attendance.

The organist is Mr. Dennis Stiegemeier, from Staunton, Illinois, who plays both piano and organ, and has served as the organist at the United Church of Christ in Staunton for over 41 years. The violinist, Mr. Samuel Allender, is a 17 year old Staunton High School senior who has been playing the violin since he was 5 years old and is a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. He also plays piano, trombone, and guitar, and has a baseball scholarship as a pitcher to attend Harding University in Arkansas.

Frances "Fanny" Crosby our guest for Harvest Home 2014

Posted by donnellsonpresbyterian on August 31, 2015 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Fanny Crosby, American hymn writer and poetess, wrote over 8000 hymns during her life (1820 - 1915). Blind from shortly after birth, she grew up in upstate New York, attended New York City Institution For The Blind in NYC, taught other blind students and met her husband (a fellow teacher) at the school. She wrote many of her hymns and gospel songs with her paster, Robert Lowry of the Sixth Avenue Bible Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York. In her own time she became known as the "mother of modern congregational singing" and published two best-selling autobiographies. At the Donnellson Presbyterian Harvest Home service August 10, 2014, the fascinating Fanny was presented by local historical impersonator, Barbara Kay, a modern day schoolteacher herself.

Retirement Reception Open House for Rev James D Howie

Posted by donnellsonpresbyterian on January 12, 2013 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (10)

January 12, 2013 at the Butler Illinois Community Center, the churches of the Parish of the Open Door (including Donnellson Presbyterian Church) celebrated the 60 years which Reverend Howie has served them. Rev Howie retired from preaching at the end of 2012.

The public was invited to attend the party and it was packed all afternoon with people of all ages visiting with Rev Howie and amongst the other celebration attendees. Our photographer attempted to snap a photo of everyone who stopped by to wish Rev Howie the best and share their personal thank yous and memento gifts. Please visit the following link and feel free to save, share and print the photos of yourself and your friends: 

Fast Pitch Softball County Church Leagues Remember Hoppy Field

Posted by donnellsonpresbyterian on April 14, 2012 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

This Story plus Photo from a newspaper clipping comes from Mr Bill Ferguson and is copied here with his permission.

In Commemoration of the 83rd Anniversary of the Birth of my Late Father, Donald Cary Ferguson

Each year when my church league softball season starts in Champaign I climb into a time machine and after a few minutes my dad is there with me. It’s a hot summer night in the 1970’s and we are standing together at Hoppy’s Field near Reno. (Mom, Kathy, Donna and Karen must be home enjoying a rare night without “the boys”.) My dad is telling me a joke about a three-legged pig. On this night the Presby team is playing against the Dolls. (Later the Dolls and Fergusons would form the basis of one of my favorite teams of all time. Part of that later team is pictured after we won the league championship.) Stan and Henry (Matt) arrive in the famous Banana car after playing in Muni Band in Greenville. And then my brother Tom (maybe the best player from our family, sorry Donna) arrives with Dave Doll and Ed Hagler. My dad jokes with Tom about which team he is going to play for. I warm up with my dad and the rest of the team. Maybe I’ll get to play tonight if the score isn’t close or a few players don’t show up. Earl Hopkins is going to pitch for us even though he’s maybe 65 years old and this is fast pitch softball. Our ball gloves haven’t yet burned up in Cindy Gum’s car and I’m thinking this might be the night I make a great catch. (I’m still using one of the gloves this season from the mid-1970’s that we bought to replace the gloves lost in the flames.)

The game is progressing nicely when I hear the roar of a Harley and look up the road next to the field. It’s my brother John making a rare appearance at a game. After an inning or two my dad puts John in to pinch hit and he clobbers a screaming line drive over Kork Doll and into the corn for a home run. (Yes, there was corn on the other side of the fence at Hoppy’s Field long before Field of Dreams.) Now it’s the last inning and my dad relieves Earl on the pitcher’s mound and I take right field. All five brothers and their proud dad are now in the game at the same time. My brain jumps ahead about 30 years to a Champaign Church League game when my sons Donnie and Alex and I are all on base at the same time. And then another game sneaks into my mind. Tom’s oldest daughter Joni is playing on my Champaign team. I hit the ball well, but stumble out of the batter’s box and fall to my knees. A hush comes over the field, only to be broken by Joni yelling, “Get up and run.” After all, it was her dad Tom who taught me how to play hard and compete. Then back again I go to the 70’s where a towering fly ball is sailing in my direction. I make my way past the tires encircling a light pole, but the ball never comes down... Then my dad and I are sharing popcorn, a bottle of Pepsi and M&M’s as our team trades stories with the Dolls about the game that had just ended. Soon John is back on his Harley. Tom and his buddies are off to late night bowling and “bird watching”. Stan and Henry (Matt) cruise off in the Banana and I climb back into the time machine with my dad. He’s going to talk with me during my first game again this season. If we lose maybe he’ll tell me the joke about the three-legged pig.

Donald Cary Ferguson - April 12, 1929 - March 31, 2000

Seven Alums Receive 2006 Distinguished Alum Award

Posted by donnellsonpresbyterian on January 7, 2010 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Seven Alums Receive 2006 Distinguished Alum Award



Each year, during the annual Alum Association Reunion and the Festival of Theology, LPTS honors selected graduates with the Distinguished Alum Awards for their vision, accomplishments and leadership in their respective callings. The awards were established in 1986. Over the years, the Seminary has recognized 80 alums in a variety of fields including pastoral, seminary and denominational leadership, publishing, social and ethical activism, and teaching.

The 2006 recipients include: Dr. Frank E. Bean Jr. (BD ‘62; ThM ‘65; DMin ‘93); Dr. George Edwards (BD ‘51); The Rev. James D. Howie (BD ‘59); Dr. Thomas L. Jones (MDiv ‘55; ThM ‘59; DMin ‘77); Dr. William McAtee (BD ‘59; ThM ‘65); The Rev. H. William Peterson (BD ‘61) posthumously; and Dr. L. C. Rudolph (BD ‘51). Their stories are shared as inspiration for many who seek to contribute to the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ in the world.

The Rev. James D. Howie (BD ’59) was born in Randolph County, Ill., to a family rich with Scotch-Irish Presbyterian heritage dating from the Second Reformation in Scotland. From his birth, Howie was called to serve the Presbyterian Church.

As a student at Millikin University, where he majored in history and political science, Howie was assistant to the head of the history department and taught beginning Greek class his senior year. During this time, he also served as pulpit supply in churches of the Larger Parish of the Open Door in the Illinois Alton Presbytery.

Following college graduation in 1956, Howie enrolled at Louisville Seminary. He continued to supply the same churches in the Parish, driving 321 miles each way, each week. He never missed a Sunday service, and he missed classes only once to return for a funeral. Upon his graduation in 1959, he was recognized with a field-work award and scholarship.

Howie was ordained by Alton Presbytery and installed as pastor of the yoked Butler, Donnellson, Reno-Bethel, Sorento, and Waveland Churches, a pastoral relationship beginning 47 years ago and continuing to the present.

Throughout his ministry he has served the Presbyterian Church on many committees at the presbytery and synod levels, working with mission, youth, and in continuing education. He served as moderator of the Presbytery of Southern Illinois and helped to prepare by-laws for the new presbytery in 1972. Currently, he is moderator of the Permanent Judicial Commission, member of the Committee on Ministry, Presbytery historian, and mentor for two commissioned lay pastors and one temporary supply pastor.

Howie’s lifelong ministry has extended into the community through adjunct teaching in field education for Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and supervising students preparing for ordination and ministry.

We've Got Style, Architectural Style

Posted by donnellsonpresbyterian on October 20, 2009 at 12:46 AM Comments comments (0)

Oddly enough, the Zion English Evangelical Lutheran Church in Litchfield, Illinois (photograph below was found and labeled as such on Montgomery County Historical Society website) in many ways resembles the mirror image of our church. I wonder what the reason is exactly!