by Marian Cramer
Historically our Presbyterian Church is connectional, reaching out to other Presbyterian Churches to share in time of joy or need.
Our Presbytery of South Dakota recently displayed it’s connectional skill when 30 volunteers from across our Presbytery, including the youth group from Marion plus members of the congregation, appeared on four Saturdays to work at the Raymond Presbyterian Church to make needed repairs. It was planned with “Seemly Order” and the work completed.
Raymond became one of the Dakota Territorial towns, between Clark and Doland. It was a pleasant place. There was a lumber yard, a hardware store, a grocery store, and a school. In 1886 a Presbyterian Church was organized and registered. This year marks it’s 133rd birthday. The first church building was sold in 1919 and replaced with the current, much larger building. The Raymond Church is endowed with a strong loving spirit and a determined will to succeed.
The Church continues to serve it’s parishioners with God’s love and guidance. However, changes in our farming communities have depleted the number of farmsteads and therefore reduced the number of rural church members. Because of these changes in the rural communities, our vibrant small towns have also begun to shrink and even disappear.
Our Presbyterian Church USA recognizes and deals with current changes, both urban and rural. The national church devised a program to train ruling elders. This CRE program provides these trained elders to help with the work of the church and they are now filling numerous positions. A prime example is the Raymond church. They have three commissioned ruling elders: Gale Filapeck, Mary Filapeck and Michelle Mehlberg. They lead the worship services. The Raymond Church is a Spirit-filled congregation. They have adapted to the needs created by their changing community.
One of the projects accomplished by the work group mentioned above, was moving a 4 foot by 12 foot wooden mosaic mural created by former Pastor Herbert Zimmermann from the basement of the church to Watertown for restoration. It is a depiction of the last supper with one disciple falling. It is now placed in front of the church. Comments made by workers seem to echo through the sanctuary. “Peace. I feel peace.” “As I pushed my paintbrush, I had a feeling of peace and gratitude.” “ I found happiness working here.” Sweet peace, the gift of God’s Love.
Historically our Prresbyterian Church is connectional, a congregation that reaches out to other Presbyterian churches to help as needs and joys appear.