Standing stately as it has since it was built in 1879, the Riverside Presbyterian Church is an integral part of the history of Riverside. Located on Barrypoint Road it is either the first Church one sees upon entering Riverside from Lyons via the Barrypoint Bridge or the last one you see leaving Riverside. 

As with many structures of early years in the village, prominent architects have their names identified with them. For the Presbyterian Church a prominent Chicago architect named John Cochrane takes credit for the design. 

The church as we now know it has undergone remodeling, much of which occurred after a fire in 1969. I remember the day it happened when my father, already at work, called to tell my mother the news. It affected all in town, no matter what your church affiliation and donations began to pour in to help restore the historic building. Its restoration stands as a tribute to a village banding together.

Being a member of St. Mary Parish, I did not attend many things at the Presbyterian Church; there was almost a segregation between Catholics and Protestants. Well, things have changed. We have all become more ecumenical and know more about each other and share many of our resources, as it should be.

What a better way learn more about the Presbyterian Church than to have lunch with two of its members, Ellen Hamilton and Sandra Kappmeyer. 

Kappmeyer is very eager to let people know what is happening at the church. I admitted to being familiar with the preschool, the teen group and the annual Strawberry Social. 

Happenings at the Church are not confined only to the congregation but open to all. Kappmeyer proceeded to fill me in on some events that are coming up. The Blessing of the Animals will take place on Sept. 20. Even if you don’t have an animal to bring it’s fun to see. I said we once had a dog that needed an exorcism more than a blessing, poor Woody. 

An auction is planned for Sept. 27 and all can look forward to a bazaar and Christmas café on Nov. 11. The church’s annual “Messiah” concert is always held on the second Sunday in December.

Now as you pass the Presbyterian Church on Barrypoint Road, either coming or going, you have learned a bit more of what is happening there. As always check the Landmark for details nearer to the event.