A missionary Presbyterian minister, Rev. Charles French, was the first clergyman to hold religious services of any kind in the community. Soon after, the Catholic Church sent priests to work in the village. It wasn’t until 1878 that the Presbyterian Church sent Rev. Jacob Patch to organize a church here. This became the second church in the village since the Catholics had already organized. Four denominations were consolidated into one to be called the First Presbyterian Church.
When first organized, services were held in a school or in homes of members. In 1881, a resolution was passed to build a church. This was a wooden structure built on the NW corner of Chestnut and Third Street. It was destroyed by fire in 1885. A new building was erected in the same location. This building survived the Marshfield fire of 1887 but was badly damaged by a fire in 1923. What could be salvaged was sold and with insurance money, the brick building on that site was built and dedicated in 1925. The Christian Education addition was dedicated in l961.
This church has been served by 22 ministers plus several associates and interim pastors. In May, l911, Rev. Melvin R. Laird became minister. Rev. Authur Oates was sent in l939. He served for 18 years, retiring the church debt and burning the mortgage. He established the Council of Christian Education and the first lay leader was hired. Rev. Douglas Oyan arrived in l954. The building of the CE addition and a new manse were done during his leadership. Rev. Virgil Taylor accepted the call in l966 and he served until l987. The present pipe organ and the grand piano were added during this time, and the gym was remodeled into the fellowship hall. We have had five interim and three full-time ministers and two associate pastors since l987. Rev. Doctor Kevin Buchanan accepted our call to be head pastor in October, 2010. The Congregation is enjoying new opportunities to worship and serve the Lord under his guidance.
FPC Marshfield is blessed with a talented community music program that is an integral part of our worship experience. We are also dedicated in our mission work, both across the street and across the ocean.
After years of architectural study, prayerful consideration and building committee meetings, First Presbyterian Church voted to sell the old building on Chestnut Avenue and build a brand new church facility providing accessibility for all who would desire to worship. The dream was realized in 2003, when we moved into our new building on Lincoln Avenue in July, The dedication service was celebrated on September 28, 2003, welcoming back a number of previous pastors to share our joy. Letting go of the previous worship space, which had served us for 78 years, was made easier when the building was sold to two members of the congregation. Bridget O’Brien and Mark Nelson purchased the facility and opened The Chestnut Center for the Arts in Marshfield, a facility to encourage a variety of artistic expression.