PRINCETON EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH HISTORY
The opportunity of having an Evangelical Free church witness in the village of Princeton was discussed in 1946. Between 1946-1950, services were held under the leadership of the North Central District of the Evangelical Free Church of America. The purpose was to see if there was interest in an evangelical witness in the Princeton village. One major concern of the district was to provide a place for the residents of the Princeton Elim Home to worship. Under the leadership of Rev. Benjamin Lundstrom, superintendent of the North Central District, arrangements were made for the purchase of the Immanuel Lutheran Church building. In 1951 the church was moved from Eighth Avenue South to the corner of Ninth Avenue and Second Street in Princeton. Some of the building furnishings were brought from the Buffalo Free Church (Minnesota) after it closed. Rev. Warren Wedan, a theological student, served as the first pastor of the church beginning February of 1951. On April 8, 1951, the church was officially dedicated with the Rev. A.J. Thorwall giving the dedicatory message. Financial help was provided by Free churches across the state as well as by the North Central District.
On October 31, 1953, Halloween night, the church building was completely destroyed by fire, but services continued. Sunday school and morning worship services were held at the Cooperative Hall in Princeton and the evening service at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Swanson. On November 16, 1953, a meeting of incorporation was held by the church’s 20 charter members.
On January 30, 1955, the basement of the new church was completed; and services were held once again at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Second Street, the former building site. In October of 1955 the superstructure above the church basement was finished, and worship services were moved to the newly-completed sanctuary. Dedication of the new church building was held in October, 1956, with District Superintendent H.E. Sodergren as dedicatory speaker.
In 1970, the church family purchased land to build a new, larger church facility. In 1973, the church building located at Ninth Avenue and Second Street was sold to Public School District #477. The congregation met for their regularly scheduled services at North Elementary School. This provision was made as partial payment for the church. In October of 1973, the congregation broke ground for the new church building located on County Road #2 south of Princeton about one mile from town. The project was completed in 1974. The dedication of the house of worship was held on August 25, 1974, with the Rev. Herb Kyrk giving the dedicatory message.
In the spring of 1998, a multi-purpose/future sanctuary and additional Sunday school rooms were completed. The addition has had a positive impact on youth groups, Awana and Sunday school. A special church worship service was conducted in the multi-purpose room (North Auditorium) in November of 1998 to celebrate the completion of the building project. Operating under a revised constitution, church officers changed from deacons to elders and committees were renamed councils in 2002. We also transitioned from two services on Sunday mornings to a new model of one combined worship service. To accommodate the larger attendance, worship services were permanently moved to the North Auditorium. Further changes soon took place. Youth activities moved into the old sanctuary space; the administrative offices and the library were remodeled. A garage was built on site, and the parking lot was expanded and resealed.
The 1998 mortgage was retired in 2012. The entire facility is now debt- free. Special projects since include a new roof, a new well, new plumbing fixtures and a new soft water system. In 2013 a building facilities committee was established to recommend future facility upgrades. A by-laws revision committee was authorized by the elders to make recommendations to streamline operations and enhance future ministries at PEFC.
Throughout the years, the church has faithfully proclaimed the message of the changeless Christ to our ever-changing community. Our aim is to build a loving family of believers who draw others to the Savior. Many young people have been trained in Christian faith, some going to the mission field. Many have put their trust in Christ and had their faith built up as a result of this ministry. To God be the glory for all He has done through this congregation of His People.