By Tracey Compton
On June 30, the first church ever established in Renton will hold its final service before closing forever.
First Presbyterian Church of Renton, started in 1885 and now called Living Faith Presbyterian Church, is closing, unable to build membership, fund rising building costs and provide the amenities and experiences church staff want for their congregation.
“The reason we’re closing is not financial pressure, although, it gets to a point where it’s abusive to ask people to pour money into a building that is beyond their means to take care of,” said Rev. Tom Masters. “It’s more of the fact that for the health of the body of Christ, you want the adults to be able to meet new people that they can share their gifts with. And the new people can share with them and everybody can have a better fellowship and a more faithful expression in that body of Christ that way.”
Masters has been the pastor of the church for the last 20 months but was involved with the congregation many years prior.
2013 marks the church’s 128th year in Renton. The founding pastor was George Whitworth, a former University of Washington president and founder of Whitworth College in Spokane.
“It was started in December 1885 in the home of David Parker, but a church was built on the hill above the museum and dedicated in January 1886, “ said Elizabeth Stewart, Renton History Museum director. “The congregation stayed in the same church for 30 years, before George Custer built a brick church at 111 Main Ave. in 1924.”
The present church at 2640 Benson Road was built in 1960.
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