A Brief History of Wildwood Presbyterian Church
Wildwood Presbyterian Church was established in 1954 by sixty-six men and women to provide for the spiritual welfare of the community. The original meeting place was the Pink Beach House, a community center on the shores of Gages Lake in what is now Willow Point Park. Wildwood was originally the summer home of the Sears (of Sears and Roebuck) family, and in 1955 John and Dorothy Rule donated the old Sears family barn to be remodeled as the first permanent home of the church.
The renovated "Barn" was the location for worship and all WPC activities until a red brick sanctuary was built on the same property in 1974. The "Barn" and sanctuary were linked with a new Christian Education facility in 1994. The church had grown to over 400 members in 1998, making necessary the renovation of the sanctuary to allow more seating space. Community mission projects were begun in this period that continue to this day, including a food pantry, weekday preschool, Alzheimer's respite care program, and PADS, in which the church served as a homeless shelter one night each week.
The church continued to grow, and leaders considered the bold step of finding a new location. An extensive search for property yielded few possibilities until a representative of J. Emil Anderson and Son, Inc., called with an offer to donate five acres of land less than a mile from the church's site on Sears Boulevard. This gracious gift led to the construction of a new church beginning in the fall of 2005.
On May 12, 2007, the "Come Build A Church" campaign reached a triumphant moment when an armada of minivans and pickup trucks driven by church folk moved all the church's belongings in less than four hours to its new home on on Old Gages Lake Road. One week later the first worship service was held in the Fellowship Hall. The new church was dedicated with a grand celebration on Sunday, September 16, 2007.
The words above tell a tale of bricks and mortar, but it's actually a story of flesh and blood people with faith in a living God who calls us to make a difference. That history continues to be written under the steeple on Old Gages Lake Road, where oldtimers, newcomers, and everyone in between seek to be God's glad and faithful people. There's always room for more!