Article by Mark Klaas, Kent Reporter
Fri., June 9, 2017
Longtime Kent church to close
One of Kent’s oldest churches is closing, leaving behind a historic house of worship and questions about its future.
First Presbyterian Church of Kent, a part of the local faith community since 1889, performs its final service at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The decision to close was a difficult one for church leaders.
Rich in history and service, the church on East Hill and its aging congregation have arrived at a crossroads – a situation fraught by dwindling membership and financial hard times, according to Eyde Mabanglo, the church’s transitional pastor.
Membership is down to 57 members, many of whom having been with the church for 40 or 50 years and since retired, leaving only a few to financially carry the congregation.
Furthermore, the church, built in 1962, has aged to a point that it is outdated and too expensive to maintain.
“It’s been a difficult journey for them,” Mabanglo said of the close-knit congregation. “They were in a much more critical place than they had realized.
“Our final worship service many hope will be celebratory, and yet it’s hard for some members to not see it as a memorial,” she said.