Church undergoes denominational change

15 years ago
By Ivan Ricker
Special to the Star-Herald

    Though the Presque Isle Wesleyan Church is currently located at the top of Academy Street, it didn’t always exist there, and it wasn’t always a Wesleyan church.     The church, originally founded in 1946, was built on Wilson Street and called the Reformed Baptist Church. H.O. McGeorge, the church’s first pastor, moved to the county in 1944 and began the church two years later. He left and was replaced by Reverend Blin, but McGeorge returned to the Baptist church for 9 more years.
    Once McGeorge retired permanently, Blin came back on to the lead the 14 member congregation, and was later replaced by Revered Milton Bagley.
    In 1968, the church changed its name and denomination and became the Presque Isle Wesleyan Church, joining the Atlantic District of the global Wesleyan church.
    The change was primarily due to the smallness of the reformed denomination and the growth and multitude of the Wesleyan denomination. Church members wanted to expand to join a larger denomination and, with Wesleyan doctrine and beliefs containing many similarities to the Reformed Baptist’s, the change was made.
    Stepping up to the pulpit after Bagley was Marvin Durlin, who was followed by Ken Gorvette and Karl Ingersoll. Gorvette and Ingersoll lead the church together for a few years and ended their time at the Wesleyan church when it moved to its current location.
    In 1979, a new building was constructed at the top of Academy Street and the Centerville Road and Reverend Stairs began pastoring at the new location.
    Following Stairs’ term, Reverend Jack Fancy lead the congregation for roughly two and a half years, when he was followed by Reverend Rick Kavanaugh, who remains the Wesleyan church’s longest residing pastor at 22 and a half years.      During his time, the church expanded beyond its limits, and an addition was added to the church in 2000. Kavanaugh stepped down in July 2008, taking a pastoral position in North Carolina.
    While the Wesleyan church is currently looking for a new pastor to lead full time from the platform, leadership has still been maintained.
    Current pastoral staff include: Reverend Scott Rhyno, worship and youth ministries; Pastor Wayne Doiron, marriage and family counseling; Pastor Debbie Rooney, childrens ministries; and Pastor Darren Bonville, administration.