Metro’s Oldest Congregation Celebrates Its Past, Looks to the Future

First Presbyterian Church of Moorhead opened in May of 1872


MOORHEAD, Minn. — The First Presbyterian Church of Moorhead is Fargo–Moorhead’s oldest congregation, celebrating two major milestones.

In May of 1872, the metro’s first church started as a tent.

“Then we had a little wood structure, a very small little house sort of a thing. Then we had an actual church. That burned. Then we had another actual church. That burned. Then in 1909, we built the brick one downtown,” said pastor Robert Drake.

After some structural problems in 1965, the First Presbyterian Church of Moorhead moved to its current location on 5th Street South.

A location its been proud to call home for 50 years, now recreating the first mass that was held in the building.

“This was a great location, really. Right on the edge of town really at the time, thinking about the future development about the city. And now we’re right in the middle of everything,” said Garrick Larson, a parishioner for 17 years.

Including another milestone.

“We are 146 years old. I feel very much connected with a stream of history not just for Fargo–Moorhead but for the stream of Christian history,” Drake said.

As the stream continues to flow, some parishioners make the church a part of their history all because of a first impression.

“The sense of community we have here was really welcoming to us as a new family to the church and they watched over our kids and us as adults the entire time too,” Larson said.

“People here are exceptionally friendly, especially if you’re new to help you become familiar,” said Stephanie Gale, a parishioner for four years.

A place seeing people for who they are, no matter their race, sex or citizenship status.

“You are still a neighbor and friend to this congregation,” Drake said.

Is what Drake says will keep the church and its worshipers around for years to come.

“That’s why we’re here. Absolutely yes. Another 50 years,” Drake said.

Norwegian–Lutheran Church of Fargo was founded in the metro October 1872, making it the second oldest congregation in the metro.

Categories: Community, Local News, Minnesota News, Moorhead, North Dakota News