This past Sunday, over 50 past and present members of the First Presbyterian Church of Niles gathered for one last service. The church, due to declining membership and funding, decided in June to dissolve and sell the building.
The farewell worship service was led by Rev. Rusty Cowden, a previous minister of the Warren Presbyterian Church. Cowden spoke of the original church building located in Downtown Niles, and how the church had "built this wonderful [new]building" in 1958 to accommodate new growth. He would also go on to say that the "members will always have memories of the beautiful music by the choir and organist," as the "music made the church popular to those who enjoyed attending choir concerts."
Members of Niles church reflected on past services, and the spectacles that the church saw. Anne Towley, a member of Niles, remembered when "There were hundreds of people here. The parking lot was filled and other cars were parked on Robbins Avenue and other streets. There were so many people here the fire chief, who was a member, was worried since we lit candles on Christmas Eve."
Towley also explained how the annual church dinners would have over 300 people in attendance.
Ton Semple, another member of Niles, recalled how his mother had brought his family to church, stating that "the church has been a wonderful place for us. The choir is fantastic. It is hard to believe that the church is closing. It hurts."