First Presbyterian celebrates 170 years in Milford

July 17, 2020

The First Presbyterian Church of Milford marked a milestone July 4, 2020, having stood at 101 S. Walnut St. in the downtown district for 170 years.

The cornerstone of the original church building, which still serves as the core of the current structure, was laid on July 4, 1850.

Presbyterian roots go back even further in the town, starting with Francis Makemie in the late 1600s. Makemie, an Ulster Scots clergyman who emigrated from Ireland in 1682, is considered the founder of Presbyterianism in America. He established a number of congregations on the Delmarva Peninsula, including the ancestor in faith to First Presbyterian.

Festivities were held July 10 and 12 to commemorate the 170th anniversary.

Activities included an online program regarding church history in Milford led by David Kenton of the Milford Museum and church member John Huntzinger. Sunday afternoon featured a carillon concert, Schlabach’s ice cream truck providing refreshing treats, a parade of Presbyterians and a corona-conscious outdoor picnic.

A celebratory worship service was posted on YouTube in time for Sunday morning, with the Rev. Dr. Tracy Keenan, Missional Presbytery, bringing greetings from New Castle Presbytery. Guest soloist Ginny Van Tine and a brass quartet from Rehoboth Concert Band assisted Ann Whitman, minister of music, with the hymns.

“This is a different celebration from the one envisioned when we started planning in January,” said Dianne Deming, interim pastor. “But 170 years of God’s blessing and faithful service in downtown Milford need to be acknowledged. We want the whole town to know how grateful we are for all God has done for the church all these years.”

To learn more about the First Presbyterian Church of Milford and its ministry, or to access links to the church’s online worship services, visit

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