GALION — The congregation of Galion First Presbyterian Church has found a new place to call home.
The church has moved to 125 E. Payne Avenue in Galion, a building that, according to the Crawford County Auditor’s website, was formerly home of New Covenant Fellowship Church, Christian Assembly Church, and Open Bible Church. First Presbyterian was previously located at 240 S. Market Street.
Rev. Gary Proietti said First Presbyterian has been serving the Galion area since the mid 1800s. Proietti served as pastor of Galion First Presbyterian from 2000 to 2008 then left to pursue other ministry opportunities. He returned to lead the congregation in 2018.
“By that time, the congregation had fallen to about a third of what they were, so we’re kind of left with the remnant,” Proietti said. “A lot of people passed away. A lot of people moved out of the area. Some people just left.”
The current congregation numbers between 30 and 40 people, down significantly from when he was first installed as pastor some 21 years ago. That was one of the reasons which prompted the move to the smaller facility.
“We built a new building (at the 240 S. Market Street location),” Proietti said. “Wesley Chapel bought that building from us. With the smaller congregation now, we couldn’t afford the utilities. Gas bills were in the thousands of dollars. We’re hoping that this building (at 125 E. Payne Avenue), when we get the windows replaced, will maintain the heat in here. We have an $83 a month (church) budget right now.”
Proietti said the new location on East Payne Avenue “absolutely” fits the needs of the First Presbyterian congregation “with some room to grow.”
“We have nice carpeting in here,” he said. “Once we get the walls painted and the place fixed up a little bit, get some doors refinished, we’ll be in good shape.”
Community outreach has been at the heart of First Presbyterian’s ministry focus, Proietti said. He said his goal is to expand the church’s ministry opportunities in the community and grow the congregation.
“We have always been an outreach congregation,” Proietti said. “We’ve done a lot of work with the food pantry in town. We still do. I’m on the board of the pantry. We are hoping to get some young families in and see where we can go with that. We already have about 15 children that come at any given time. No babies right now, but we’re hoping to get some young couples with infants and toddlers.
“We’re hoping to do a more contemporary type of service, something that will attract young people to the church,” he added. “Our congregation is amenable to that. We have a lively worship service and my preaching style goes along with that.”
Nate Scherer, music coordinator and organist at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Galion, also provides music for the weekly worship service at First Presbyterian, Proietti said.
“He works with us part time,” Proietti said. “He’s an exceptional musician.”
Galion First Presbyterian Church meets at noon each Sunday. Sunday school meets at 11 a.m.
Proietti said the church is meeting in person, with congregants adhering to health guidelines for social distancing and wearing masks. Services are also streamed on the church’s Facebook page.
The church is a member of the Maumee Valley Presbytery. For information about the church, visit Galion First Presbyterian Church on Facebook or call 419-468-1366.
Follow @GalionInquirer on Twitter.