John Knox Presbyterian Church History
The congregation was formed in 1893 and was known as First United Presbyterian at that time. After a reunion of Presbyterian denominations in the 1950’s the name was changed to John Knox United Presbyterian, as there would have been two First United churches in Canton. After the second reunion, the “united” was dropped from the name to give John Knox Presbyterian.
The first church building was completed at Third and McKinley Streets in 1896. The building no longer exists. The second building, which was on Cleveland Avenue, began services in 1925.
During some of the hard-economic times, members of the congregation were willing to mortgage their individual homes to provide money to keep the church alive. Later members bought shares in the Kentview Corporation to help purchase the land that was needed for the mission church, and later yet the church sold bonds to help finance one of the building additions.
In the mid-1960’s it became apparent that decisions were needed relative to the future of the Cleveland Ave. location and whether the congregation should stay there. Much time and prayer led to the starting of a mission congregation in Jackson Township. The present building was begun in 1969. In 1966 the concept of “One congregation, two locations” was begun. In 1978 the congregation reunited to the present location in Jackson Township. The building has been expanded both in 1985 and 1998.
The congregation continues to have a heart for missions. Besides monetary support offered, the youth have been involved with mission activities, both local and elsewhere. They have taken trips to work with poor and under-privileged in other states. The congregation has participated in local Habitat for Humanity home building, the Total Living Center, and Calvary Mission in Canton. In recent years we have had members traveling to Jamaica as a part of TEAMS for Medical Missions.
Inter-Faith Campus Ministry (IFCM) was begun in 1971 at the Kent State University Stark campus and Stark State College. IFCM uses our building to run a preschool. This is one avenue of community outreach that is supported by the congregation. We supply information to the preschool to distribute to the parents of the children, inviting them to join us in activities.
The congregation has had 15 ministers, two assistant ministers, and one associate minister over the years.
A second service was begun in 1985. While attendance was initially small, it grew over time. In September 2001 one service was designated as contemporary, offering music using a praise band.