Our History

Jul. 16, 1877

First Presbyterian Society of Waunakee established

Jacob Buhlman - one of the founding members of the "First Presbyterian Society" of Waunakee - was also a leading citizen in the village. He and his brother, Fred, owned the first business in Waunakee - a dry goods store on Main Street that opened in 1871.

Feb. 17, 1878

Formal organization of FPSW in Gussman’s Hall (carpentry shop located where Koltes Hardware now stands). Rev. B.G. Riley of Lodi is first moderator.

May 6, 1878

Mortgage loan in the amount of $500 secured for purpose of building a church

Aug. 11, 1878

First sacrament of communion administered in new church
Jacob Buhlman (one of the founders) installed as elder and first clerk of session

May 10, 1879

First new member received (Ms. Harriet Clarke)

Aug. 16, 1879

Mr. Daniel Salisbury becomes second new member

Nov. 10, 1881

Rev. Riley completes his duties as moderator. He is succeeded by Rev. J.W. Marcussons.

Oct. 1, 1892

Mr. Barry Thomas begins missionary work at the church. He presides over Sunday school and one weekly service.

Sep. 21, 1899

The FPSW Ladies’ Missionary Society is established. Mrs. Willard Hodge is first president.


The first sidewalks in Waunakee were laid between the Presbyterian church and the Riley home on South street. The $75 cost for the wooden walks was paid by the Presbyterian Ladies’ Missionary Society.

Oct. 1, 1902

Church services suspended due to “poor attendance.” Sunday school continues.

Jan. 20, 1903

Church services resume.

Nov. 1904

Rev. George Hunt becomes acting pastor. He does double duty at Christ Presbyterian in Madison and arrives every Sunday by train.

The 1920s

Church records lost for most of this decade. Later efforts are made to “reconstruct” key events from this time period.

Feb. 27, 1938

60th anniversary of FPCW is observed.

Jul. 18, 1944

First Presbyterian Church member C.J. Schmidt ceremonially burned the original $500 mortgage for the Fish Street church.


A basement is added to the original church building. This allows for a kitchen, a dining room, restrooms and a furnace room.


Youth Fellowship program began around this time.


Extensive remodeling is done on the church, including replacement of original pews.
Name is formally changed to “First United Presbyterian Church”

Fall, 1968

Christian Education addition built on to the original church, which included six classrooms, a pastor’s study, restrooms and a Fellowship Hall.

Aug. 1971

Ecumenical service involving FUPC and St. John’s held as part of Waunakee Centennial celebration. This marked the beginning of the Waunakee Ecumenical Council.


Church roof replaced

Early 1975

Electric carillon installed in church

Apr. 1975

Congregation decides to study the possibility of a full-time pastor. A mission study was formed under the Madison Presbytery during the fall and winter of 1975-1976, which ultimately recommends the church pursue a full-time pastor.

Dec. 1, 1977

Rev. Stephen Minnema becomes FUPC’s first full-time pastor.

Dec. 31, 1977

Membership reaches 144

Apr. 1978

The “Connector” is born!

Fall, 1979

FUPC begins holding two Sunday morning services

Oct. 1982

A commemorative quilt was made for the John Knox Presbytery, with most of the sewing done by women of FUPC.

Jun., 1983

Long-divided Presbyterian denomination reunites, and we drop the word “United” from our name to become First Presbyterian Church of Waunakee.

The small sanctuary of the Fish Street church served our needs for many years. But as Waunakee grew, so did the congregation, and it became clear that a new church was needed.

Late 1983

Linda Kuhn succeeds Rev. Minnema to become first female pastor of FPCW.

Oct. 1990

Rev. Kirk Morledge, a Madison native, is hired as new pastor at FPCW.

Sep. 1991

Congregation votes to purchase land for a new church building. A campaign is begun to raise the necessary funds.

The First Presbyterian "Building for the Vision" Committee unveiled the design of our new church home in 1991.

Feb. 1992

FPCW hires its first paid Youth Director, Scott Kirk

Aug. 30, 1992

Dedication of site for new church building

Jul. 8, 1993

Original church sold to Concordia Lutheran Church

Aug. 10, 1993

Ground-breaking held for new church building featuring both the youngest and the oldest members of our congregation.

Mar. 6, 1994

First worship service held in new church

Jun. 5, 1994

First wedding held in new church as Pastor Kirk is married to Faith Miller.

Dec. 1995

First “Live Nativity” conducted outside the new church.

Sep. 8, 1996

Congregational meeting results in creation of Deacons. Six deacons ordained in January of 1997.

Nov. 1999

Norm Parsons begins service as first Associate Pastor of FPCW.

Dec. 2001

Following September 11 attacks, Pastor Kirk is deployed for active duty as Reserve Navy Chaplain in Rota, Spain.

Sep. 2002

Pastor Kirk returns to FPCW

Dec. 31, 2002

Membership at FPCW reaches 498

Feb. 2003

FPCW celebrates its 125th anniversary

Oct. 12, 2003

Congregation votes unanimously to proceed with an additional building phase to expand the church.

Dec. 5, 2004

A ground-breaking ceremony for the new expansion is held

Mar. 12, 2006

Dedication service held for new wing of FPCW. Church membership surpasses 600