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Historic church in Springville remains gathering place for faithful

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Brigham Young and the Mormon settlers of Utahbrwelcomed non-Mormon people to the areas settled by the Mormons on the conditionbrthat no persecution of the Saints would take place.

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These people built their own churches and heldbrtheir own religious meetings according to their traditions.

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The home missionary activity in Utah wasbrspearheaded by Dr. Henry Kendal of the Board of National Missions. Travelingbrthrough Utah, he became aware of the number of Protestants living among thebrMormons. Cut off from others, they were unaware others of their faith that werebraround them. He felt these Protestants had two main needs: The need for pastorsbrto bring these people together and the need for schools because of the poorbrcondition of education.

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Dr. Kendall met the Reverend George Leonard, abrCivil War Veteran, who agreed to bring his wife and family to Utah. Theybrarrived in Springville in the spring of 1876 and rented a two-room adobe house.brAfter about a year they had about 38 people in a shared worship. The two-roombrhouse was their first meeting place. From this group came plans for a chapelbrand a mission school.

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The first chapel was completed in 1879 withbrfinancial aid from friends in Auburn, New York. This building served thebrPresbyterian Church and mission school for 13 years before the present churchbrwas built. It is significant, not only as the first Protestant church inbrSpringville, but also for its sponsorship of the Hungerford Academy, whichbreventually consisted of six buildings covering two-thirds of a city block northbrof the church. It was the most prestigious school in the Utah Territory.

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More than 30 schools were maintained by thebrPresbyterians at the peak of their scholastic activity in Utah. In 1890, thebrUtah Territorial Legislature passed the Public-School Act and in the years thatbrfollowed the Presbyterian schools one by one closed. The buildings of thebrHungerford Academy were torn down long ago.

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The Springville Presbyterian Church was placed onbrthe National Registry of Historic Places on Oct. 24, 1980. The church isbrpresently known as the Springville Community Church. The congregation currentlybrnumbers about 70 members. The church is located at 245 South 200 East inbrSpringville. Visitors are welcome and Sunday services begin at 10:30 a.m. (Helmickbris a Serve Daily contributor.)

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