Church celebrates 150th anniversary

Leavenworth, Kan. —

Even though the official anniversary was last month, a rural Leavenworth church will be celebrating its 150th anniversary this weekend.

The Rev. Vernon Welkner, pastor of High Prairie Church, said there will be a special service Sunday. There also will be celebratory church picnic.

Church officials considered Aug. 22 to have been the 150th anniversary. Records show land was deeded to the trustees of what was then called the High Prairie Presbyterian Cumberland Church Aug. 22, 1861.

The church moved more than once. Welkner believes an 1895 structure at the church’s current location at Eisenhower Road and 187th Street is the fourth building to be used by the congregation. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A new sanctuary was built in the 1990s, but the 1895 building is still used a lot, Welkner said.

The church also has gone through name changes. For years, it was called the Gospel Tabernacle of High Prairie.

Today, the church is non-denominational and has a congregation of about 150 people.

“Most of them have rural ties in the Leavenworth County area,” Welkner said.

Welkner called High Prairie Church a “country church with a big country heart.”

“These folks have a very good nature to them,” he said.

He said they love being together, and visitors feel welcome at the church.

My childhood church turned 150 this year! Wow, that's a serious milestone. I spent many a wonderful day in this church with my family. I have yet to find a church that can even come close to the sense of community and fellowship of High Prairie.