The First Pastor

The shepherd and founding pastor of the Eckert Presbyterian Church was the Rev. James A. Hunsicker.  He, his wife, and six children came to Eckert in 1910, reportedly moving from the Midwest for health reasons.  The Hunsickers purchased acreage that lay west of Highway 65 on both sides of North Road and included the lots upon which the church now stands.  James Hunsicker initially involved himself in trying to feed his family by farming, but soon realized that he had better go back to his previous profession of teaching to make ends meet for his young family.  He applied for and was accepted as principal of the school at Eckert where a new high school had just been organized.  He served many years in this capacity at Eckert as well as in the Cedaredge school system five miles up the highway.  The teaching lasted all those years in conjunction with the time and effort that went into keeping the young church going.  Both jobs he accomplished with flair and competency.  Actually, he was 88 years old when he finally retired from teaching.

 In 1940 at age 72 he asked to be replaced as pastor of the Eckert Church.  His wish was granted and for a retirement gift the congregation presented him and his dedicated wife with a copy of the famous painting by Heinrich Hofmann of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Earl Hammock, a local artist of some renown, painted the copy.   The painting hangs in the sanctuary and is inscribed with a gold plaque that reads:

 

Dedicated December 21, 1941 to the Glory of God and in appreciation of the long and faithful service of

The Reverend and Mrs. James A. Hunsicker

Taken from “Eckert Presbyterian Church, A Brief Look at Our Past” by Norman Kehmeier