|History of Westwood
The Presbyterian Mission Church of Hamilton, Westwood's predecessor, was established in March of 1958 by the Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the Presbytery of Dayton, Ohio. Hamilton's population had grown substantially since World War II to what proved to be its high point of about 78,000. The founding partners believed Hamilton needed a second Presbyterian church.
The Mission Church site consisted of about 5 acres precisely to the west of Hamilton's boundary line. The only buildings on the property were 2 single family houses.
The Reverend E. Lee Niswander was appointed stated supply. Members of the Presbyterian Church of Hamilton who were willing to help start the new church were appointed Acting Elders. They were Robert Beeghly, Vernon Kershner, Arthur Livergood, Robert Marrs, James Sisson, Jack Smith and Bruce Snider. The first session meeting convened at 8:00 pm on Monday, March 31, 1958 in the brick house, now the manse. Included in the action at that meeting was the appointment of James Sisson as Acting Sunday School Superintendent. Two weeks later, he was also appointed Temporary Chairman of Christian Education.
The first Sunday service was conducted in the brick house on Sunday, April 6. On May 11, the congregation officially approved the name "Westwood Presbyterian Church". The name was chosen because it incorporated the names of the neighboring subdivisions of West Park and Brookwood from which the church was expected to draw many of its members.
The organizational meeting was held at the church on Sunday, June 15 when 53 people became Westwood's first members; 36 of these came from The Presbyterian Church of Hamilton.
Westwood went into action immediately with its first Vacation Bible School in June attended by 53 children served by 11 teachers and 10 helpers. On November 18, the Session voted to sponsor Brownie and Cub Scout Troops.
On November 2, a Building Committee was appointed, chaired by John Marshall. Other members were William Copeland, George Michaels, Jack Smith, and Peg (Mrs. Cal) Williams. The committee engaged Architect Robert Beeghly of Winkler, Ranck & Beeghly.
Westwood ended 1958 with 64 members (35 families).
On March 10, 1959, Session approved a building plan for a sanctuary, narthex, small kitchen and meeting room. The plan was accepted by the congregation on March 22. Westwood then had 87 members.
Ground was symbolically broken on a Sunday in September when the congregation joined to break the soil by tugging on a rope tied to a plow. The cornerstone was laid at a special Sunday ceremony in October, 1960. The first service in the new church was held in December. General Contractor, A. Benzing & Sons, Inc. erected the building. At the close of 1960, Westwood had 135 members (about 60 families).
In 1964, with membership at 237, Session addressed the need for more classroom space by appointing a Building Committee with James B. Sisson as chairperson. Boy Scout Troop 982 was organized in October. Westwood members Steve Anglin, Jack Confer, George Johnson, Ken Reynolds and others have served as leaders. On July 22, 1968 with 295 members, ground was broken for the classroom addition. It was dedicated on February 17, 1969.
In 1978, Westwood had 328 members.
In 1980, the Women's Association led by June Dax made 8 banners representing all the confessions of the church from the Nicene Creed (325 A.D.) to the Confessions of 1967. These beautiful wall hangings were displayed in our sanctuary for over 15 years.
In 1994 the lovely stained glass windows were installed in the sanctuary. These windows depict major biblical themes and are intended to create an atmosphere conducive to prayer and joyful celebration. The windows were designed and installed by Robert Collins of Hamilton. Church Windows
Westwood has participated in many church and community causes. Some of these are: Alcoholics Anonymous, Angel Tree Prison Fellowship, Blood Program, Campus Crusade for Christ, Covenant House Shelter, Feed the People, Fort Hamilton Hospital Membership, Gideon Bible Society, Heifer Project, Kirkmont Center, Meals on Wheels, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, One Great Hour of Sharing, One Way Farm, Salvation Army, and Serve City.
Westwood was organized in 1958 to serve a growing Hamilton. Westwood found needs, met them and prospered. This history is a testimony to the priceless value of Christian charity demonstrated by friends, sister churches and Presbytery, and the the power of practicing Christians working together in the faith that "with God all things are possible".