The Little Stone Church has been serving the Sioux Falls community since 1883. In 1881, finding it too difficult to travel across the bridge to worship in churches on the west side of the river, many residents on the east side of the river congregated on Sunday mornings for a Sunday school of their own making. This multi-denominational group eventually sought help in founding a church on the East side of the river. The Reformed Christians helped them secure land, prepare plans for a building, and even sent a founding pastor, Reverend Livingston. Rev. Livingston bought and delivered stones from the quarry at the falls by horse-drawn carriage to our plot of land. While at the quarry, Livingston asked for donations from the workers for the building of this church, and then pleaded for them to volunteer their time to lay the stones of our foundation and walls. This hard work meant that this fledgling congregation had its own space to worship God as early as 1883.
Originally named, First Reformed Church of Sioux Falls, the congregation changed its name in 1884 to Livingston Memorial Reformed Church in honor of Reverend Livingston upon his death. This was the name of the congregation when its most famous visitor joined for worship. On Sunday evening, April 6, 1903, then-sitting President, Theodore Roosevelt, visited Sioux Falls by train and traveled the several blocks up 6th street to participate in a service of worship with us.
Finding a shortage of pastors willing to serve the congregation in South Dakota, the congregation changed its affiliation to the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (which would later be renamed the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America – PCUSA) and changed its name to East Side Presbyterian Church.
We are a congregation with a rich history of community engagement with a historic building and a legacy of service in the Sioux Falls Community. Since the beginnings of Sioux Falls itself, The Little Stone Church has been caring for its residents. For example, when The Little Stone church was built the only fire house bell was located on the west side of the Big Sioux River. In an effort to most efficiently address fires and save lives, Sioux Falls used the bell on our building (the bell and its tolling mechanism are still in our tower today!) as the city’s alarm for fires located on the east side of the river.
More recently, the first after-school program in Sioux Falls started in the basement of our church. Our congregation welcomed kids from Whittier Middle School into the church building after school let out and created a safe environment for completing homework and having fun. Thanks to the efforts of The Little Stone Church, there are now flourishing after-school programs throughout the city.
Located in an aging part of the city, The Little Stone Church, like many congregations, has declined over the years. However, thanks to the support of the Presbytery of South Dakota, The Little Stone Church is once again breathing life into the community through its mission and ministry. Recognizing that the location of the congregation’s building is no longer considered “east,” the congregation leaned on a long-held nickname of itself and in 2016 officially changed its name to “The Little Stone Church.”