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Town of Independence Related Articles

Methodist Church Celebrates 150 Years

From January 8, 1982

Transcribed by Crist Middaugh

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Methodist Church celebrates 150 yrs

Methodist Church Celebrates 150 Years

WHITESVILLE – Organized in 1831 as the First Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church celebrated its 150 anniversary last year.

The church’s first pastor was the Rev. J. D. McKenny, and there were 25 members. History has not recorded where the congregation worshipped before its house of worship was constructed in 1838, the same building used by the present congregation.

The original building was erected at an approximate cost of $1,100, but major remodeling and additions over the years have brought it to its present size and condition. In 1898, an addition of 20 by 30 feet was added to the west side, with a basement. The seats were also replaced with new ones, and the steeple placed over the entrance between the original and newer part of the building. It was at that time that social rooms and a kitchen were added too.

In 1927, further remodeling was accomplished when the building was raised 27 inches and a basement put under the entire structure. A new roof was also put in place, and modern heating, plumbing and kitchen equipment was installed.

Most recent redecorating was done in 1978, when the nursery room was built in the basement of the church.

Membership of the church has grown to 106, many of whom attended a special celebration of the sesquicentennial last summer.

Several former pastors, as well as others who had been active in the church’s life and moved away, were able to attend and reminisced for those who make the church what it is today. Maxon Shay was toastmaster for the occasion, which included worship services and a tureen dinner.

Pastors, or their family members, who attended, and the years they served the church are as follows: the Rev. and Mrs. Edward T. Read and son of Snyder, 1944-46; Mrs. Earl J. Jones of Sardonia, whose husband was pastor from 1946-’47; the Rev. and Mrs. Leland Bowman of Lockport, 1956-’60; the Rev. J. Fay Cleveland and family of Jamestown, 1960-‘62; the Rev. and Mrs. Paul Zelinka and family of Lock Haven, Pa., 1962-’66; the Rev. W. Lee Chamberlain of Wellsville, 1966-’73, with his new wife, the Rev. Twila Chamberlain; and the Rev. and Mrs. John Olosky of Whitesville, 1973 to present.

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