Church History

(This section was copied from church history by Martha Crothers, Historian 1965 – 1968)
A Brief Church History
The South Vernon Union Chapel dates back to 1889. Its first appearance was in an old Lutheran Church near where the viaduct is now. When this building was torn down services were moved to the basement of the city Library. These two places covered a period of seven years r until 1896. At this time the place of worship was changed to a red brick school house on the Columbus Road in South Vernon. This was an Interdenominational Sunday School only.
This work was abandoned for a few years but started again in 1906. In January of 1906 a new four room school was opened in the vicinity and the Sunday School moved into the new school because the Red Brick School was to be torn down.
About 1912 the school board asked the members of the Sunday School to vacate because the children were destroying the school books. So with a $20.00 donation from the Star Class, plans were made and ground was purchased next to the school house and a church was built by donations and hard work. A dedicated lady, Mrs. Sarah J. Spangler, was a member of the church board, organized to carry on the work who gave all her available time to the work of the church.
The Ladies Aid was organized in 1914 with Mrs. Sarah J. Spangler as president. She remained president of the Ladies Aid until passed to her reward in 1934. This was the 20th Anniversary of the South Vernon Ladies Aid, which was to become the Life Blood of the church in the years that followed. Not enough can be said for the Ladies Aid members.
The Cornerstone of the church was laid in 1916 with the inscription, “South Vernon Union Chapel 1916”. The building sat there for three years without flooring. Then the J. M. Lumber Company donated the flooring and the members went to work again. Seats and the Pulpit furniture were given to us by a small Baptist church that had closed its doors. There are thirteen beautiful stained glass windows in the building. All are memorial window. The large one in the back of the sanctuary is “The Good Shepard”, a memorial from the Ladies Aid. The other memorial windows are by the following donors: Union Chapel Sunday School, Mr. & Mrs. W. S. Peterson, Frances Williard W.C.T.U., Flatteners & Cutter – Pittsburgh Plate, Morey, Dorcas Class – M.E. Church, Star Class Union Chapel, Spangler, and Mr. & Mrs. J. L. DeVault, Frasher, D. of V. of C.W. Tent #30.
On June 15, 1919 the resent building was dedicated and services were held in the afternoon (as they had been doing) so that services here would not conflict with service of the city churches. We were now governed by the seven Protestant churches in town: Vine Street Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ), Gay Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Mulberry Street Methodist Protestant Church, First congregational Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church, and the First Baptist Church; who helped financially and sent out either a minister or a layman every Sunday. Rev. Carl Wright served as pastor for several years. Many men and women from the other churches were faithful for many years and took part as Sunday School teachers and other officers. They are too numerous to mention.
During the Depression years the church almost closed its doors for lack of money and people. In 1934 Rev. Willard Lockard, a Methodist minister, who was working in the office of one of our industries came out to become our first fulltime minister. He had us incorporate as a church. On January 7, 1935 the first business meeting was held after being organized and incorporated as the South Vernon Union Chapel – Church, with Mr. George A. A. Steinmetz as the first president of the board. He remained president for 25 years, retiring because of his health. Rev. Lockard was with us about three years then resigned as minister but helped out many times when problems arose.
Rev. Marie Tschappat followed Rev. Lockard. We had a Home-Coming while she was with us. She was followed by two students, Glenn Lockard and Raymond Gayle who didn’t stay long. In 1942 Rev. Hilton Petry came, followed by Rev. O. D. Martin in 1946. While Rev. Martin was here we purchased new pulpit furniture and had another Home-Coming.
Rev. Martin was followed by another student from Bexley Seminary in Gambier, Ohio. He was Edward Ferguson, not yet ordained. He had Rev. John R. Stalker, D. D. (also of Bexley) baptize 71 persons.
Our last student came in 1950, Lowell Reeder, he was here for five years. Rev. Reeder published a church paper called “Snews”. His grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. David Reeder, were among the first workers in our church back in the early 1900’s. Mrs. Reeder is still living and was 91 years young on January 1, 1966.
On June 5, 1955, the Chapel voted to affiliate with a denomination instead of being a Union Chapel. They voted to unite with the Evangelical United Brethren Church on June 26, 1955 and the following Sunday, July 2, 1955, it actually took place.
On August 14, 1955 Rev. Delmar J. Young was assigned as the first pastor of the South Vernon Evangelical Brethren Church. While Rev. Young was here, the basement was finished with Mr. M. C. Hoover as contractor. In October of 1955 the people of the church started purchasing a Hammond Organ. The final payment was made June 23, 1957. On July 1, 1956 we had a Home-Coming and Dr. V.H. Allman as here to dedicate the basement and the organ. Rev. Young called his church paper, the “Quiet Visitor”.
Rev. George Fisher came in 1959, this was his first pastorate. He added many new members and many things were accomplished: a parsonage, a parking lot and a future building lot site were purchased. In 1963, a nursery and Pastor’s Study were added: the sanctuary was re-decorated and the floors refinished: 22 new pews and carpeting were purchased. The basement was painted and partitioned for class rooms while Rev. Fisher was with us. The ladies organized into two groups and were called the “Ladies Christian Endeavor” Group 1, and Group 2. A Mother Daughter Banquet was started and has become an annual affair. Rev. Fisher’s church paper was known as “The Bugle”.
Rev. Fisher was assigned a new church on July 5, 1964, at which time Rev. & Mrs. Robert Breese came to minister to our church. The first thing that was done after Rev. Breese came was to tear down the old garage at the parsonage, which had been declared unsafe by the insurance company. This necessitated building a new garage which was done before bad weather. In December 1964 we insulated the ceiling and sidewalls of the parsonage and to start the New Year well we insulated the ceiling of the church on January 1, 1965. Also in 1954 the final indebtedness on the parking lot was paid.
After Mrs. Breese explained the women’s organization of the Evangelical United Brethren Church, which is called the W.S.W.S or Women’s Society of World Service, the 2two groups of the Ladies Christian Endeavor voted to become a W.S.W.S with two circles. Starting 1966 the Circle #1 will be known as the “Esther” Circle, and Circle #2 will be known s the Rebekah” Circle. The year 1965 was the 90th birthday of the denominational organization of W.S.W.S and their predecessors, The Women’s Missionary Association and the Women’s Missionary Society.
A Junior Choir has been organized this year under the direction of Earl Sellers, and new robes were purchased for them. Their pianist is Jack McPeek. The choir looks lovely and sings beautifully.
Rev. Breese calls his church paper the “The Postscript”
Through the years many nice gifts and memorials were given to the church. The last was our Church Hymnals from our sister churches at Fostoria and Ashland, Ohio.
The senior choir bought new choir robes in 1966. Before Rev. Breese left new hymnals were purchased by individuals and organizations and some as memorials. Rev. Breese resigned his pastorate and on July 3, 1966 the Rev. Larry J. Wahlie and his bride, Linda, Came to us. His church paper is “The Vision of Lives”. A Good News Club was also started for the children of the Church and Community by Mrs. Wahlie. The Junior Choir had grown and had to be divided and new robes for the older members were purchased. Mrs. Donna Robinson (organist) is assistant director. A new desk and chair was bought for the Pastor’s study and new chairs for class rooms.
October was filled with good things for the church. Junior church started on October 16 and twenty boys and girls made a decision for Christ that morning. In the afternoon the 50th Anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone was held. On October 23rd we had Rev. Corl, missionary from Japan and his family, for the week of October 23 – 30. There were some conversions and all rededicated themselves to God’s work. God’s spirit has been with us through the past months.
Rev. O. C. Brown and his family, missionaries from Haiti were here on December 11. The Junior Choir rendered a Christmas cantata entitled “The Night the Angels Sang” on December 18. The children of the Sunday School gave their program on December 25. This concluded the events of 1966.
On Sunday, January 1, 1967 all of the newly elected officers and other workers stood in the formation of a cross, made of their lives, and lit candles in the midst of the congregation, pledging themselves to penetrate God’s Work into the hearts and minds of our station as they were installed into office.
The Esther group (Senior) of the W.S.W.S had to disband because of illness of several members and no transportation. However, the Rebekah Circle is still active. A new typewriter was purchased for the church and they paid $50 on it. They also donate a stand for it. They purchase a desk unit for the pastor’s study.
In March, 1967, the former English actor, John French, who was converted during a Billy Graham Crusade, held a week’s revival here.
The Mother’s Day Banquet was held in the Memorial building May 9, sponsored by the Rebekah Circle. Mrs. Jeanette Gates, the President was Mistress of ceremonies. A bountiful dinner and good program was enjoyed by 76 members and guests.
On July 18, Rev. and Mrs. Wahlie became the parents of a baby son, Jay Paul.
In August, Rev. Wahlie resigned the ministry to go into evangelistic work. Several new members were added to our church roll by Rev. Wahlie.
On September 4, 1967 Rev. Donald W. Pickens and wife, Jean, and their children, Jeff, Richard, and Beth came to serve our church. He is an ordained elder n the Conference, having graduated from United Theological Seminary. They will continue to reside in Mansfield where Rev. Pickens is employed at a local factory during the week.
On December 17, under the direction Mr. Earl Sellers and Mrs. Donna Robson, the two Junior Choirs presented “Kneel at The Manger”. Miss Margaret Sellers is the Junior Choir pianist. The Sunday School Children presented their program. The Golden Rule Bible Class made and distributed cheer plates to many shut-ins.
Another year has come and gone. Four important things transpired during 1968. In April, a building fund was started to remodel the Sanctuary. In July , we united with the Methodist and we are now the South Vernon United Methodist Church. During this period, we lost some members and have gained some.
A new piano (which we needed badly) was purchased. Rev. Pickens is staying with us which we are very happy about. The pastor’s report for the year 19t8 showed 19 new members joined the church (8 by confession of faith, 9 from other Methodist churches, and 2 from other denominations) giving us a membership of 175; 2 losses by death: two were baptized; 77 average church attendance; 159 on the Sunday School roll: 108 average attendance; 20 active members in the Women’s Society of Christian Service which is eh new name since joining the United Methodist Church.
During May, the Junior Choir (and friends) presented “The Sound of Singing”. To close the year, the Junior Choir again furnished the Christmas music. They presented a cantata “Love Transcending”.
Mrs. Martha Crouthers
Historian 1965 – 1968
(Mrs. Crouthers report is included as the first part of the next historian report which goes on from this point)
Also, in 1968, a new church sign was erected in front of the church with money given by Grace Ogborn & Family in memory of Clarence Ogborn.
The Men’s Sunday School class was started.
During this period in the history of the church, the three acres of land which had been purchased for the church expansion has been sold because most of the congregation favored leaving the church at present location.
Early in the year 1969, the work of remodeling the sanctuary was started to be finished by Easter. We had enough funds in the building fund to do it. The walls were painted and entire new choir loft and platform were rebuilt. The wall in the loft was paneled and an illuminated cross on the white back ground is centered on that wall. The Cross is a gift from Rev. and Mrs. Donald Pickens. Other changes include a new altar rail and chancel with room for the communion table with a pulpit and lectern on each side. Beautiful new red carpet was purchased for the choir loft, platform and sanctuary floor. Tree long pews were ordered to accommodate the choir. Except for these pews, it was completed by Easter.
July 15th. Brought another new addition to our church. Rev. and Mrs. Pickens were blessed with a darling baby girl, Melissa Diane.
The Junior Choir presented the cantata, “Good News” on June 8th.
During the year the basement walls were painted, as was the outside trim of the church.
The corporation papers were filed.
1969 was the year of our initial Valentine love offering. This year the offering totaled $832.19 and was used for remodeling.
The parsonage fund was started with the hopes of someday accumulating enough to purchase a new church parsonage.
In November, Rev. Pickens resigned to move to Troy, Ohio where he had accepted a better position. Before he left, Rev. Pickens took in one adult and four teenage members, and baptized them. He also dedicated his daughter.
When the new pews were installed, we had a dedication service to celebrate the remodeling of our church. The special service was November 23rd. With us that day was our District Superintendent, the Rev. Joe Graham. This was Rev. Pickens’ last Sunday with us, so we bid farewell to he and his family with a covered dish supper that evening. A gift was presented to the Pickens family by or congregation.
Our new minister is the Rev. M.H. Willard, a retired minister. He and his wife, Gertrude, reside at 407 E. Burgess Street.
As a result of our union with the Methodist Church, we are a part of the Mount Vernon District of the East Ohio Conference with headquarters in Canton, Ohio. Our new bishop is Bishop Francis Kearns. Our new district superintendent is the Rev. John Knox Hess with his office located here in Mount Vernon.
And so we begin a new decade – 1970. This year finds our congregation busy on another remodeling project. The women are working hard to have a new church kitchen. As the year ends we find the work under way with Charles Harden as Supervisor.
At Easter, our two choirs presented the cantata, “A Cross For A Crown”.
In 1970 the church parsonage was sold.
The church gets a new sidewalk at the edge of the church.
The New Year 1971 finds the remodeling of the kitchen completed in January. The kitchen has been furnished and the floor is covered. The ladies have purchased new dishes and other kitchen accessories. There are new steps to the basement and the basement has been painted. The Women wasted no time breaking in the kitchen – At Easter time they made 900 large chocolate Easter eggs for a successful money making project. The women – also = compiled and published 250 – 300 cookbooks of the favorite recipes of the good cooks of our church. Proceeds from these projects went toward paying the debt of the new kitchen.
At Thanksgiving time, the young people presented a musical entitled “Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream coat”. They are planning on sharing it with other churches.
On December 19th, the Golden Rule Class prepared and delivered 50 cheer plates for shut ins. In the evening we had a covered dish supper followed by a program.
As we began 1972, we have 130 members on our church roll.
In February, the loan for the kitchen is paid in full.
During Lent, some of our congregation starts a short prayer service meeting for about ten minutes before Sunday School.
This year the women made 1800 Easter Eggs with a profit of $582.00 which was used for more kitchen equipment. They also purchased 8 tables, 50 folding chairs and 2 chair caddies.
On Easter Sunday, the Choir presented “Behold The Crucified”.
In May, the Youth Choir presented “The Sound of Singing”.
Rev. Willard continues to be our pastor. The men of our church are working to finish remodeling of the nursery and back stairway.
The W.S.W.S becomes the United Methodist Women.
In October, we had a Father-Son Banquet. Dinner was served to 46 men and boys by the women of the church in appreciation for their hard work on the kitchen.
At Christmas time the women made 159lbs. of had candy. They just can’t stay out of their new kitchen, can they?
In 1972, our church had 100% achievement in Conference goals for World Service and Benevolence. We ended the year with a New Year’s Eve Communion Service.
As we start 1973 – The remodeled nursery has been painted and the new carpeting is installed in time for Easter. The women have another successful Easter egg project with the proceeds going toward our pledge of $1000 for the Parsonage Fund.
In July our church welcomes a new pastor, Rev. H. Daniel Drew. Rev. Drew is a student at Methesco in Delaware. We rent a parsonage Dan and Anne Marie at 217 Ames St.
In November, Rev. Drew started a Confirmation class. And – the Administrative Board votes to start a fix-it fund for needed church repairs. The Fix-it Fund was off to a good start with $1500 transferred there from the general fund.
Rev. Drew conducted a Christmas Candlelight Service on the Sunday evening before Christmas.
In 1974, the Youth Group at South Vernon is revived by Rev. Drew. Rev. Drew introduce the “Children’s Story” as a regular part of the Sunday morning worship service. Early in the year our choir becomes active again. How much they add to our worship service!
We enjoy Holey week Services with a pulpit exchange of Rev. Drew’s fellow student pastors. We celebrate Easter with a Sunrise Service followed by breakfast at the church cooked by the men of the church. The white altar cloths, a gift from the United Methodist Women, were used for the first time this Easter. (a gift from the Kaser family in memory of Mary Kaser was used towards these altar cloths.
We are continuing the Fix-it Fund for needed church repairs.
June 2nd brings a new addition to our parsonage when Rev. & Mrs. Drew become the parents of a son, Anthony Joseph.
This summer the Youth sponsor a weekly Bible Story Hour for the boys and girls of the church and community. It continued for six weeks under the supervision of Rev. Drew.
In July we learn that Rev. Drew will be with us for another year. Bill Underwood leaves us in the fall to go to college and Allison Lair joins us as our pianist. In October the choir is with us again.
The United Methodist Women present the church with a set of green altar cloths. They also , take over the cheer plate project of the Golden Rule class doing it at Thanksgiving time.
This Christmastide, Rev. Drew introduced us to the Advent Wreath which has now become and annual part of our celebration of the birth of Christ. On December 22, we had a Christmas Candlelight Service.
Church Motto – “Be Alive in 75”
The year 1975 fins may active groups within our church. The Youth Group has five new members and Rev. Drew has formed his second Confirmation Class. We have an active Council on Ministries under the leadership of Kathleen Sellers and they plan on monthly fellowship supper for the congregation. February 23, 1975 was Boy Scout Sunday and we receive the pack charter making Cub Pack #302 part of our church. In February, the start of Lent brings the start of a Lenten Bible Sty and Prayer Group which still meets weekly. Again this year we have Holy Week services, Easter Sunrise Service and breakfast. Our traditional “30 pieces of Silver” offering at Easter went to the Fix-it Fund. By Easter the results of that fund were beginning to be seen: The chimney has been repaired: the church bell rings again: the steeple has new siding: the back steps have been repaired; and the front steps are waiting for new railing.
The nursery is offering a have for our youngest church members and friends and our attendance is on the rise. On Mother’s Day, Rev. Drew baptized here of our youth and in June, 5 youth were confirmed, and two new members were received into our church.
In June, Rev. Drew is assigned to the Nottingham United Methodist Church in Cleveland. We sadly bid farewell to the Drew family, face the future with high hopes for our church. June 29th brings us a new pastor, Rev. Julian Miguel from the Philippines. Rev. Miguel is a student at Methesco in Delaware working towards a Masters Degree of Divinity and Christian Education. His wife, Venus, and two children are still at their home in the Philippine Islands. Rev. Miguel is residing in a new church “parsonage” – a rented room at the home of Rev. & Mrs. Willard at 407 E. Burgess St.
In the summer of 1975 we had a week of Vacation Bible School.
During the summer months our church gets a new roof; the trim is painted; a new furnace is installed; and we get a new front doors which accomplish all of this – after the Fix-it Fund was gone, we took $4000, from the parsonage fund.
The month of October finds us celebrating our church heritage with homecoming on October 12. Rev M.H. Willard delivered the message in the Sunday Morning Worship Service. At 2:00pm we had a special program of singing, special music, church history and fellowship with former pastors and friends. We shared a covered dish dinner at 5:00pm.
The Youth had a Halloween Party for the boys and girls of the Sunday School on October 25, 1975. O
On November 23rd we had a covered dish dinner following the morning worship service after which the United Methodist Women prepared and delivered 54 cheer plates. That Sunday was, also, National Bible Sunday and some of us displayed Bibles that were special to us.
Our Christmas Candlelight Service was on December 21st and we ended the year with a New Year’s Eve Communion Service.
In 1976 we find the women of our church still working for our church here at South Vernon – This year they present us with a new set of Communion cloths and the purple set of altar cloths.
The Council of Ministries plan Holy Week Services, Maundy Thursday Communion, Easter Sunrise Service and Breakfast and to add to the Easter season the church is open on Good Friday afternoon for personal meditations.
In July, Rev. Miguel moves to Nebraska to finish his schooling and to serve a United Methodist Church there. Our new pastor is the Rev. James Killgrove. He and his wife Fern are building a new home at Apple Valley. For his first year here we will be sharing him with Mt. Liberty United Methodist Church.
We have daily Vacation Bible School in July with an average attendance of 45.
Our Bible Study Group this year study the Book of Revelation and move on to a study of “The Life of Christ” a study prepared by Rev. Killgrove.
A further revision of our church roll shows we have 88 active members here at South Vernon.
Our church gets new responsive reading books with readings from the Living Bible (Paraphrased). Many of these are memorials and are so noted inside the front cover. Near the end of the year, our choir gets new gold robes with reversible stoles.
This fall Rev. Killgrove starts a Junior Choir.
On November 6 the United Methodist Women have a Fall Bazaar. For their first one it was a success.
On December 5 we enjoyed the Northridge High School Ensemble who came to our church to present the musical, “Lightshine”
During the morning worship on December 19th our choir presented the cantata, “Kneel At The Manger”. That evening we have our annual Christmas Candlelight Service.
The year 1977 finds us trying something new. Since we’re still sharing Rev. Killgrove with Mt. Liberty, it’s our turn for the early worship service at 9:30am with Sunday School at 10:30am. This was suppose to start on the last Sunday of January, but big snows that week made traveling hazardous and church was cancelled for that Sunday.
Our Youth Group – though small in number – meets every Sunday evening. This Spring we enjoy tulips and crocus along the side of the church because hey planted the bulbs last fall. Later this year plant some small pine trees in front of the church to replace the old shrubbery which has been removed.
On Easter Sunday, or choir presents a cantata. We do enjoy their music each Sunday.
At this year’s Annual Conference Rev. Killgrove is retired and returns s our pastor. For the first time in his ministry he is able to attend Sunday School. He starts a Young Adult Class.
Alison Laird leaves this fall to attend college in Chicago and we greet Barbara Stricker, a student at Mount Vernon Nazarene College, as our new pianist.
October 16 was Rally Day – Queen Chrissy Welch and King Don Mills reign over or morning services.
A Halloween Party for the boys and girls of our Sunday School was a part of our Fellowship Supper on October 30.
This fall the women of our church have another Fall Bazaar and start a fund for remodeling the former Golden Rule classroom into a church parlor.
A new addition to our church this year is the Plexiglas covering that has been placed over the stained glass windows that face Columbia School. This will help to protect the windows and their beauty, as well as serve to insulate against the cold winter winds.
At Christmas time, our choir presents the cantata, “The Night The Angels Sang”.
We have noticed an increase in our church attendance.
January, 1978 again brings us lots of snow and on January 26th THE BLIZZARD of ’78 hits Knox County and Mount Vernon and once -again- on January 29th church services are cancelled in most churches including South Vernon.
Our Valentine Love offering for this year was given to the trustees for needed church repairs.
Rev. Killgrove and the Youth of our church have evening services each Sunday during Lent. Also – we take “A journey of Love” a reach out program as part of the Lenten season. On Easter Sunday, our choir presents “The Sound of Singing”.
Rev. Killgrove has given us a plan for reading the Bible through in 1978. Our Bible Study group is continuing their study of the New testament.
New for us this year are the red registration folders in the pews. This enables the pastor to know who’s in church and to help him in his calling.
This summer we experimented with an evening Bible School and we were pleased with the results.
We are also glad to have more boys and girls in Sunday School. Our attendance continues to be good.
We’re now in the process of remodeling the back room (former Golden Rule Classroom). With a donation from the United Methodist women, work began in Mid-September to make this room our church parlor. The carpentry work is finished! The ceiling has been lowered and the walls have been paneled. We’re now working toward the electrical work, carpeting, and the furnishings. It’s another example of Faith in Action.
We wish to acknowledge Martha Crouthers, Church Historian, for the early part of this history.
It has been brought up to date for Homecoming, 1978.
History Committee
Helen Vannatta
Jennie Hawkins
Bonnie Beeman
(This next page is not noted by who wrote it)
South Vernon United Methodist Church
The first group of people met in the old Columbia School in 1906. In 1912 the Star Class, as they were called, purchased the church. The corner stone was laid on 1916, with inscription, South Vernon Union Chapel. On June 15, 1919, the building was dedicated, and services were held in the afternoon. It was governed by seven protestant churches from Mount Vernon, The Vine Street Church of Christ, Gay Street Methodist, St. Paul’s Episcopal, First Presbyterian, and First Baptist Church. Rev. Carl White served as pastor for several years, and in 1934 Rev. Willard Lockard became the first full time Pastor. The church was incorporated on January 7, 1935 as the South Vernon Union Chapel. Rev. Lockard was followed by Rev. Marie Tschappat who used student ministers to help. They were Rev. Glen Lockard and Rev. Raymond Gale. Rev. Tschappat was with the church for 5 years. Rev. Hilton Petry followed in 1942 and was with the church 4 years. Rev. O.D. Martin filled the pulpit in 1946 and the pulpit furniture was purchased this year. The church also held it’s homecoming in 1946. Rev. Edward Ferguson followed in 1947, he was not ordained yet, so Rev. John Stalker did the baptizing during that time. In 1950 Lowell Reeder came to the church, he was a young man raise in Mount Vernon and he started the excavation of the church basement, and was with the church for 5 years. On July 2, 1955 we affiliated with the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Rev. Delmar Young followed in 1955 and the basement was finished, and the organ was purchased and paid for by June 1957. Rev. George Fisher followed in 1959. The church purchased the lot on the right of the church, which was occupied by Pilotti’s Market. The market burned down and the church purchased the lot for a parking lot. New Pews, a nursery and a pastor’s study was added, and a parsonage was purchased on Crystal Ave., which was later sold because it did not meet the conference standards. The basement was partitioned off this year for class rooms. Rev. Robert Breese was next to join the church in 1964. A garage was built at the parsonage during his stay, also new choir robes and hymnals were purchased. Rev. Larry Wahlie followed in 1966. he started the Jr. Church and the church held its 50th Anniversary October 16, 1966. Rev. Donald Pickens followed in 1968, and we united with the Methodist Charge to become the South Vernon United Methodist Church. A new piano was purchased in 1968. Rev. Willard Murry followed in 1970. He was a retired minister who came back to the church and stayed 3 years. In 1973 the church received a Student Pastor Dan Drew, who finished his degree and was with the church for 2 years. Rev. Julian Maguil was assigned to the church in 1975. He was a foreign Pastor who needed some practice time in a church and was with us for one year. In 1976 Rev. James Killgrove came out of retirement to be the next Pastor. We were put on a two charge circuit, with Mount Liberty. Rev. Killgrove started a teenage class and youth group, he was with the church 4 years. In 1980 Rev. Gary Dixson came and the young class grew during his stay, also the choir. We were put on a 3 Charge Circuit at this time, with Gambier, and Hopewell Churches. In 1985 Robert Bloomquist came to the church and we learned about Big Brother Organization during his say. Rev. Tom Snode followed and was with the church on year, 1990, when conference called him to take a larger church in Mansfield. Rev. Loring Prest the present Pastor came in 1991. He is finishing his Methodist training this year and is a very busy young man who is interested in all three charges. He gives very good messages and has a lovely wife Denise and a very active 5 year old son Travis.
(This section is copied from hand written history by Bonnie Beeman)
South Vernon United Methodist Church History
South Vernon United Methodist Church is located at 142 Columbus Rd. in Mount Vernon, Ohio. We are one third of a three point charge which also includes Gambier Epworth and Hopewell United Methodist Churches.
Our history span goes back to 1889 when our church began as the South Vernon Union Chapel. The congregation met in a Lutheran Church near where the present day viaduct is located. From there the congregation moved to the basement of the city library until 1896. In 1896 the worshippers began meeting in a red brick schoolhouse on Columbus Rd. The red brick schoolhouse was to be torn down in 1906 and a new school was to be built. About 1912, with a $20.00 donation to build on, ground was purchased next to the school building and a church was built by hard work and further donations. The cornerstone for the new church was laid in 1916. Three years later flooring was donated by the J. M. Lumber Company and seats and pulpit furniture were given to us by a small Baptist Church. Thirteen stained glass windows were added to the church building and all of them are memorial windows. The present church building was dedicated on June 15, 1919. We were governed by the seven Protestant churches in Mount Vernon, who helped both financially and by sharing their ministers to fill our pulpit. Our services were on Sunday afternoons, so there would be no conflicts with their morning services.
January 7.1935 was our first business meeting after being organized and incorporated as the South Vernon Union Chapel Church. We now have our own governing board. June 15, 1955 the vote was taken and passed to affiliate with a church denomination, and July 5, 1955 was our first Sunday as an Evangelical United Brethren Church. In 1955 a basement was finished under our church building. The early 1960’s saw the purchase of a parsonage, a parking lot, new pews and carpeting. A nursery and pastor’s study were added and the basement was partitioned into classrooms. 1965 brought the birth of a junior choir, an energetic group of young singers.
In 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren denomination united with the Methodist church; we are now United Methodists.
The 1970’s brought many changes to our church building. We remodel the kitchen in the basement; covered the stain glass windows for protection with Plexiglas; a remodeled parlor-meeting room in a much used room; the sanctuary walls have been repaired and repainted; Chandelier lights were given as a memorial gift; new front doors are also in memoriam; the dining room area in the basement was paneled. In the early 70’s a continuing bible study and prayer group was started. That group remains faithful and a strong part of the church. New Sunday school classes have been added to accommodate every age group.
The 1980’s find us one of three churches on a charge. We have planted shrubbery around our church; the young adults built three large wooden crosses which are displayed in front of the church during the Lenten season. The 1965 Junior Choir held a reunion in June 1983. Many of them are now parents themselves.
South Vernon has been served by eighteen (18) pastors, including one who was a student at the Bexley Seminary in Gambier, Ohio. Those pastors are:
Rev. Willard Lockard
Rev. Marie Tschappat
Rev. Glenn Lockard
Rev. Raymond Gayle
Rev. Hilton Petry
Rev. O. D. Martin
Rev. Edward Ferguson (Bexley)
Rev. Lowell Reeder
Rev. Delmar J. Young
Rev. George Fisher
Rev. Robert Breese
Rev. Larry Wahlie
Rev. Donald Pickens
Rev. Murray Willard
Rev. H. Daniel Drew
Rev. Julian Miguel
Rev. James Killgrove
Rev. Gary Dickson (Current pastor)
(This section is starting the history on the New Millennium)
The new millennium started out with near disaster and possibly the end of our church. The Sunday after Easter morning early we were informed that the church was on fire. The Church membership was notified by phone and all met that morning to discuss what should be done. We knew that we would not be able to have service in the building for a long time, or possibly never again. We decided to contact the School and see if we would be able to meet in the school Gymnasium for the moment. We also prayed for guidance .
It was hard for us to hear that our church was set on fire by persons unknown. But with many months of hard work and planning, our church not only survived, but was rebuilt even better then before the fire. These are some of the improvements made while rebuilding; New Upholstering on the pews; Handicap accessibility; New roof; New carpeting; Painted completely; New sound system; and new hope for the future. In September the work was finished and the church re-opened. We had an open house for the community, and a thank you dinner for the fire fighters that saved our church. It never was determined who started the fire or why.
We do have to thank many people for a lot of help in recovering from the fire. Cokes bury gave us Sunday School Supplies, a couple donated a new organ, and many special people who gave extra funds so we could survive. Thanks to all, and Thanks to God!
In 2001 the Columbus Road area was to redone, with new pavement, & Side walks. They also lowered the street adding another step to the sidewalk in front of the church and making it an uphill drive into the parking lot. During this we lost most of the fence we had around the lot. The Columbia Gas Company tore out most of it and gave us $500 toward replacing it.
We purchased a display case for the flag donated by Alice Gray in Memory of her Husband. It was the flag used at his military funeral.
In 2002 we continued with making the church handicap accessible by installing a ramp to the back door, and a sidewalk to the parking lot. Our attempts to install a concrete pad were stopped by the fact that there is an alley in back of the church on the Township maps. In order to make things legal we would have to start the legal procedures to have the alley vacated. After many hours of meeting with every one with property next to the alley and the County Commissioners, the alley was vacated.
A drain pump was installed in the basement for the sinks to be properly drained. We also installed a new drinking fountain, replacing the old one that did not work anymore.
In April of 2003 we signed the petition along with the Mount Vernon City Schools and Mrs. Hall so that the County Commissioners could have the alley behind the church Vacated. This will allow us to have the parking pad and enough space behind the church to have adequate handicap access.
In May of 2003 we decided we should install central air conditioning in the church, and it was installed in time for the heat of the summer. This also required the replacement of the oldest furnace. In June we had a church Picnic at the Hiawatha Park on Sychar Rd.
In October of 2003 we replaced the fence around the parking lot that had been removed during construction on Columbus Road. The additional money used was from the Jack Kinard Memorial Fund.
Handicap parking signs were installed by the walkway to the new ramp.
In 2004 during the winter someone wrecked there vehicle into the side entry way of the church and drove off. There was almost $5000 damage, but the insurance would only pay $3600. We managed to find a contractor that could do the job for the money we had, plus we had extra work done. Finally we were able to get the parking pad poured along with a sidewalk linking it to the side entry way. Along with the improvements to the existing structure and the landscaping, the church looks good.
The spring work day this year included the construction of the new Prayer Garden in the back of the church next to the Ramp. I beautified the back of the church and created a nice place to sit and be alone with God in Prayer. This was constructed in memory of Jack Kinnard. We also installed a flag pole in the front of the church with the Christian & American Flags.
We had a change of pastors in 2005 bidding farewell to Rev. Gary & Audrey Campbell, and welcoming Pastor Kevin Reed & his new bride Julie. Kevin was a student at semniary and lived in Delaware.
We had another church picnic on Father’s day this time at Hiawatha Park, on Sychar Rd. We had great weather and a good turn out of 55.
In the spring of 2006 thanks to many fund raising events and the work of Charlie Waddell, we were able to raise enough money to have the parking lot paved. This is a wonderful addition to our church and makes it safer to walk into the church with solid footing. It also makes snow removal much easier.
Pastor History
Rev Carl White
Rev. Willard Lockard 1934 –
Rev. Marie Tschappat
Rev. Glenn Lockard
Rev. Raymond Gayle
Rev. Hilton Petry 1942 –
Rev. O. D. Martin 1946 –
Rev. Edward Ferguson (Bexley) 1947 –
Rev. Lowell Reeder 1950 –
Rev. Delmar J. Young 1955 –
Rev. George Fisher 1959 –
Rev. Robert Breese 1964 –
Rev. Larry Wahlie 1966 –
Rev. Donald Pickens 1968 –
Rev. Murray Willard 1970 –
Rev. H. Daniel Drew 1973 –
Rev. Julian Miguel 1975 –
Rev. James Killgrove / Fern 1976 –
Rev. Gary Dickson 1980 –
Rev Robert Bloomquist / Gloria 1985 –
Rev Tom Snode / Sondra 1990 –
Rev Loring Prest / Denise & Travis 1991 –
Rev Jim Ellison
Rev Gary Campbell / Audrey 1999 –
Rev Kevin Reed / Julie 2005 –
Rev Robert Alexander / Gail 2007 –
Rev Lee Cubie / Audra 2014 –
Rev. Carolyn Greene / Ray 2018 – 2022
Rev. Robert Alexander / Gail -2022
Rev. Mearle Griffith / Jane – 2023

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