1876 – 1900
There is not a lot written down about the church during this time period. From what we can tell it was its 'organizational period.' The Women’s Society was organized in January of 1894. A few years earlier in the 1880's the Epworth League was being organized. Epworth League was a ministry to teens and young adults giving them some place to go and also socialize.
The membership was growing during the 1880's to the point that the original church was no longer big enough and a new church building was being planned. That church would be built in 1898 and was the white frame church many of you remember down at the bottom of our parking lot, right on Winona Street. Even though the building went through remodeling stages over the years, the 1898 structure was the basic structure for 78 years.
The pastors during the time period were:
M.O. McNiff 1876-1877
G. G. Wells 1877-1879
B. Blain 1879-1880
C. H. Rogers 1880-1882
S. T. Horner 1882-1883
T. P. Engels & J. W. Elftman 1883-1884
W. L. Langrell 1884-1886
W. L. King & M. E. Sloan 1886-1888
W. A. Putnam 1888-1892
A. J. Williams 1892-1895
G. S. Parker 1895-1898
B. C. Gillis 1898-1902
Starting in 1888 with a larger congregation and a need to look at long range ideas like a new building pastors started staying longer than one or two years each while A.J. Williams and G.S. Parker were here three years each. This was a stabilizing force during the growth years. By 1902 the new church building was well established.
Remember that the early pastors were circuit riders and were based in other parts of the country and rode horseback throughout the county serving churches.
Some other interesting notes are the first building had an annex and tower added to it in 1889, which was only eight years before the new building. Secondly, the new building was started in October 1897. An editorial note would seem to say that this was not a good time of the year to start building, winter was on the way!! The building was dedicated on September 23, 1898.
This brings us to the close of the century and the beginning of a new century and new ministry!!