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From 1926 to 1945 Click here for Printable version

CHATFIELD METHODIST
EPISCOPAL CHURCH
1926 - 1945

In 1929 Chatfield received a new pastor who not only was taking over a new pastorate but he had just gotten married. Rev. Virgil Ward came to Chatfield with his new bride Fannie Ward. They spent two years here before moving on.

On November 9, 1931 a letter was sent out to inform people that on November 29, 1931 the church would celebrate its 75th Anniversary. It was to be a modest celebration with services at 10:30 am, 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm!! Past pastors were invited back for the day. The evening service would also be a picnic. For those who could afford it a one cent per year of history was encouraged. This would go directly to the Church Improvement Fund! The letter was penned by a number of leaders in the church.

During this time the Methodist Episcopal Church of Chatfield put on an annual Southern Supper which included baked chicken, southern style (of course). In 1934 the hungry guests consumed 60 chickens, mounds of vegetables, an uncounted amount of hot corn bread and enough ice cream to make everybody happy. The men who served this meal promised a good time by all again next year.

In 1936 during the pastorate of R. Jay Wilson the first Hammond electric organ in the Minnesota Conference was purchased. It was dedicated with appropriate services on October 19, 1936. An organ recital was given that afternoon by Orvis Ross of Rochester. The cost of the organ was $1,350.

On October 29, 1936 ten days after the dedication of the organ the church had a fire in the basement. Insurance adjustors set the loss at $4,000.00. The organ escaped any damage, but the wall back of the pulpit was destroyed and also the entire basement.

Work began immediately as the basement needed to be redone from the stone walls in. A new furnace and stoker were installed at a cost of $1,095.00. Nu-Wood was used on the ceiling and new lights were installed. The kitchen was completely made over, with ample cupboards, painted in ivory with black hardware. The repairs were done in March of 1937.

The repairs included moving the pulpit from the eastern corner of the church to its new location in the northeast end of the sanctuary. In rebuilding of the sanctuary a pulpit and a lectern were installed in what is known as a divided chancel. On the wall behind the pulpit and lectern was placed a walnut cross finished in natural color. On either side the paneling was so arranged as to form a smaller cross. The white frosted lighting fixtures were made in Germany. A lot of the rebuilding and repairs were done by volunteer help.

The organ was purchased with a bequest of Miss Etta Coe. Miss Coe was a music teacher and patroness of every good work. In her will she generously remembered all the Chatfield churches. The remaining sum of $335.00 is being raised by a committee consisting of L. M. Thurber, Nona Caw and G. H. Page.

In 1939 the Methodist Episcopal Church changed its name to Methodist Church. For some time after this Chatfield was known as First Methodist Church.

In 1937 George Chant began as pastor to the church. Rev. Chant was originally from England. He first came to Canada and continued his education at Wesley College, Winnipeg.

During this time, (1926-1945) only five pastors were appointed:

H. F. Midkiff  1925-1929  4 years
V. E. Ward  1929-1931  2 years
H. Illingworth  1931-1933  2 years
R. Jay Wilson  1933-1937  4 years
George Chant  1937-1947  10 years

The Chants were here for 10 years. Many of those years were during World War II. They provided the stable ministry and pastorate during again a very difficult time in history. The May issue of our newsletter will continue with the First Methodist Church of Chatfield. We will cover the years 1945-1965. We hope you enjoy reflecting on the many years of ministry and service this church has performed in the community of Chatfield!!

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