Ogilville United Methodist Church… A Brief History Lesson
Information provided by Kay Richards:
This church has had an interesting history. It dates as an organization from 1904 under the late Rev. J. M. Osborn when the present building was erected and the church was named Aspy Chapel. Its membership was built up from three organized United Brethren Church groups from converts in the community and from those who had joined by letter from time to time. Its life and growth would be better understood with a brief survey of the efforts of the denomination to establish churches in Bartholomew County west of Columbus and in Brown County.
The earliest date of an organization is 1892 under the late Rev. Simon Walls. Pleasant Valley was built on ground donated by the Huffman family. Rev. Walls preached in cottage meetings until the church could be built. When the location seemed no longer centrally and sufficiently accessible, the church was sold and the membership merged with the newly organized Aspy Chapel.
In about 1893 Rev. Hobson organized a church group at Waymansville and meetings were held in the schoolhouse for a few years. No church was built. The members were finally absorbed in Aspy Chapel or other churches.
Rev. Walls organized the Beck’s Grove Church in 1893. A frame church was erected in 1895. Finally in 1931 the membership of 13 was merged with Aspy Chapel.
During the pastorate of Rev. Walls, sweeping revivals were held at each church. He served the charge three years and built four churches. In 1929 the name of the charge was changed from Beck’s Grove to Ogilville.
During the 3-year term of Rev. Moore from 1899-1901 services were held in the old St. Paul Lutheran Church. After the Lutheran church was closed, meetings were held in a small house that stood near where our parsonage is today. Revivals resulted in converts who became strong Christians. In 1904 during the ministry of Rev. Osborn the present building was erected. Some of the lumber from the Pleasant Valley church was used in our present building. The land was donated by John and Sue Aspy, so the church was named in honor of the donors. The church kept that name until the fall of 1941.
The parsonage was built around 1931 and several improvements were made at different times with a major remodeling in 1979 overseen by Urban Dalton at a cost of $15,000.
In 1936-1937 during the 3-year pastorate of Rev. Leon Taylor the church basement was constructed. Among those who helped with the excavation and work was John Rich who brought his team of horses and assisted in the heavy work.
In the fall of 1941 the name of the church was changed to St. Paul Memorial United Brethren Church after the heirs of John W. Noblitt requested not to accept a petition to rename the church John W. Noblitt Memorial.
In 1941-1942 the church was remodeled. The ceiling was lowered, which had been in a dome shape. Roy Huntsman did the plastering of the walls and stained glass windows were installed for an unbelievable sum of $225. New pews were installed for $498. Also, new flooring was added at this time and a new front entrance was constructed.
When the church was first built, two stoves were used to heat it. Then later one large stove was located near the center of the church, until a stove was installed in the basement with one big register in the floor. Later a furnace was installed for coal but then was finally converted to gas. When Rev. L. W. Mayhugh was pastor, the balcony was built.
The annex was built in 1966 by Wesley Pruitt and his son, Jerry when Rev. Kirsch was pastor. With the merger of the United Brethren in Christ and the Evangelical Church in 1946, our denominational name was change to Evangelical United Brethren. Then with the merger of the Methodist and E. U. B. in 1968, the name was changed to United Methodist. The Mount Healthy Methodist Church joined our congregation in 1976 which is coming up on 30 years.
As far as we know, the following people have been called from this church into the ministry: Lois Henry, Loren and Minnie Noblitt, Freda Rich King, Marie Pfieffer, Floyd Elliott, Charles Lane, Broten Martin, Harold Kollmeyer and James Hoppus.
We have been talking about our church’s past and we are truly thankful for the dedicated, faithful and brave ancestors and community leaders from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s who started this church; now one hundred years later, we are involved in a building program that is exciting and a little frightening and we must be dedicated, trusting, and as brave as they were, being examples for us. Don’t you think they would have wanted us to move on and find a suitable place to build a larger church? If we know about the history of this church, we pray that we can preserve the vision of our forefathers and carry on their traditions as God would lead us. Please pray about this every day and support the committees and their decisions.
At this time, Kevin is going to enlighten you on the future of our church for a few moments.
Many things have happened in the past several years and most of you have been part of those happenings…increasing the size of the parking area twice, painting of the sanctuary, new carpeting, updating the classrooms in the basement, new vinyl and paint in the restrooms of the annex and many other improvements. Some of you are fairly new here but if I could ask you personally why you stay, I think it would be because you feel a closeness to the other people who were already here and you feel “at home”. Pastor Tom is very friendly and he gets down on our level literally during the services to allow us to understand what he is saying to each of us. Several four-generation families attend here: Nola, Della, Bill Hardin, and Ruby. Many three-generation families also attend.
Last year I researched the Noblitt family through six generations. This year’s focus is on the Linson-Rich-Hardin family. Rev. Melvin and Mary Linson furnished the lumber for a church back in the late 1800’s for this neighborhood. The Linson’s had 15 children including 2 sets of twins; one of those children was a daughter, Jennie who married John Rich. John and Jennie gave birth to a daughter named Freida who later entered the ministry and another daughter, Blanche who married Frank Hardin. Three of their children and a daughter in law still attend here: Bill, Janice Sullivan and Ruthann Hollin plus Ruth Hardin. In all, because of Bill’s daughter, granddaughter and grandson attending here…that makes 7 generations affiliated with this congregation.
Today we are celebrating a church standing for 100 years in a neighborhood. This means something to you and to me because we are part of the fellowship that comprises that building. A church is not just a building of pews, windows, doors, lights etc. It is not just a minister, a song leader, a group of Sunday School teachers, not just a pianist, organist, a custodian, or officers and committee members. A church is PEOPLE…the ones who support the ministry of the church, regularly attend, pray for others, witnessing to all they meet by living Christian lives, working in harmony and loving one another because we are just old friends.
Former Pastor’s of Ogilville Church
1892 Simon Walls
1893-’94 S. Hobson
1895 S. Walls, Melvin Linson
1896 Simon Walls
1897 W.J. Farnsley, J.W. Freeland
1898 J. W. Freeland
1899-’01 W. W. Moore
1902 J. A. Hile
1903-’04 J. M. Osborn
1905-’06 S. A. Morgan
1907 D. E. Wesner
1908 Emma Himmelheber
1909 E. Roberts
1910-’11 Wm. Hobson
1912-’13 G. M. Young
1914 C. M. Dillman
1915 W. J. Etherton
1916 Ed McCoy
1917 S. P. Walls
1918-’19 L. S. Allen
1920 C. J. Craigmyle
1921 H. L. Craigmyle
1922 J. Medcalf
1923 Roy Andrew
1924-’25 V. J. Brown
1926 S. C. Figg, C. D. Plummer
1927-’28 C. D. Plummer
1929 S. P. Walls
1930-’32 E. B. Catt
1933-’35 C. D. Plummer
1936-’38 Leon Taylor
1939-’42 L. S. & Minnie Walls Noblitt
1942 Leon Taylor
1943-’47 M. P. Kindred
1948-’49 J. W. McMurtry
1950-’55 L. W. Mayhugh
1955-’60 Wm. J. Byrum
1961-’63 Bill Waugh
1964 J. K. Dilley
1965-’67 J. A. Kirsch
1967-’69 Elva Hardy
1970-’72 Leon Gardner
1973-’74 Paul Byard
1975-’76 Donnell Tousley
1976-’77 Bert Reed
1977-’79 Charles Ratcliffe
1979-’80 Al Bowles
1981-’83 Dale Jackson
1983-’86 Richard Davis
1986-’89 Blaine Emily
1989 Bill Miller
1989-’90 Rolla Hendrickson
1990-’96 Arnold Cutter
1996-’98 Les Grimsley
1998-‘05 Tom Lapham
2005-‘07 Richard Russell
2007-14 Dennis Zetterberg
2014- 16 Beth Ann Cook
2016-21 Paul Huntsman
2021- David Wilson
So I thought I would reflect on the actual memories of one little child growing up here.
Some of my first recollections are of being in the “nursery” Sunday School class with Aunt Opal Hendershot as my teacher. We were seated around the outside of a “U” shaped table and along with me sat Loretta pinching me when Aunt Opal wasn’t looking! And there was only one adult Sunday School class.
There were some grand Mother-Daughter banquets in the basement; yes, the basement. That was when there were folding screens to separate the classrooms. When those screens were removed, the basement seemed so large. But everything about the church seemed bigger back then.
The homecoming was called “All Day’s Meeting” and we had tables and chairs set up outside under the trees because there was no annex building.
I knew that the older people would sit in the same pew every service; isn’t that silly?! As if we don’t do that now! I knew that those older people would always be there. As a child, I didn’t realize how fragile and really short a lifetime is.
Sometimes I helped Aunt Opal clean the church. My job was to dust the pews…there were so many of them!
I remember the church before there was a balcony, before there was padding on the pews, before there was on organ, when there were wooden theater type seats in the choir, when the children sang every Sunday, Christian Endeavor, then Y F meetings every Sunday evening before regular Sunday services. I remember getting the curtains for the Christmas pageant out of old metal cans from the basement. Boy, did they smell musty! Then of course, we had to use THE MANGER which has been around as long as I can remember!
There was midweek prayer meeting with a different leader each week. Always it was expected that everyone would testify, too. I learned to pray and testify in front of other people even though I was rather shy. I know you find that hard to believe but I really was a meek little wallflower. The ladies had Missionary meetings and I enjoyed getting to see the other girls while the mothers listened to a lesson and made plans to aide missionaries and help out in the community.
I remember baptisms at the Lowell bridge area and instructional classes prior to being baptized and joining the church at age 12. I recall many altar calls and many people being saved and sanctified during regular services and during revivals.
I especially loved the new pink walls of the sanctuary. When the sun came through the windows it was so beautiful!
There was a lot of controversy centered on the installation of a ramp and side door…it would not look good: it was not needed, etc. But it has been a good thing for many people, including me when I was using a wheelchair and then a walker several years ago.
I remember many of the preachers and the cleaning of the parsonage in preparation for the new arrivals. The ladies would gather together and work up a storm!
We used to cancel our services on Sunday morning and evenings and attend the Tri County camp services. My kids especially liked that because they felt like they were outside instead of confined in a building.
I remember when Jim Hoppus announced that he was going into the ministry. Many of you may remember when others did the same thing. There have been several from this church that have dedicated their lives to serving the Lord.
You may all have many special things that you remember. I guess that is what happens as you get older…the aches and pains and the memories!
The last paragraph of my history of 2000 in January 2001 said, “Many accomplishments have been made with the Lord’s help. Let’s trust in Him also for the year 2001.” As I look back on 2001, I know none of us could ever imagine what the United States would experience in September, nor how we would all need to draw on that trust in God so much more.
In January, to ease our boredom a little and add a little money to the treasury of the Ogilville United Methodist Women’s group, we held a craft, bake and knick knack Bazaar. Don Ward was kind enough to bring his truck each Sunday morning to collect aluminum cans to benefit the Youth Group Mission Trip.
In February the Women’s Group prepared a Newcomers Valentine or Sweetheart Dinner. As Laura Johnson wrote in the News from the Pews, “It was without a doubt a very elegant evening. The atmosphere was candlelight and soft music. The food was delicious and to top off the evening, the couples renewed their wedding vows.” May I ask how many attended that gala event? Singspiration was continued the first Sunday of each month.
In March we began a Women’s Luncheon with the first one to be held at the Red Lobster for working and other interested women (Sorry, Pastor Tom!) Different locations will be considered.
In April there was the annual egg hunt. We honored the youth with a luncheon following the morning worship with donations to benefit the youth mission trip. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services were held and Sunrise service and breakfast was at Ohio Chapel Church. Our sanctuary was nearly full for the morning worship service. It was announced that the Ogilville United Methodist Preschool is in its planning stages with classes for 3 and 4 year olds.
In May (always a busy month) there was the Mother-Daughter Banquet with record attendance, Mother’s Day observance, Appreciation Sunday with testimonials, certificates and thank you grams and all of us got to enjoy cookies and punch after the service. A memorial garden was planned with donations of plants, plant materials, etc. needed. “God and B.J. are to be the gardeners.” Flowers were dedicated and planted with love in memory of several members that have gone on to be with the Lord. There was another Bake and Garage Sale by the Women’s Group. We observed Memorial Day with a patriotic medley by the choir. We also honored the graduates.
In June, Bible School was held June 4-8 with the theme “Jesus to the Rescue”. Thanks to all who helped in any way. The Youth Mission Trip was the week of June 11. Open House, Open Minds and Open Hearts Conference training in Indianapolis was attended by five of us.
In July we began the early 8:30 am worship service. Tri-County Camp Meeting was July 8-15. Dan and Sandy Bates welcomed a new daughter, Kaylen to their family. The church computer bit the dust!!! but by July 22, we had a new computer and welcomed donations to cover the cost. Deborah Cronin, Associate Council Director of South Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church presented checks for $12,000 as a major redevelopment grant to assist in funding a full time pastor since we are going to a single point charge, $500 for the pastor’s continuing education, and $3000 for the startup and support of the new preschool.
In August, the nomination committee met to prepare for the local conference. Pastor Tom and B.J. went on a very welcome vacation for both of them and Marilyn Richards, Rice Johnson and Kevin Johnson filled the pulpit while they were gone. All had very good messages. The new wooden cross was installed.
In September a great new concrete patio was poured at the rear of the annex…thanks, Kevin, Dean and Rice Johnson! Charles Richards and Tom Day installed new ceiling fans and extra lighting in the annex and screens were added to the windows to assist air flow during nice fall and spring days. On September 9 there was a special prayer for the leaders of our new preschool. On September 16 the choir presented a patriotic medley with presentation of the flags. (Loretta Bobb-the choir dictator/director had repeatedly asked us to practice the medley not knowing what September 11 would bring to our nation; doesn’t God work in mysterious ways?) We began a prayer list for loved ones in the military. Our Homecoming had been planned for September 16 for a long time and we continued with it to boost the morale of our church family. During the Sunday school hour we played “I’ve Got a Secret”, “What’s my Line?” and “Name that Tune” much to the enjoyment of everyone that attended this portion of the homecoming festivities. Paul Huntsman was our guest speaker; there was a noon meal, outdoor musical entertainment all afternoon and games for the kids. The weather was absolutely beautiful…maybe a little sunny…ask Tom Day and Dennis Albert!! Local conference was held with a new slate of officers for 2002 and a new budget will be forthcoming.
In October we had a pumpkin party with record attendance and lots of work by Renee Petro and enjoyment by the kids. There was another Bake, Craft and What-not Sale. Our fall revival was held with Rev. Dennis Aud from the First United United Methodist Church in Columbus as the speaker and “Here and Gone” a local blue grass band providing the music. These were wonderful services. The Wednesday Bible study begins the study of religions of the Middle East. Pastor appreciation day was held also.
In November the first “Sounds of Praise” service was held on Sunday evening. There was family day with a pitch in luncheon after the morning worship. There was a banner hung featuring the church family tree with fall colored leaves printed with each church family name. It was decided to discontinue the early services through the winter months. Becky Green began working on the bulletins. We really appreciate the photos on the back of the bulletins; that makes our bulletins so personal.
In December (another busy month)… bad weather and illness prevented us from caroling this year. Women’s group had the annual Christmas party at Glenda Beasley’s. The church was beautifully decorated inside and out. The Christmas program was at 9:30 AM on December 23. The sanctuary was so full that some people could not find a seat! The program was one of the best ever! The Christmas Eve candlelight service was inspiring and beautiful. The new candleholders were great.
Finally…the two little words you have all been waiting on…IN CONCLUSION…I think we have all grown spiritually this year; we’ve had to deal with emotions, fears and concerns as never before. Let us again call on God for the strength and courage that is needed to face another year. Our church has gained 10 new members and their families, and we have witnessed several infant dedications and some adult baptisms. We must face the fact that our “little” country church is rapidly outgrowing the buildings and parking facilities again and you and I need to be praying for guidance in seeking a building program that will be in God’s will and His timing. In conjunction with this fact, Pat Ford, our Women’s Mission Group President has an announcement at this time.
Provided by Kay Richards