Methodist Episcopal Church of Grundy Center
The Methodist Episcopal church, the largest and most thrifty of all, was organized in 1862, starting with a membership of but seven, three of whom--Mrs. Lucius Clark of this city, and Mr. and Mrs. L. D. Tracy of Wisconsin, are still living. The church has grown until its membership nearly reaches the three hundred limit. Their first meetings were held in the old school house near the present site of Dr. Heffelfinger's residence, the pastor being Rev. Aaron Vanando. In this old school building they continued their worship for some years, and later alternated with the Baptists in holding Sunday services in Grundy's first court house until 1871 when the first church was built, Rev. Hall being the pastor. In this church they continued some years, each succeeding year the membership growing larger till they were compelled to provide more commodious quarters. In 1891, under the pastorate of Rev. Geo. B. Shoemaker, they built the $10,000 church which is now their home. Rev. B. D. Smith is serving his first year as pastor in charge, and the increasing membership and thorough interest in the work bespeak for him words of commendation and praise for the success with which he is meeting. The Epworth League is a strong auxiliary to the church and is accomplishing much in aiding the pastor in carrying on his work. The Sunday school is also the largest in the county. R. W. Sayre has been their faithful superintendent for a number of years and he takes a deep interest in the work.
--Religious Department column by Lillian Kerr
--The Grundy Republican (Grundy Center, Iowa), 19 September 1895
Rev. Bethuel Holcomb preached the first sermon in Grundy Center August 5, 1857. The First Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1862 with a membership of seven persons, viz.: Freeman Wass and wife, and son Albert, Lucius Clark and wife, L. D. Tracy and wife. Rev. Van Anda was pastor and Rev. Ayers presiding elder. The circuit had as appointments Grundy Center, Hudson, Pratts, and Hickory Grove. The first quarterly meeting was held in Grundy Center February 28, 1863, with Wm. Fawcett as minister who remained one year. The conference then sent O. D. Bowles. In 1865, Rev. Barber took charge for one year and was succeeded by Rev. Dove in 1866. In the fall of 1867, Rev. Haymond took charge and a great revival followed in the winter. Rev. Haymond was returned for another year and a parsonage was built that year. Rev. Hall was appointed minister in 1868. A church was then being erected in Grundy Center which was completed under the pastorate of Rev. Thomas Moore who came in 1869 and remained one year. This church building was sold when the new church was built. The articles of incorporation of the old building were taken April 12, 1868, with Lyman Cole, Gardner Churtleff, Wm. Elliott, E. H. Beckman, John Wardel, W. C. Williams, and Lucius Clark as incorporators. The corner stone of this church was laid in November, 1869, and the house was dedicated in the winter of 1870. Rev. Baker became pastor for two years in 1871 and 1872. He was followed by Rev. Skinner who had charge in 1873 and 1874. The next year Grundy Center became a station and J. C. Magee was pastor of this church for three years. Nine hundred dollars was paid on the debt. E. G. Waite was then pastor for three years. One hundred and ten probationers were secured. Rev. Barnes was then pastor for one year and this year the new parsonage was built. B. C. Cory was then pastor for two years. Then R. N. Earhart two years, then W. A. Pottle was pastor for three years and made possible the new church. G. B. Shoemaker came for three years and during the last year of his ministry the fine new church, worth $12,000.00, costing $10,300.00, was built. H. S. Church was pastor for two years; B. D. Smith pastor two years and completed the basement. S. T. McKim then became pastor and was followed in 1898 by S. N. Fellows who served the charge for two years. J. B. Jones then became pastor of the church and two years later was followed by Nathaniel Pye. George H. Kenneday served the charge the next two years. He was followed by J. F. Black who was pastor for five years, the longest pastorate in the history of the church. During these five years several helpful revivals added to the membership of the church, a new cement barn was built to take the place of the old one, destroyed by fire, and a handsome new pipe organ was installed, beside a thorough and complete renovating of the interior of the church.
In the fall of 1910, Reverend Black was transferred to Manchester by Bishop Hamilton and Dr. W. C. Keeler, of Dubuque, was stationed at Grundy Center in his place. The church has a membership approximating 250, a property worth about $16,000.00, and is free from debt. Among the flourishing organizations in connection with the church, are the Sunday School, the Epworth League, the Ladies' Aid Society, the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, the Woman's Home Missionary Society. The Queen Esther Circle, the Home Guards, the "Diggers," and adult Bible Class, and the Men's Methodist Brotherhood.
by Dr. W. C. Keeler
--Atlas of Grundy County, Iowa, 1911, pg 92
Sixty-Fifth Anniversary Of Methodist ChurchOrganization Of This Church To Be Celebrated On New Year's Day
Interesting Event To Everyone
Brief Chronological History of One of the Oldest Organizations in County
Final arrangements have been made for the Sixty-Fifth Anniversary of the beginnings of Grundy Center Methodism on New Year's Day. The celebration begins with a picnic lunch at noon. Each family brings a basket with lunch for their own family. This basket will be received by a committee from the Ladies Aid. No food assignments are to be made. Each family brings anything they want to bring. All the baskets will be emptied of their contents and the food will be placed on a long table. When all is ready everybody will help themselves "Cafeteria Style." Guests will come first in the line, next the older members, then all other adults, then the children. Each family will be requested to see that their little ones are properly served. Coffee will be served free by the Ladies Aid Society.
The committee wish it to be understood that not only members of the church, but friends and well-wishers, in fact anybody interested is invited to attend the celebration. This includes the lunch as well as other parts of the program. "Just bring your family and a basket and join us in celebrating" is the invitation sent out by those in charge.
News of the anniversary has gone abroad and many have asked whether they may be privileged to come and the committee request that this invitation be broadcasted.
Every Methodist preacher in the county has been invited to be present and to bring his family and friends. It will be a big day for Methodism and no member or friend of the church should miss the opportunity.
A social hour will follow the lunch after which the audience will assemble in the auditorium and the roll of the membership will be called and every member will be asked to respond to their name. Some of the older members will be called on for a few remarks and incidents and experiences of the early days will be told.
Then will follow addresses by the Rev. Geo. B. Shoemaker and Rev. Dilman Smith, former pastors, both of whom have indicated their intention to be present.
During this period the little folks will be entertained in another part of the church with games and story telling. Then later some of the old time hymns will be thrown on the screen and the entire audience will have a good sing. Following the congregational singing the children will be entertained with a stereopticon lecture on "Children of Missionary Lands" illustrated with colored slides.
Great preparations are being made to make this the greatest day the Methodist church has had in all its history. And the invitation to be present includes every member of the church; every relative of every member of the church; every friend of every member of the church; everybody that is interested in the Methodist church; to everybody, everywhere, who wants to come.
Rev. Bethuel Holcomb preached in Grundy Center on the evening of August 5th, 1857. The congregation consisted of about a half dozen people. Rev. Holcomb spent the night with Father Cole. He came and preached again four weeks later. The record states, "These were the first sermons ever delivered in Grundy Center."
In the year 1860-1861, Rev. Coe, a local preacher was sent to Grundy Center by D. N. Holmes who was at that time the Presiding Elder of the Fort Dodge District of which Grundy Center was a part. Rev. John Connell served as pastor in 1861-1862.
In the fall of 1862 Rev. J. A. VanAnda was appointed to serve the Grundy Center Charge which had become a part of the Vinton district under the direction of the Rev. J. C. Ayers, Presiding Elder. The first permanent organization of the church was effected under the administration of the Rev. VanAnda. It was officially known as the Grundy Center Circuit and was made up of four preaching places as follows: Grundy Center, Hudson, Pratts, and Hickory Grove. The first Quarterly Meeting was held in Grundy Center Feb. 28th, 1863. The following persons were present at this first Quarterly meeting: Rev. J. C. Ayers, Presiding Elder; Rev. J. A. VanAnda, preacher-in-charge; L. D. Tracy, Sec'y; G. W. Warner, H. Chaffee, and R. L. Wass.
In 1863 Rev. Wm. Fawcett came as minister. The Rev. O. D. Bowles followed in 1864 and the year of 1865 brought the Rev. Barber who was succeeded in 1866 by Rev. W. S. Dove.
The Rev. J. Haymond took charge in 1867 and remained two years, which was something unusual in Methodism in those times. During his first year the church held a great revival which may have had something to do with bringing him back for a second year. A parsonage was built during Rev. Haymond's second year.
Rev. G. E. Hall followed in 1869 and the record states "reports a church in process of erection at Grundy Center." The church was completed, however, under the administration of his successor, the Rev. Thomas Moore who became pastor in 1870. This church building was sold when the present church was built.
Articles of Incorporation were taken April 12, 1868 with Lyman Cole, Gardner A. Shutleff, Wm. A. Elliott, E. H. Beckman, John Wardle, W. C. Williams, and Lucius Clark, Sr., as incorporators. The corner stone of the old church was laid in Nov. 1869 and the church was dedicated sometime during the winter of 1870.
Rev. J. E. Baker was pastor from 1871 to 1873 and was followed by the Rev. W. S. Skinner who served from 1873 to 1875.
In 1875 the "out-appointments" were taken off the "Grundy Center Circuit" and Grundy Center was made a "station" which in Methodist terminology means a one-church appointment. The Rev. J. C. Magee was appointed pastor and remained until 1878.
The Rev. E. G. Wait followed as pastor from 1878 to 1881. During this period 110 new names were added to the church membership roll. Rev. B. C. Barnes succeeded Rev. Wait and was pastor for the year 1882.
New Parsonage Built
A new parsonage was built on the coming of the Rev. Barnes and thereby hangs a story. It is told that a committee was sent to the conference session instructed to select an unmarried preacher on account of the unsuitability of the old parsonage for a family. Evidently the committee forgot their instructions, or perhaps were without sufficient persuasion to induce the conference to yield to their request, for instead of an unmarried preacher, Rev. Barnes was sent and with him came his wife and six children, all daughters, with the result that the building of a new parsonage was begun almost at once.
The house that now stands just west of the First Presbyterian church is the first Methodist parsonage that was built in Grundy Center.
Rev. B. C. Cory came as pastor for two years, 1882-1884 and was followed by Rev. R. N. Earheart who also remained two years, or 1884-1886. The Rev. W. A. Pottle followed and remained as pastor for the three years 1886-1889. The record credits Rev. Pottle for making possible the building of a new church, the present building, which was actually built during the administration of Geo. B. Shoemaker who was pastor from 1889 to 1892. The present church was dedicated on Sunday, April 3rd, 1892, the last year of Rev. Shoemaker's stay. As an appreciation of Rev. Shoemaker's work in Grundy Center, one of the stained-glass windows bears his name.
Rev. H. S. Church succeeded Rev. Shoemaker and was pastor from 1892 to 1894. He in turn was succeeded by Rev. Bourland Smith who was pastor from 1894 to 1896. Rev. Smith is credited with completing the church basement during his pastorate.
Succeeding Rev. Smith came the Rev. S. T. McKim who served the church as pastor for two years, 1896-1898. It was during the pastorate of Rev. McKim that the Billy Sunday revival was held in Grundy Center. As a result of this revival 85 members were added to the membership of the church.
The Rev. S. N. Fellows was pastor from 1898 to 1900.
The Rev. J. B. Jones was pastor from 1900 to 1902.
The Rev. N. Pye was pastor from 1902 to 1903.
The Rev. G. H. Kennedy was pastor from 1903 to 1905.
The Rev. T. F. Black was pastor from 1905 to 1910.
The Rev. W. C. Keeler was pastor from 1910 to 1913.
Rev. W. C. Keeler is entitled to the credit for the construction of the splendid present parsonage for it was built during his administration. The record shows this to be the third parsonage built since the organization of the charge. It is evident that Grundy Center Methodists intend that their pastors shall be well housed. It is said of the Grundy Center Methodist parsonage that "it is one of the best parsonages in the Upper Iowa Conference." And that is saying a lot for Methodism as a general rule provides good parsonages.
Rev. Keeler has another Grundy Center achievement to his credit. Tho he came here single he married just before he left and took with him as his bride Miss Batt, who had been a teacher in the Grundy Center High School.
Rev. Dilman Smith followed Rev. Keeler as pastor and remained from 1913 to 1918. It is said of him that "he knew everybody and everybody knew Dilman Smith and loved him."
The Rev. Fred P. Fisher succeeded Rev. Dilman Smith from 1918 to 1922 and was succeeded by the present pastor, the Rev. George Woodall.
Chronological Roll of Ministers of the Grundy Center Methodist Episcopal Church:
1861-1862--Rev. John Connell
1862-1863--Rev. J. A. VanAnda
1863-1864--Rev. Wm. Fawcett
1864-1865--Rev. O. D. Bowles
1866-1867--Rev. W. S. Dove
1867-1869--Rev. J. Haymond
1869-1870--Rev. G. E. Hall
1870-1871--Rev. Thomas Moore
1871-1873--Rev. J. E. Baker
1873-1875--Rev. W. S. Skinner
1875-1878--Rev. J. C. Magee
1878-1881--Rev. E. G. Waite
1881-1882--Rev. B. C. Barnes
1882-1884--Rev. B. C. Cory
1884-1886--Rev. R. N. Earhart
1886-1889--Rev. W. A. Pottle
1889-1892--Rev. Geo. B. Shoemaker
1892-1894--Rev. H. S. Church
1894-1896--Rev. Bourland Smith
1896-1898--Rev. S. T. McKim
1898-1900--Rev. S. N. Fellows
1900-1902--Rev. J. B. Jones
1902-1903--Rev. N. Pye
1903-1905--Rev. G. H. Kennedy
1905-1910--Rev. J. F. Black
1910-1913--Rev. W. C. Keeler
1913-1918--Rev. Dilman Smith
1918-1922--Rev. Fred P. Fisher
1922- --George Woodall
--The Grundy Republican (Grundy Center, Iowa), 28 December 1922, pg 1,7
First Methodist Church Dates Back 106 YearsNote: The following are excerpts from a "History of The First Methodist Church, Grundy Center, published in 1963.
The history of the First Methodist Church of Grundy Center, Iowa, goes back 106 years, to the time when Grundy county was a vast rolling prairie with only 300 inhabitants, and Grundy Center had just six houses, the homes had been built to the west and north of the town. To the east, five families had located along the winding trail between Grundy Center and the Grundy-Black Hawk county line. The first house, about 1 1/2 miles out, belonged to Lyman Cole.
At this home, on August 4, 1857, there appeared an itinerant Methodist minister on horse-back. The next day, a Sunday, six people gathered to hear Rev. Bethuel Holcomb preach. Four weeks later he returned to hold services, and these are thought to have been the first sermons delivered in Grundy Center. At least two other supply pastors are known to have served the community, and ministers of other denominations came at various intervals, but did not stay long. However, a Sunday School was organized. It met in a log house belonging to Mr. Copp, one of the first residents of the town.
In 1862 the Methodist Conference appointed Rev. Joel A. VanAnda to serve a circuit of four points, two of which were Hudson and Grundy Center, and on February 28, 1863, the Grundy Center Methodist Episcopal Church first became a reality. There were seven charter members: Freeman Wass and wife and son, probably relatives of that first settler, Mr. Copp; Lucius Clark and wife and L. D. Tracy and wife, daughter and son-in-law of the Clarks. Services were held in the six-sided so-called "cheese box" courthouse. At the end of the first year the Grundy Center mission reported a membership of 14, a missionary offering of $23.65, and $226 paid of the pastor's salary of $300.
Five ministers served the church in the five following years, and the roll reached one hundred members so that they were able to build a parsonage and plan for a church on the same location as they occupy today. The certificate of incorporation was dated April 12, 1868, and the document was signed by Lyman Cole, G. A. Shurtleff, Wm. A. Elliott, E. H. Beckman, John Wardle, W. C. Williams and Lucius Clark. The cornerstone was laid in November, 1869, but among the church records is a deed showing that the sale of the present property to the church for $150 did not occur until June 6, 1870. The dedication services were held in the winter of 1870. The church was a whole frame building with a vestibule facing east. There was a plank walk around it and dirt street, but it had stained glass panes in its Gothic windows, pews, a steeple, and a bell, the same bell that is used today.
Ten pastors had served the members when in 1875 the church ceased to be classified as a "wilderness crossroad station" and became a one church appointment. Rev. J. C. Magee, father of Bishop J. Ralph Magee, was assigned to the church in its new status. The sixteenth pastor was Rev. W. A. Pottle. In his pastorate the first Woman's Foreign Missionary Society and Woman's Home Missionary Society were organized, and missionary giving reached a high point.
By 1899 in Rev. George B. Shoemaker's term the membership of 206 had come to exceed the capacity of the little frame building. Besides it had lost its steeple in a severe windstorm that also twisted the church so it was necessary to brace it on the south side. After an overflow Sunday service, Albert Clark, son of charter member Lucius Clark, went to the pastor with a plea for a new church. He proposed a plan and proceeded to take contributions for the building project.
The contract bid for the new church was approximately $10,000. The old church was sold for $100, moved and divided to make two residences. Ground for the new structure was broken August 8, 1891. The cornerstone was laid Monday, Sept. 14, 1891. The contract price did not include the furnishings. The windows, the cost of which varied from $10 to $50, were given as memorials or tributes by members and friends. The chairs, set in a semi-circle facing north, were purchased by members at $1.00 each. The reed organ, chairs for a choir of four, the pulpit and altar were located on the north side of the sanctuary. Sunday services began with Class or Testimony meetings at 10 o'clock. The church hour was 10:30 to 12:00, and Sunday School from 12:00 to 1:00 o'clock.
During the term of the twentieth pastor, Rev. S. T. McKim, revival services were held in Grundy Center by the famous Billy Sunday, and 85 members were added to the church roll. In 1905, Rev. J. F. Black came to serve as the twenty-fifth minister. It was in his pastorate that a pipe organ was purchased for the church. The next pastor, Rev. W. C. Keeler, supervised the building of the present brick parsonage. Rev. Dilman Smith succeeded Rev. Keeler, serving for a five year period. During the following term, that of Rev. Fred P. Fisher, the Centenary campaign was carried on and the missionary giving of the church for a four year period exceeded $10,000. Rev. George Woodall was pastor from 1922 to 1925. His service was marked by a personal evangelism campaign as a departure from revival meetings, and there were many new members. In Rev. F. O. Winslow's pastorate, which followed, the membership was recorded at 328. Rev. J. B. Bird was assigned to the Grundy Center church in 1929, serving for ten years, the longest pastorate in the church's history. He was here thruout the terrible depression of the thirties, but the level of activity in the church was held to a very high standard.
Rev. R. A. Hallett came in 1939. That same year the three branches of Methodism united under the name of the Methodist Church. With unification came new set-ups within the Conference and the local church. New articles of incorporation were executed wherein the name of the Grundy Center church was changed to the First Methodist Church. The Woman's Foreign Missionary and the Woman's Home Missionary Societies and the Ladies Aid Society were merged into the Woman's Society of Christian Service. The Epworth League became the Youth Fellowship. In 1940 the opportunity arose to convert the coal-burning heating system to steam heat. This activity for both church and parsonage, together with labor and material, was a $2250 project. The occasion of the 50th anniversary of the building of the church and the 78th anniversary of the organization of the church was observed October 26, 1941, with special services. The idea of remodeling really had its inception during Rev. Hallet's stay, but progress was interrupted when in January 1942 he was transferred to the South Dakota Conference.
Rev. H. H. Palmer arrived in March to fill the vacated pastorate. For some time, there had been a realization of the need of additional Sunday School rooms and general repair and redecoration, but since there were the turbulent war years, there was some hesitancy about launching such an extensive program. Nevertheless the matter of new pews was discussed in June, 1942. Upon investigation it was found straight pews were much less expensive than curved ones, and this provoked thought as to rearranging the sanctuary. In March, 1943, official sanction was given to begin a Church Remodeling and Repair Program and committees named to take charge.
At once twenty farm families of the congregation started a drive for funds by raising pigs and donating their market value. This netted $1200 in December, 1943. In addition, in September a campaign for $10,000 was begun to finance the building project. Early in 1944 Architect E. F. Jansson of Chicago submitted two plans of remodeling for approval, and one because of its promise of beauty and increased usefulness was accepted. It included a new south entrance at an additional cost of $3000, which was secured in a second drive. At the same time the Methodist Church Pension Fund and the Crusade for Christ campaigns were in progress, the latter being over-subscribed: a tribute to the 111 men of the membership and church constituency serving their country in World War II.
During the latter part of Rev. Palmer's stay in 1944 and Rev. A. D. Holtry's pastorate in 1945 and 1946, building plans were practically dormant, but in 1947 under Rev. Merton B. Green's efforts action was revived and authority given to proceed. Costs had advanced so much it was thought the new entry and second floor plans would have to be abandoned, but with unexpected gifts and the success of a third campaign for $10,000 hopes again rose high. Definite steps were taken in May 1948, when new pews, chancel furniture and cathedral type lighting fixtures were ordered from the American Seating Company and again in October when a satisfactory contract offered by the Jens Olesen and Sons Construction Company of Waterloo was accepted with a promise that work would begin the day after Easter, 1949.
Actually it was two weeks later, but on September 18 the congregation, which has been meeting in the basement, again occupied its transformed sanctuary, where the pews now face east toward a stately divided chancel. The grade entrance to the south was a splendid improvement, and the efficiency of the Primary Department was increased in its new location on the second floor.
A fourth financial drive made it possible to have the basement, occupied by the Junior Department, serving also as a dining room, entirely redecorated and floor coverings placed on the first floor. The Primary Department walls were paneled and new furniture and cupboards placed in three separate class rooms. Fifteen years ago the Crusader Class as their own special project beautifully refinished the southeast basement room in knotty pine, and the following year a committee from the Woman's Society supervised the remodeling of the kitchen. While work was being done inside the church, outside a new roof was added, the woodwork painted and tower chimes installed.
During the entire remodeling period all regular church obligations have been met; most special requests exceeded the goal set, and World Service giving increased steadily.
On March 12, 1950, a dedication service for the remodeled church was held. Bishop Charles W. Brashares of the Des Moines area of the Methodist Church delivered the sermon at the morning worship services held at 9:30 and 11:00 o'clock. Dr. F. F. Travis, superintendent of the Cedar Rapids District, was the speaker during the afternoon dedicatory program. Rev. J. B. Bird and Rev. Howard H. Palmer, former pastors, and Rev. Merton B. Green, the host pastor, took part in the evening service. A fellowship dinner at noon in the church dining room was enjoyed by approximately 250 people and it was estimated that 900 people attended the service of the day.
From July 1951 to July 1955 Rev. Leroy E. Bauman served the church. During this period sizable contributions were made to the Wesley Foundation at Ames and to Cornell College at Mount Vernon.
Under the auspices of the Winmore Class a kitchenette was built in a small storage space under the stairway off the west class room on the first floor. The Crusader's Sunday School class was responsible for the laying of new floor covering in the dining room area and in all the rooms on the second floor. The old barn, of horse and buggy days, used as a garage, was torn down and replaced by a fireproof two-car garage. At the same time a cement driveway was added.
Fellowship dinners, Morther-Daughter and Father-Son banquets afforded social contacts and in 1953 the Methodist Men's group received their charter.
Rev. E. E. Basye, who continues to serve the church, was the succeeding pastor. In the fall of 1955, he suggested having two morning worship services for the accommodation of the growing congregation. Under the excellent leadership of Mrs. E. E. Basye as director and Mrs. Arthur Trevillyan as organist, three new choir groups were organized: The Cherub choir made up of boys and girls in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades; the Carol choir, 4th, 5th and 6th grades; and the Altar choir, grades 7, 8 and 9. These groups as well as the Chancel or adult choir participate each Sunday in the worship services. Their anthems and offertory numbers afford real inspiration and are much appreciated.
On Alternate Sunday evenings, the pastor meets with the Junior Youth Fellowship and the Senior M.Y.F. groups, directing them in an evening of worship, study and recreation. These young people, accompanied by their minister and several other adults interested in your work, have been privileged to attend summer camps at Clear Lake, and bus trips to Spearfish, So. Dak.; Denver, Colo.; Nashville, Tenn., and Chicago. There is much interest in the Church School under the leadership of devoted personnel. The Woman's Society of Christian Service and the Evening Guild faithfully continue to carry out their purpose.
In 1960 Mrs. Blanche Olson was hired to assist in carrying out church and church school activities. That same year the Grundy Center Methodist Church was changed from the Cedar Rapids District to the Waterloo District. A permanent church membership book was purchased in which transfers and corrections of names of members were made to bring the roll up to date.
To encourage spiritual growth, the "Upper Room," a daily devotional booklet, and the "Together" magazine, both Methodist publications, have been mailed to every church family for several years.
The need for additional educational units was partially met when two rooms in the basement of the parsonage were renovated for use by church school classes. Later the large porch on the east was enclosed to accommodate another group. As the need continued, moder fold-doors were installed in the church dining room to make four separate class rooms. In 1956 a contract was signed with the Jens Oleson Company of Waterloo, so had previously remodeled the church, to rearrange the kitchen for greater efficiency, and to change the southeast entrance to street level. By doing this, a more convenient entrance to the kitchen was provided, along with an entrance to the sanctuary and a nook for a storage cabinet for choir robes. After inspecting the belfry tower and finding it unsafe, the carpenters removed it. A new tower was considered, but the board felt the cost was prohibitive. Other improvements included a new installation for the organ, shelves for books in the study, a hinged communion rail, and changes to facilitate a church office supply room in the northeast corner of the building.
On the outside of the church, the stained glass windows were repaired, the woodwork painted and a new roof laid. The construction of a brick bulletin board with planter surrounded by evergreen shrubs in 1961 enhanced the south frontage.
In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren churches and the Methodist Church joined membership under the name of United Methodist Church. This is how the present name of the church originated.
Forty-one ministers have served since it has grown from seven members in 1863 to 657 members today.
The purchase of a residence north of the church provided an annex for church school, and lots west of the parsonage to Seventh street give necessary parking space. Also in 1977 two new doors were put on the entrances.
Recently the church was the recipient of a gift of 120 acres of Grundy county farmland from a relative of a charter member. The land is farmed and the revenue can be used for anything except general funds.
|Ministers of the Grundy Center Methodist Church|
|Rev. Juel A. VanAnda||1862-63|
|Rev. Wm. Fawcett||1863-64|
|Rev. O. D. Bowles||1864-65|
|Rev. W. F. Dove||1866-67|
|Rev. Raymond Haymond||1867-69|
|Rev. G. M. Hall||1869-70|
|Rev. T. Moore||1870-71|
|Rev. J. E. Baker||1871-73|
|Rev. W. S. Skinner||1873-75|
|Rev. J. C. Magee||1875-78|
|Rev. E. G. Waite||1878-81|
|Rev. C. Barnes||1881-82|
|Rev. B. C. Cory||1882-84|
|Rev. R. N. Earhart||1884-86|
|Rev. W. A. Pottle||1886-89|
|Rev. G. B. Shoemaker||1889-92|
|Rev. H. S. Church||1892-94|
|Rev. B. D. Smith||1894-96|
|Rev. S. T. McKim||1896-98|
|Rev. S. N. Fellows||1898-00|
|Rev. J. B. Jones||1900-02|
|Rev. Nathaniel Pye||1902-03|
|Rev. G. H. Kennedy||1903-05|
|Rev. J. F. Black||1905-10|
|Rev. W. C. Keeler||1910-13|
|Rev. Dilman Smith||1913-18|
|Rev. F. P. Fisher||1918-22|
|Rev. Geo. Woodall||1922-25|
|Rev. F. O. Winslow||1925-29|
|Rev. J. B. Bird||1929-39|
|Rev. R. A. Hallett||1939-42|
|Rev. H. H. Palmer||1942-45|
|Rev. A. D. Holtry||1945-47|
|Rev. Merton B. Green||1949-51|
|Rev. LeRoy Bauman||1951-55|
|Rev. E. E. Basye||1955-63|
|Rev. A. Harold Sparks||1963-68|
|Rev. Herbert Bryant||1968-73|
|Rev. John Latta||1974-|