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Embury Methodist Church
125th Anniversary
25 September 1994

Embury Methodist Church 1869
Embury Methodist Church 2007

This little church of 125 years duration stands for something special for many folks. It may be where they attended Sunday School or church where they were baptized and taken into the church or where they were married.

A group of Methodists held their first meeting in the Columbia school house in Van Buren township, Lee County, Iowa. They decided to build a church one mile south across from the cemetery already there. The land was deeded to the Methodist Church by Joseph and Mary Clark for the consideration of $1 on June 18, 1869.

The first trustees were John McKaig, Henry Wahn, James H. Gay, Joseph Clark and William Kingkaid. Others in the first group were Mr. and Mrs. Henry Richey, Mr. and Mrs. H.A. McKaig, Mrs. Clark, Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Gay, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wahn, Mr. and Mrs. John McVay and family, Mrs. John Herron, Mr. and Mrs. George Martin and family, the Withrow family and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Dresser.

Others joining later were: Mr. and Mrs. Tom Dresser, Mr. and Mrs. Warren Dresser, Mrs. Albert Henkle, Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Rube, Mr. and Mrs. George Lauterbach, Mrs. David Herron, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Schoene, Mr. and Mrs. George Meinhardt, Mr. and Mrs. John Kelsey and the Haynes family.

The article in the Daily Gate City of Keokuk on Friday, Nov. 26, 1869, telling of the dedication of the church was found and sent to the historian in April, 1969, by the late R.J. Bickel of Keokuk.

In the beginning Embury, Charleston and Farmington were together. When the Donnellson Methodist Church was built, the circuit was changed leaving Farmington out and putting Donnellson in its place in the circuit. In 1917, Clay Grove replaces Charleston, and in 1969 New Boston replaced Clay Grove. The New Boston Church closed in early 1970's. Montrose joined Embury and Donnellson in a three-point charge from 1979 to 1989. Donnellson and Embury have been in a two-point charge since then.

This little church has seen some hard times when but a few attended and it was a struggle to keep it going; and it has seen some good times with large attendance.

In the first one hundred years, it prospered enough to add to the outside, to have a nice full basement with modern facilities and a very comfortable inside with new seats, organ and altar. Many contributions came from members and good friends who made it possible for these comforts.

Many young student ministers have started their ministry in our church and have gone on to more responsible positions after leaving here.

The church helped to send one minister, Rev. E.K. Burham, to Japan for three months as a missionary in 1955.

The church, W.S.C.S., and the MYF supported a foster child from Hong Kong between 1962 and 1968 and a child from Viet Nam for a number of years beginning in 1969. The Sunday School and United Methodist Women still support foster children. Our last two have been Indian youths.

The Ladies Aid Society was organized in 1906. They were very instrumental in providing funds to help pay the minister's salary. In 1940 they reorganized and named the society the Women's Society of Christian Service. In1968 they reorganized again, becoming the Women's Society of Christian Service of the United Methodist Church. In 1973 the name was changed again, this time to United Methodist Women. The United Methodist Women, with a current membership of 24, remains an active and vital part of our church whose main purpose is missions.

We have had young people in the Epworth League. Later it was called the Methodist Youth Fellowship and in more recent years it has been called the United Methodist Youth Fellowship. At the present time we do not have an active youth group.

Now our church is 125 years old and these are our blessings and accomplishments since 1969. The following new furnishings have been added: an organ, piano, memorial and guest books and stands, a handcrafted sanctuary clock, new hymnals, a furnace, ceiling fans, floor tile and carpeting, three utility cupboards, an electronic keyboard, folding chairs and window shades in the sanctuary. Improvements to the building and grounds have been new storm windows, roof, furnace enclosure, new basement walls and lights, new doors, a utility shed, a dusk-to-dawn light and several new trees planted in the yard.

This church has had Vacation Bible School each summer since 1948.

We have a Memorial Scholarship Fund for any church member who chooses to pursue a degree at tan accredited school.

Some of our special annual events include a soup supper, an Easter sunrise service and breakfast, pasta supper, and a midnight Christmas Eve service.

Our membership has been close to 100 for the past few years.

We have seven members now whose great-grandparents were among the first members of the newly formed Embury Church.

Embury is a member of the Mid-Lee County Council of Churches.

We hope this church can stand for many more years and always have a welcome for all people.

Ministers Who Served During the First 125 Years
Rev. Jessie Craig
Rev. R.A. Wright
Rev. A. Robinson
Rev. J.C. Thorn
Rev. Wm. S. Hast
Rev. Jessie Craig
Rev. John Freeland
Rev. James Hunter
Rev. Samuel Vinai
Rev. C.S. Tennant
Rev. J.F. Barnett
Rev. A.M. Boydson
Rev. J.W. Frakes
Rev. G.W. Pool
Rev. J.E. Wilkens
Rev. G.W. Barber
Rev. J.W. Dimmitt
Rev. Willard De Yoe
Rev. Aaron James
Rev. W.S. Moore
Rev. Harvey Butler
Rev. Harry Burns
Rev. L.C. Garner
Rev. N.E. Morris
Rev. W.B. Ireland
Rev. F.P. Frye
Rev. Waldo Buell

Rev. O.B. Rogers

Rev. R.C. Murdock
Rev. Treverton Warren
Rev. Paul Apfel
Rev. A.B. Adams
Rev. C.E. Coggeshall
Rev. G.E. Meier
Rev. Robert Pinnell
Rev. Roy Sturgell
Rev. J.S. Pennepacker
Rev. Alton H. Zischke
Rev. Charles Gross
Rev. Everett Burham
Rev. James King
Rev. Frank Matthews Jr.
Rev. Douglas Reed
Rev. Everett Miller
Rev. Perry Gaalaas
Rev. J.E. McClellan
Rev. Carles [sic] McNeeley
Rev. Kraus
Rev. Clarence Lautt
Rev. Jim Eads
Rev. Larry C. Robertson
Rev. John Yarosevich
Rev. Don Strickler
Rev. Don Hensen
Rev. Jim Turner
Rev. John D. Cornish

Pastor Julie McCullough
411 Dewey
PO Box 58
Donnellson IA 52625

Source: Church Records
Contributed by Kathy Kult
Kathy Kult 


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