in the early years of Madison County settlement, like-minded
neighbors would begin to regularly gather for worship services at
each other's homes. They were sometimes served by itinerant
preachers or one of the neighbors would serve as a lay preacher.
In southern Madison Township, a group of five families met in various homes for
worship for several years and then they
organized as a Methodist class in the year 1868. Charter
members were the George Brown, John Kingman, Leroy Anderson,
George Nichols and Ludwick Fritz families. The doctrine
adopted was that of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Others
who soon joined them were the John B. Oldham, Andrew Oldham, John
LaPella, Dan Eyerly, Bunell Woolsley, George T. Clements, and John
Whitenack families. Six years after organizing, grounds for
a church building and cemetery were deeded to the trustees in 1874
by the Woolsley family.
church was built in 1880 and 1881 and heated with two large coal
heating stoves. Stone for the foundation was hauled from
Middle River, a long day’s journey by team and wagon. In
1913 a coal furnace was purchased, which required a small basement
under the church to house it. A small vestibule was
added in 1915. In those horse and buggy days, the minister
frequently drove out from Earlham during the week and visited
among the people, staying the night at one of their homes.
lamps hung from the ceiling for many years. In 1914, carbine
lights were installed and used until electricity was available in
1947. The first organ was placed around 1892 for worship
services and it was replaced with a piano in 1916. Over the
years, a digital piano, grand piano, and Wurlitzer organ had been
donated. The parsonage across the road to the east housed
ministers from 1918 to 1993.
1953 the Sunday School attendance had outgrown the one-room
building so a full basement was dug under the church. The
vestibule was removed and replaced with a larger vestibule and
classroom, and stairs to the basement were added at the entrance.
Kitchen and dining equipment were then moved from the parsonage
basement. At this time, a gas furnace was purchased.
In 1955, running water was installed in both the parsonage and the
church, making possible the installation of modern rest rooms in
the church basement. The kitchen was moved back to the basement
and has since served many ice cream socials and harvest dinners.
years later, more room was needed for Sunday School classes.
In 1958, a vacated one-room school house was attached to the west
side of the church, with a full basement beneath, partitioned for
a hall and three classrooms. The first floor of the one-room
addition is used as a chapel and a second furnace was added.
times, Worthington Methodist Church had close associations with
other Methodist churches at Earlham, West Star, De Soto, Penn
Center, Early Chapel, and Webster. The church bell in the
stone bell tower on the front lawn has been part of several of
these churches. It was part of the De Soto church from 1880
to 1948 when it was moved to the West Star Church. Then in
1969, as West Star closed, Worthington received the bell as a
gift. The old fashioned narrow seated pews were replaced
with more comfortable ones given by Webster when it closed in 1972.
members have been active in Sunday school, mission support,
women’s societies, youth fellowships, and group social
activities. The families have maintained a strong connection
to each other and the Worthington community across multiple
generations. The first “Homecoming” was held in 1922 and
continued annually through 1970 except for a disruption in 1926
due to a terrific rainstorm. From that time, occasional
homecomings have been held, notably in 1993 and 2013.