First United Methodist Church Clarinda, Iowa [part 10]

1962-71  John L. Beebout


Before the Clarinda assignment, Rev. Beebout served churches in Milo, Malvern and Bloomfield .  Rev. Beebout credited the Lacour revivals for getting him him into the ministry—he said he had heard all of the words, but the Lacour’s rearranged them.  It has been said by one of the parishioners that recalls his pastorate that he “fit the church like a glove”. 

In 1965 the new educational unit was dedicated.  A big church decision was whether to remodel the parsonage or to build a new one.  Fund raising had been so successful that a new parsonage was constructed during this time and the old one demolished.

Rev. Beebout was popular with the young families in the church.  Methodist Park was again the site of picnics and campouts for families as well as for youth.  Family night complete with a pot-luck meal and a program were regular events.  Sunday school classes and other small groups were encouraged to meet for meals on an informal basis. 


Rev. Beebout is remembered as having a stellar sense of humor.  At Father-Son Banquets, Mother-Daughter Banquests or family night pot-lucks he was often called upon for jesting remarks.  Most notable was his portrayal of Little Lord Fauntleroy complete with costume.  Needless to say, his pastorate was one of Christian fellowship and fun.


Youth activities provided many opportunities: scouts, church league basketball, camp fire girls, M.Y.F.


Mrs. Beebout is remembered for her loving support of church work.  She babysat for a junior choir director and opened the parsonage to countless committee and group planning sessions.  Ruth Garrett recalls Mrs. Beebout’s concern over the transparency of the rippled glass in the door of the women’s rest room downstairs.  She asked the janitor to cover it with curtains.  He did; but, he hung the curtains on the hallway side of the door.


On October 10, 1968, at a special service in the sanctuary of the church, one hundred thirty women signed the charter for the reorganized Women’s Society of Christian Service.  The Wesleyan Service Guild held their charter meeting in the evening at the home of Mrs. John Beebout.


Ruth Richardson recalls that the Beebouts spent their first night in Clarinda in the Richardson home.


After leaving Clarinda, the Beebouts served churches in Ogden, and Wapello.  He retired in 1982, and in 2003 Rev. and Mrs. Beebout are living in Knoxville .





1971-74 Cecil C. Latta



Rev. Latta joined the Methodist Conference in 1941.  He served churches in Earlham, Lorimore, Macksburg, Manilla, Hamburg , Gatchel in Des Moines , Coon Rapids , Ottumwa , and Centreville.


The celebration of the transformation from Women’s Society of Christian Service to United Methodist Women of the Iowa Conference was held September 15th in Ames .  Previous to that meeting, on September 13, 1973, the Women’s Society of Christian Service and the Wesleyan Service Guild held a celebration on becoming one new inclusive unit with a new name.  UNITED METHODIST WOMEN.  The guild will now be known as the Susanna Circle .


During Rev. Latta’s pastorate a fee schedule was adopted to charge for the use of church and educational unit facilities.

  Ruth Richardson recalls that Rev. Latta loved strawberries rolled in powdered sugar. 

  Following the Clarinda ministry, Rev. Latta served the Denison church.  He retired in 1976 and is no longer living.
1974-80 Jerold L. Irvin



Prior to the Clarinda assignment, Rev. Irvin was pastor at churches in Logan, Gatchel in Des Moines , and Denison .


Rev. Irvin loved early morning golf—any morning that was over 50 degrees—but he was always in the office by nine.  He was a great motivator for young people and many recall the influence of his confirmation class in their life (or was it the trampoline in the parsonage yard?). 


Community outreach was also a strong focus in Rev. Irvin’s pastorate.  Sew and Share was organized to provide food, bedding and clothing items to those in need.  That organization still exists and serves as a community food pantry in 2003.  Mary Cahill recalls how the project began.  “The first year Jerry was here, he could see the need for women to group together in fellowship, and be creative.  This would be apart from our regular United Methodist Women’s Meeting, which was once a month.  The group started meeting each Wednesday from 1-4 p.m. upstairs in room 207 of the educational building.


For activity the group quilted, made lap robes, and bibs.  They were given to any one in need.  School bags were made and taken to the Ingathering.  The group would work until 3 then quit to fellowship with coffee and refreshments. 


At one time Jerry stated we needed to have a name.  We all agreed it would be Sew and Share, because that was what we did.  It wasn’t too long that we could see there was a need to share non-perishable foods to those less fortunate.  To my knowledge, this has been the longest running project that I can think of.  It is still going strong.  We are only closed on holidays.  We have been active for 19 years.”

Confirmation classes took on a new importance.  One group of girls in the 1976 class encountered some bats while “exploring” the old upstairs classrooms.  As they ran down the stairs to escape, a broom magically appeared on the steps and they were able to scare the bats away.  Those girls (now in their 40’s) still think they had encountered a “miracle broom” sent to protect them.


It was also at this time that the church approved housing a nursery school.  Rev. Irvin was one of the charter members of the board.  The Clarinda Nursery School continues to provide pre-school education in the educational unit facility. 


Following the Clarinda ministry, Rev. Irvin served churches in Glenwood, Epworth in Council Bluffs , and Lake View-Wall Lake .  He retired in 1991 and is no longer living.  Rev. Irvin’s daughter, Nancy Swanson, is a current resident of Clarinda and member of the church and recalls that during his short stay of six years much good came to the church community.