First United Methodist Church Clarinda, Iowa [part 11]

1980-83 Harland T. Gant

Rev. Gant came to the Iowa Conference from New Jersey where he served churches in New Brunswick and Oakhurst.  In Iowa his pastorates included churches in Luther, Marengo, Des Moines , Wapello, West Liberty, Greenfield and Tama.  Rev. Gant was recognized for his strong administrative skills.


His memory of names was impressive.  Once he had been introduced to a person he could always recall the name.  He was organized and precise. 


Mary Cahill recalls that one Sunday she asked him to make a special announcement.  Rev. Gant proceeded to tell her that if she wanted him to relay a message on Sunday morning it needed to be on his desk in writing the day before.


Mrs. Gant is remembered as a sweet lady who helped with many church activities.


During Rev. Gant’s ministry there was lengthy study and discussion about whether to build a new church or to redecorate the existing sanctuary.  It was decided to redecorate and recarpet.


Ruth Richardson remembers that the flower beds alongside the education building were planted during his ministry with the iris bulbs that were given by Margaret Leland.


He was methodical, preformed, disposed to acting in a systematic, orderly manor.  Mary notes that the words following methodical in the dictionary are Methodism and Methodist.  She feels that each minister has and can give us something we lack.  And the good news is, it makes us more acceptable and a better Christian person.


Rev. Gant retired in 1983 and he passed away on July 4, 2001.





1983-87 R. Martin Miller



Rev. Miller joined the North Iowa Conference in 1962.  Prior to his pastorate in Clarinda he served churches in Guttenberg, Cedar Rapids , Davenport , Elberon, and Clinton .


Rev. Miller loved working on old cars.  Sometimes he rode his scooter to visit parishioner’s farms.  Amusing incidents are recalled.  One parishioner remembers that he once welded his wedding ring to a car part he was working on.


Confirmation classes continued to be monumental events in the lives of young church members.



In 2003 Mr. and Mrs. Miller are retired in Waterloo .


The redecorating and recarpeting of the sanctuary was completed during Rev. Miller’s ministry.  During that time services were held in Fellowship Hall.  One of the first services in the redecorated sanctuary was communion on Christmas Eve.  Ruth Richardson recalls his cautioning the congregation not to drop candle wax on the new carpet.


Rev. Miller was very independent.  One parish member recalls that he drove himself to and from Omaha for gallbladder surgery.  Rev. Miller is most remembered for his caring visitations to persons who were ill or bereaved.  In 2003, two of his daughters are still living in Clarinda, Rose Almquist, and Cathy Miller.


After leaving Clarinda the Millers served a pastorate in Cedar Rapids .  Rev. Miller retired in 1998.

1987-91 Richard C. Quinlan



Rev. Quinlan joined the Methodist Church in South Carolina .  Prior to coming to Clarinda he served churches in Olanta, Isle of Palms, and Pinopolis S.C., and Iowa churches in Minburn, Waukee, Maple Groove-Boonville, Iowa City, Sac City and Ottumwa.


Mrs. (Yvonne) Quinlan accepted the presidency of UMW in order to keep the organization going when no one else was available to lead the group.


From Clarinda the Quinlans moved to a church in Ottumwa and retired in 1994.  As a part of the 150th anniversary celebration, Rev. Quinlan was the guest minister at the church service on May 18, 2003.  He and Mrs. Quinlan provided special music.

1991-1998 Emmanuel R. Dass



Rev. Dass had served as an associate chaplain and associate professor at Murry College in Sialkot , Pakistan .  In 1978 he was an associate minister for the Batangas Church of Christ in the Phillipines.  He served the Asian American Church in Dallas , Texas and in 1987 transferred to the Iowa Conference.  Prior to coming to Clarinda, he was pastor in Everly-Spencer.


During his ministry in Clarinda, Rev. Dass was popular as a marriage counselor.  Several couples in the community praise him for the services he provided during a difficult time.


Rev. Dass was scholarly and protective of the sacredness of the sanctuary.  Mary Cahill recalls one time when there was to be a style show for a Mother/Daughter Banquet.  Plans had been made to hold it in the sanctuary.  The east side room could be used for dressing.  The participants could exit down the long church aisle so everyone would have a good view.  The day of the event, Rev. Dass called Mary into the office and expressed his feeling that the Sanctuary could not be used in that manner.  He felt the sanctuary was sacred, dedicated to duty for a religious purpose.  The style show use would open the way for other worldly uses.  Mary says that from the experience she learned to take all things to God in prayer and check with your minister first.


Mary Cahill also recalled a special Christmas when Rev. Dass had asked her to decorate Fellowship Hall to celebrate Jesus’ Birthday and provide refreshments for the Sunday school children.  The posts were wrapped with red, green and white crepe paper clear to the ceiling.  From post to post a large sign hung clear across the room that said “Happy Birthday Jesus”.  A complete manger scene was set up on the floor on the south side of Fellowship Hall.  There were three wise men, shepherds, Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.  Everyone was served birthday cake and punch.  Candy canes were handed out with the legend: the three small stripes are for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the large stripe was the life of Jesus that he gave for us.  The candy cane was a double gift, a sweet treat and a symbol of Christmas.


The Dass family moved from Clarinda to a pastorate in Newton and Sheldon.  In March 2003, they were recently appointed to Trinity United Methodist Church in Keokuk.