CLEARFIELD UNITED METHODIST CHURCH HISTORY
(Updated December 2006)
Methodism in the Clearfield Community is 125 years old in 2007. The first of the churches was dedicated in the spring of 1883, after being built and used in the year before. The building was used for 20 years and a second church was then dedicated in February, 1903. The brick church that most of us are familiar with was dedicated in 1910.
In 1875 or before, a rural schoolhouse was built about 1 ˝ miles east of where Clearfield stands and was called “Moffett School.” A preacher named Caldwell, came on alternate Sunday afternoons from nearby Mt Ayr to Moffett School and Bethel on east. Families joining this group were W.D. Richards, Aaron Nash, Milo Witter Sr., Lon Swartwood, Jim Elwell, Frank Bennett, and Mrs. Lizzie Utter, Moffetts, Nevills and Cochrans. This group came to town, as the town was platted in August of 1881, during the winter of 1881 and 1882 and the services were held in the Hardware Store of Sowers and Carson. This stood on the N.W. corner of mainstreet where the Doctor/Dentist office was in later years. Planks were placed on nail kegs of the hardware store for seating. A school of 100 was soon meeting there.
When the church was dedicated on September 18, 1883, Clearfield became part of a circuit with Lenox and Calvary Churches and remained so until the Conference of 1889 when a new circuit was composed of Clearfield, Calvary and Highland Churches. The Kent Church was included later. There have been 4 church buildings. The first, a one room frame building built in 1882. It was torn down in 1902 and the material used in the building of the second church which cost $5,950.00.
This church burned near midnight on December 23rd, 1909. Services were held in the United Presbyterian and Baptist churches until the new brick church was dedicated on November 27, 1910. The building committee C. W. Edwards, R.E. Busby and Fred Rood. Total cost was about $12,000.00. Mrs. John Reed is said to have attended all 3 church dedications. The people from Grant Center church in Ringgold County joined us in 1924. Greenwood Church came to us in 1927 and people from Calvary Church in 1951. Many people, including some of us today, have special memories of the “old brick church.” Some of these being…
Box suppers, Mother/Daughter and Father/Son banquets, the old “outhouse”, the old pump north of the church, renovation of the kitchen,
Water in the basement, heavy rolling doors in east room, orchestra, cradle roll and certificates, Christmas/Easter cantata’s and the January auction to raise money. Due to the condition and cost of repair, a new church was proposed and on August 31, 1986 a ground breaking ceremony was held with Rev. Bill Cotton in attendance. The new church building was under the guidance of Pastor Duane Ferguson and Leroy Beggs, Ad. Bd. Chair and construction was soon under way. This new church building was dedicated on July 26, 1987. The first church service was held in the new church Memorial weekend, 1987. A lot of fellowship, laughter, prayer, healing, love and memories are framed in this building! As soon as the church was completed, at a cost of around $130.000.00, it was decided to begin the addition of an Education Wing. The Sunday School addition was dedicated on September 25, 1988. The only addition since that time was a bathroom in the south wing, given by memorial money of the Paul England Family. This brings us to the year 2007, which we anticipate and will celebrate 125 years of Methodism in this community.
TIMELINE FOR CLEARFIELD UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
1771 – First Methodist missionaries sent to America
December 24, 1784 – Baltimore “Christmas Conference” the first organizing conference. Asbury ordained bishop: church was named the “Methodist Episcopal Church”
1830 – Reform minded group left MEC and started the Methodist Protestant Church.
1845 – Slavery issue caused another split resulting in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
1939 – MEC, MEC South and MPC reunited to form the Methodist Church. (April 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren merged with the Methodist Church to form the United Methodist Church.)
1881-1882 – Group meets east of Clearfield in the country and moves into town during the winter to Sowers/Carson Hardware store.
1882 – The framed wooden building is constructed on a purchased lot in Clearfield Iowa.
September, 1883 – The first Methodist church building was dedicated.
1902 – The first church was torn down to build a larger Methodist church using material from old Methodist church.
1904 – Ladies Aid Societies were recognized officially.
February 1903 – Second church was dedicated at a cost of $5,950.00
Near midnight, December 23, 1909 – church burned to ground. Services
held at United Presbyterian and Baptist churches.
November 27, 1910 – The third church (brick) is dedicated at a cost of
1921 – The Wesleyan Service Guild is organized for working women of the homes.
1922 – Highland church people joined the Methodist group in Clearfield.
1923 – People from the Grant Center church in Ringgold County joined the Methodists in Clearfield. Helen Lyddon remembers the “Standard
Bearers” youth group about this time.
1927 – Some Baptists and the Greenwood church people joined the Methodists. Epworth League, & MYF were youth organizations in these years.
1951 – Some from Calvary church joined the Methodists in Clearfield.
1957 – 75th anniversary celebration.
1964 – United Presbyterian Church closed and some joined the Methodist Church.
1968 – The Methodist and EUB churches became the United Methodist Church. W.S.C.S (Women’s Society of Christian Service) is formed.
1977 – The women’s organizations in the United Methodist church merge to form one inclusive organization with the name “UMW.” (United Methodist Women.)
1982 – The town celebrates 100 years and the church is also100 years old.
August 31, 1986 – The present church has ground breaking ceremony.
Memorial weekend, 1987 – first church service held in the new church.
July 26, 1987 – Present church had dedication service.
September 25, 1988 – Dedication of Education Wing of present church.
1992 – 110 year celebration, a church cookbook was made.
Most recent District Superintendent’s
Rev. Melvin Ammon (present)
Rev. Charles Luers
Rev. Tompsie Smith
Rev. Bill Cotton
Rev. Richard Phalzgraff
Living Pastors at this time, January 2007.
Darrell Boe (Assistant Pastor to Gerry Kahler 2005)
(Ron Carlson assistant to Gerry Kahler 2006)
Helen Brown (wife of LaMonte Brown)