MAPLEWOOD — It’s going to be a golden day at the Maplewood United Methodist Church on Sunday, June 26. The congregation will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the building where members go to worship each week.
At 9:30 a.m., a historical presentation about the church and the Methodist religion will be presented.
“Bernard Clinehens will be doing the historical portion,” said Pastor William Halter. “He will talk about how Methodists came to this part of Shelby County.”
There have been 13 pastors who have served at the new church since 1966, said Halter. All of them have been invited to the celebration. Pastors at the church include Harold Kochersperger, Bryon Burtke, Joseph Bailey, James Laughrey, Richard Hartlerode, Rich Thewlis, Mark Thompson, Joyce Gensib, Jeffrey Johnson, David Clem, Barbara Staley, Deb Campbell and Halter.
All couples who were married in the church have also been invited. The first two married couples in the new church were Grover and Lorma Sherer Baber and Thomas and Virginia Clark Lochard. There have been 25 weddings performed at the church since 1966.
The oldest male member of the congregation is Bernard Clinehens. Kate Clark is the oldest female member of the church.
The first child to be baptized in the new church was Daniel Alan Dohse, son of Max and Pam Dohse. Pastor Harold Kochersperger baptized him on April 3, 1966.
The Miami Valley District Superintendent Bishop Gregory Palmer of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church has also been invited.
During the 10:30 worship service, said Halter, any previous pastors in attendance will be invited to speak to the congregation. Holy communion will be given with a guest presenter.
“During the regular sermon, I will give the state of address of the church, part 14,” said Halter.
Mike Mitchell, a member of the church, will also be recognized as he begins his call to service as pastor of the DeGraff United Methodist Church on July 3.
“Mike grew up here, moved away and came back several years ago,” said Halter. “He’s been wrestling with his call to ministry for 25 years. He’s been involved with the lay leadership here.”
Special music will be performed during the service, said Halter. A catered meal to celebrate the occasion will be held following the service.
“This will be a great time for all of us to get together,” said Halter. “There will be a gift for anyone who attends.”
There are around 95 members of the church, said Halter.
Maplewood United Methodist Church can trace its roots back to 1842.
“The church was indentured in1842 when trustees formed to see a church constructed,” said Bernard Clinehens. “The first pastor of the church was in 1860. We believe the church was constructed earlier and it was west of town in the country.
“In 1880, the church was moved to the west end of Maplewood,” he said. The Old Salem Church was built for $600.
“In 1901 or 1902, another church was built in front of this one, but it was of a different faith,” said Clinehens. “In 1933, it (Bethel Reformed) disbanded and the Methodists purchased the church.”
Charles and Grace Andrews purchased the land where the present church is built.
In 1966, members of the congregation made the decision to build a new church. The old church, he said, had no indoor facilities.
“We debated what to do,” said Clinehens. “We learned we could build a new church of $40,000.”
On June 26, 1966, the first service was held in the new church.
The bell that rings at the church is the same bell which was in the church that was torn down when the new one was built. The pulpit furniture was built by Ralph Zimpher, a member of the church.
The pulpit and altar also came from from the church they congregation was in from 1933 to 1966 when the new church was built.
The big stained glass window is also from the other church.
“They were sold at public auction, said Clinehens. “Mildred Young (member of the church) had asked what had happened to the window.”
Clinehens was able to trace one of the windows to a trophy business on North Dixie Highway. Another window was found in a garage and Clinehens was able to purchase it for the church.
The new church in 1966 had an inside bathroom, hot and cold running water, a separate Sunday school room and a kitchen.
Halter said there’s been a revival in smaller churches throughout the Methodist religion.
“They are the root of our conference,” said Halter. Seventy-one percent of the conferences funds come from small congregations.
“In Shelby County, our small churches are pretty strong,” said Halter, who also serves as pastor for Lockington United Methodist Church.
He is a dual career pastor — he was a teacher at Riverside Schools until he retired and also served as pastor at Maplewood. He attended the seminary for 10 years to become and ordained pastor. He graduated last year.
Mike Mitchell, said Halter, will be a part-time local pastor. He will “work as a tent maker” for the church, he said, and continue working at Honda of America.
Kris Geise has also answered a call to ministry, he said. Two others are also pursuing a full or part-time call to ministry.
“Kris has no seminary background,” said Halter. “It’s amazing what you can do with life experiences.”
Clinehens, who has attended services in all three buildings, and his wife, Phyllis, were married in the old church.
“My grandfather was a minister in the old church on the other side of town,” said Mrs. Clinehens. “They had one daughter. I grew up here and I was gone for eight years, I had no intention of ever coming back to Maplewood.”
She was attending school in Colorado. At the time, Clinehens was the assistant postmaster and her father had gone to the post office to mail her a package. Clinehens wrote down her address and the pair started corresponding.
She moved back to Ohio where she taught home economics at Carey Schools.
“I knew I needed a farmer’s wife,” he said.
And the rest is church history. The pair got married and had three children, Jennifer and David Moser, of Bluffton, Brent and Lori Clinehens, of Maplewood, and Brad and Juanita Clinehens, of Tampa Florida. They have two grandchildren and five stepgrandchildren.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.