Community United Methodist Church turns 50

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Community United Methodist Church

Community United Methodist Church, one mile south of Manila just off Highway 77, turned 50 and has quite a bit of history in its own right.

Community Methodist Church was created when Sunnyland Methodist Church, located in the 16 Community, and St. John's Methodist Church, four miles south of Manila on Highway 77, merged.

Members of the two churches realized they were too small to continue individually but joining together has given them another half century of worship and fellowship.

This house located on Highway 18, on the Boling farm was part of the original Sunnyland United Methodist Church.

In 1963 a plot of land was purchased from Gerald Costner and the two church buildings were moved, joined together and renamed Community United Methodist Church.

St. John's sanctuary became the sanctuary and classrooms for the new church, while Sunnyland's building became the fellowship hall and restrooms.

The fellowship hall and classrooms of Sunnyland were removed from the building with a chainsaw. The portion not moved was to be burned but H.E. Boling acquired the building and moved it to his farm where it still sits today. It has been referred to as the "half-house." Today it is used for a pool house for the grandchildren and a storage area.

The pastor at the time of the merger was Rev. Jack Glass.

The current pastor is Rev. Jerry Pentecost. He was recently appointed to the Manila First Methodist and Community United Methodist churches for a sixth year.

"He, along with his wife, Angela, are a blessing to our community," Lavern Boling, member of Community Methodist Church, said.

Three charter members of the church are still in attendance today. They are Mildred Ramsey, Jean Birmingham and Odeline Ford.

"We have lost several members due to death," Ms. Boling said.

Going through a list of some of the founding fathers of Community Methodist Church, she found several names including Clyde Cook family; W.T. Ramsey family; Wilburn J. Ramsey family; John Williams family; Boyd Atkinson family; H.E. Boling family; J.L. Bollinger; W.E. Shelton family; Jim David family; Peggy Parker; Otto Donner family, Herbert Ketchum family; Alfred Miflin family; and Agnes Fairchild.

"I am sure there are more, but I found these names in some old records," Lavern said.

Through the years the Community Methodist Church has been known for its bake sales held at Easter. It was held through the years in honor of Lorene Shelton who got the Easter bake sale started.

They also participated in community activities such as the chili cook-off. They became known as the Cotton Pickin' Chili Cookers.

"Our pastor at the time was Mike Winberry and he asked us if we could get a team together," Lavern said. "We really enjoyed the years we participated and even won a lot of showmanship trophies."

Community Methodist has services on Sunday morning starting with preaching at 9 a.m. Sunday School follows the worship service.

"We are like a family there," Lavern said. "We get along and support each other."

They also enjoy a potluck supper on the last Saturday night of the month (unless it is a holiday weekend or the weather is bad). The tradition started many years ago and has continued to be a good fellowship. Everyone is always welcome to stop by and enjoy a good meal.

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