History Highlights of the church
Our church was organized in Van Wert County on June 10, 1843, with twelve members who held public services at the court house. Van Wert was a village with log homes, a junction of two well traveled paths which past giant trees and extended through the bogs of the Great Black Swamp. The church’s development and growth was identical with the growth and expansion of the community at that time.
Members sometimes found sermons indigestible and took violent issue with the minster and his interpretation of scripture. Part of these early years, the pastor was shared with the Decatur, Indiana church. From 1845 with 23 members, our church went without a regular pastor for seven years. Services were held within a log cabin until 1847 when the congregation was granted use of the Methodist Church every two weeks. In 1852, Rev. Thomas Elcock, a circuit rider from Delphos, became our first regular pastor.
The land was purchased in 1853 on the southwest corner of Main and Harrison where this conventional church still stands. The original cost was $3,000.
By 1861 our church was debt free. Little is known of the civil war era outside of some of our members serving. The Church reprimanded members for such things as unjust treatment of one’s wife, excessive drinking, non-payment of just debts, and poor church attendance.
In 1873 the first church structure was built at our church’s current location of Washington and W. Crawford. Many members were opposed to the construction. The flood of 1913 would have left the church with damage.
By their fifty year anniversary, the longest serving pastor would have been Rev. James Gordon from 1890 to 1913 with 380 members. In 1892 a pipe organ was installed. During the era, our choir became very renown through the region. A number of members left in 1898 to serve in the Spanish American War. By 1899 our church sponsored Rev. Rees Edwards who was a missionary in China for forty years.
Prior to WWI, the church was preparing to build a new structure by purchasing additional land, plans drawn, and finance arranged. By 1918 during the 75th anniversary, membership was at 519. With the war ending and Rev. George Frantz starting his tenure in 1918, the church was torn down by 1922 with services meeting for three years within the YMCA. Boy Scout Troop 35 started within our church during this same time.
Near 2006, when a neighboring church closed its doors, the estate of a local farmer made it possible to create our current parking lot. Since 2010, continued generosity through estate giving made it possible for our most recent three year building maintenance update.
Today, our church makes up a typical cross section of our community. Membership is equally respectful of those worshiping in jeans and a sweat shirt as those in more formal dress. Commonality in love for our Lord and Savior extends an atmosphere that all are welcome.