Rossville United Methodist Church is a Century Old

Dublin Core


Rossville United Methodist Church is a Century Old


Top photo by Belinda Parnell: Former Ministers (or their spouses) attended the worship service and celebration at the Rossville United Methodist Church. Pictured left to right are: Deborah Ackman, Topeka, who served the church prior to Mr. Buss; the Reverend Jean Marie Grabher, District Superintendent; the Reverend Larry Buss, minister; Mrs. Karen Barnes Baker, Baldwin City (widow of Max Barnes who served the church in 1968); and Mrs. Don (Elly) Jones, Columbus, Ohio, whose husband was minister from 1949 to 1964.
Bottom photo by Belinda Parnell
Honored for 50 years or more membership in the Rossville United Methodist Church's Centennial Celebration Sunday, June 14, were, L-R, seated -- Ruth Page, Halcia Cerny, Golda Cottle, Esther Sebring. Standing -- Nellie Countryman and Phil Hartzel.
Rossville United Methodist Church is a Century Old
by Merle Bird, Member of Church
The last half of the story on Rossville United Methodist Church was omitted from last week’s paper. We are printing the entire story this week.
The names on copies of the old charter are barely discernible: W.G. Gilbert, Isaac Lawrence, Joseph Andrews, J.W. Miller, A.E. Strimple, J.T. Heslet, T.M. Attebury.
They didn’t mark the beginning of Methodist thought in Rossville, but the incorporators of the Rossville Methodist Episcopal Church did set in motion a sequence of events that continues today.
The church -- now the Rossville United Methodist Church -- is as uncertain of the future as it was on, June 13, 1881.
Could W.G. Gilbert have foreseen the day when dams would span the major tributaries of the mighty Kaw, reducing the frequency and magnitude of major floods?
Could Isaac Lawrence have guessed that within 100 years a man would be able to leave Rossville in the morning and eat dinner in New York that same night?
Did Joseph Andrews envision huge sprinklers striding across the valley of the Kaw, providing moisture to thirsty crops when rain was not forthcoming?
At the time of incorporation, not one of these men had seen an electric light, or a motorcar, or an airplane, or a movie; had heard neither radio nor telephone nor rock music.
The world has changed, and the church has changed. Rossville has changed, as has its people.
Frank Hoyes was pastor in 1872, the record shows -- nine years before the church’s incorporation. Then came the Reverend Green, and E.F. Holland and R.L. McNabb, before L.C. Biggs came in 1880. He still was here in 1881, when the church was incorporated.
W.G. Campbell served in 1882.
In 1883, Calvin Holman served. That name was to return to Rossville, borne by another man.
So the church grew. The growth sometimes was in physical plant: Property was purchased in 1884, a building was started in late summer, and completed in 1885. J.W. Clock was pastor then.
The congregation paid all but $500 or $600 of the construction cost, and a little over a year after dedication, the building was free and clear. The Ladies Aid society helped: the women raised $500 the year it was built. That started a fund-raising tradition that continues to this day.
The women started another tradition in 1886, when the first Election Day Dinner was served.
More physical growth occurred nine years later, when the south addition was made. A large Gothic stained glass window replaced the door in the east end of the sanctuary, and another was placed in the south side of the addition.
The Ladies Aid Society didn't have a basement for the Election Day Dinner. The Young Men’s Sunday School Class remedied that in 1915. Under the direction of their teacher, they dug the basement, poured concrete floor and walls and installed a furnace.
The education wing was added and dedicated in 1960. The cost was $5,100.00 in money and a priceless amount of work by members of the congregation.
More followed. Dean Page and some men from the Menninger Foundation poured the sidewalk in 1966. A new, $1,005.00 roof was put on in 1969.
In 1973, a flood wrecked the basement and its contents, again requiring the expenditure of dollars and energy.
The basement again had to be repaired in 1980, when termite damage necessitated replacing termite-infested beams and posts with steel. The congregation took the opportunity to remodel the kitchen.
Changes in the world around us prompted additional changes in the church: higher heating and cooling costs (the seven signers might have snorted at the idea of cooling the church in the summer) and an increased awareness of the limits of our resources argued for insulating the walls and covering the stained glass windows with transparent plastic.
The Women’s Foreign Missionary Society was organized in 1910, merged with the Aid Society in 1940 to become the Women’s Society of Christian Service, which itself became United Methodist Women in 1973.
Ministers came and went, each having his (or her) effect, each giving and receiving from the members of the congregation.
Calvin Holman, grandson of the Calvin Holman who was pastor in 1883, was pastor during his senior year at Washburn University in 1910, and remained another year.
He eventually wound up in California, where he would start what would become the largest congregation in the Pacific- Southwest Conference, and be named senior pastor of the conference.
And where he still lives, 70 years after having served the Rossville congregation.
Many members of the congregation remember Don Jones, who became pastor in 1949 and served without interruption until 1964. Then came Clyde Noyce, Max Barnes and Paul B. Mitchell.
William E. Hurtig came in 1974 and remained until the Silver Lake-Rossville charge split in 1976. Deborah K. Ackman served in 1977 and 1978, and the current pastor, Larry D. Buss has served since 1979.
The story should go on endlessly, because the lives of each member, each family, each pastor are so interwoven that no one can tell where the influence of one ends and that of another begin. Together, they are part of a tapestry that extends back in time beyond the signing of the charter, beyond the arrival of Methodism in America beyond the beginning of Methodism itself, beyond Christ to the Israelites in the land of milk and honey, and even beyond that!
The rest of the tapestry is being woven today. The members of the congregation, their families and their pastor are part weaver, part thread, part observer. And what the future of the tapestry is, only the Master Weaver knows for sure.


St. Marys Star, St. Marys, Kansas


Rossville Community Library


June 23, 1981


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