Sunday, Sept.20 festivities begin with a buckwheat breakfast at 8:30 a.m., worship at 10:30 a.m., lunch at noon and a program at 1:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend all events and share their memories with the everyone.
The History of the First Methodist of Elberon, Iowa, was not unlike the history of every Protestant church in our land. It had a small beginning. A few families, with the love of God in their hearts and a feeling of need for Him, met in each other homes on Sunday afternoons, to read the Bible and hear the Word of God. The year was 1883.
As they grew in numbers, there was need for a larger meeting place when they were able to obtain the school house located on the west edge of the village. Ministers from adjoining towns came to lead them in their worship services. In 1884 the Elberon Methodist Church came in to being.
The Rev. Asa Critchfield was appointed preacher in charge of the newly formed congregation and traveled from Irving where he lived. He was succeeded in October, 1884 by the Rev. Alonzo Camp, who served one year.
At the fourth quarterly conference held in August 1884, the following trustees were elected as the church and parsonage trustees of the Elberon Church property: N. L. Brown, Amos Rogers, George Spencer, R. Parsons, Lewis Heaton, M. J. Hammond and J. M. Kinner. Today, great granddaughters of one of the original trustees, Lewis Heaton, are still residents of Elberon, Carol Hoyt and Miva Derby.
In either 1886 or 1887 the parsonage at Irving was sold for $195 and the one at Elberon was built at the cost of $800, probably in 1887 because it was that year that the lot was deeded to the M. E. Church by the Milwaukee Land Co, The next Conference 1887, appointed H. H. Barton to the Elberon Circuit and the name was changed to Elberon Circuit on November 14, 1885. Oct. 2, 1889, W. S. Dorwin was appointed and remained for one year. During his one year pastorate, the church at Elberon was built. P. W. Gould came to the work in Oct. 1890 and the church was dedicated to the Glory of God, Nov 9th the same year.
J. L. Beatty was next appointed to Elberon who in 1893 organized a Sunday School at Irving and Sunday School and Epworth League at Elberon.
In 1893 Brother W. E. Van Buren was appointed to the Elberon charge and remained until 1897. During his time of service the Dryden Church (north of Elberon in Benton County) was sold leaving only Elberon and Irving.
In 1902 a church was built at Clutier making a third point to the charge.
In 1908 the Rev. M. L. Hill found the work at Clutier had been abandoned for nearly a year. This relation remained until 1909 when new members moved away and the residents were mostly Catholics. Upon the instructions of the Quarterly Conference, the trustees sold the property to the Catholics in May of 1909, leaving Elberon and Irving.
The Reverends Vondracek, Lovdsky, Hrejsa and F. J. Javodsky came from Cedar Rapids to preach to the Czech people fom 1907 to 1909.
In 1921, a number of the Methodist members dug a basement under the church which added to improvements over the years. When the Church was built and dedicated there was no alter rail or pulpit, Just a platform across the front of the church. Since then a little furnishings were added, gas furnace, air conditioning, hot water, organ, fold-doors, tile floor is added to the auditorium, modern rest rooms, a furnished kitchen, worship center in the basement.
Rev. Milo Smith was the last minister to live in the Elberon Parsonage. Unable to get a full-time minister any longer, the house was rented out, and in 1966 was sold for $2,250. In June of 1961, Dysart and Elberon were made one charge, with Rev. Roy Biesemeyer as pastor, residing in the Dysart parsonage. Rev. Roger Tappmeyer came to serve Elberon in 1971, as pastor of Van Horne-Elberon charge and Elberon shared pastors with Van Horne until they were made a four-charge church with Blairstown, Elberon, Norway and Van Horne with two pastors, Norm Bennett and Jena Manchester.
Down through the years the ladies of the church have been an active part in the service of the Church. It was back in 1886 that the ladies organized “The Ladies Sewing Society.”Their purpose was to help liquidate the debt on the church on the church organ and Sunday School expense. One of their first project was an Oyster Supper and it was a great success.
The first reorganization came in 1889. The “Willing Workers” sewed and worked to purchased new chandeliers and side lamps for the church and expenses of the church. This was their first fundraiser. Since then they have sewed and worked to help with general expenses of the church.
From 1914 to 1940 these ladies were known as the Ladies Aid Society.
In 1940 their name was changed to Women’s Society of Christian service (WSCS). They served a fall supper for many years, and in 1968 they decided to try a rummage sale along with the Methodist Men’s Annual Auction. This was a hugh sucess.The women have also held Guest Day, which all parishneers in the surrounding towns were invited for a salad lunch.
They served at the Belle Plaine Sales Barn and farm sales lunches. In 1973 the name was changed of the womens organization to the “United Methodist Women” (UMW). which they continued with the rummage sale and chicken noodle dinners. The rummage sale was discontinued but chicken noodles dinners were served until September, 2004.
Over the years they sewed baby layettes, Johnny coats, rolled bandages, made lap robes for the care center in the community and quilts and afghans for sale at the fall auctions. collected stamps, eye glasses, coupons and more.
For the Quest Day the ladies invited ladies of other churches for a salad luncheon and speakers. This started in 1975 was held until 1995.
The United Methodist Women was disbanded in October, 2006, because most church women were younger and had a day time job.
The ladies also met in different home for the Maggie Wilson Circle to raised money for missions and help church’s benevolence quota and to beneficial to the church.This also was disbanded many years ago.
Methodist Men were organized April 5, 1957, by layman Norman L. Kauble.They do not meet regularly but once a year they had the Annual Auction in the fall to raised money to help with fuel bill and other expenses of the church. They do not meet now and now longer have the auction sale.
Today, The Elberon United Methodist Church has Bible School in July of each year and Kids hangout after school on Monday nights at 4:00. for all the young people in the vicinity.
Elberon United Methodist Church will be celebrating their 125th Anniversary, Saturday, September 19th with a Parade at 3 pm, Games 4 pm and Ice Cream Social 5 pm (free will donation). River’s Voice will be performing with an outside concert at 6:00. weather permitting. Rough seating is provided. Feel free to bring a lawn chair if you wish. If it rains, the concert will be moved into the church.
Sunday, Sept.20th they will start their festivities with a buckwheat breakfast at 8:30, worship at 10:30, lunch at 12:00 and a program at 1:30. Everyone is invited to attend all events and share their memories with the everyone.
Elberon United Methodist Church
TO GO INFO:
What:125th anniversary observance for Elberon United Methodist Church
When:Sat & Sun, Sept. 19 & 20
Saturday-parade, games, ice cream, music
Sunday-pancake breakfast, worship service, lunch, program
Where: At Church