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Loving Chapel United Methodist Church
Leon, Iowa

THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL SOCIETY

The Methodist Episcopal Society is the oldest in Leon. The first class was formed February 14, 1851, at JOHN JORDAN'S house, in Eden Township,with these seven members: JOHN PATTERSON and wife, WILLIAM BURT and wife, ABNER HARBOUR, ISHMAEL BARNES and LEVI CLARK. MR. JORDAN and wife retained their membership in a church south of the Missouri line, but after a time joined the little band of worshipers at Leon. MRS. WILLIAM MCELVAIN joined a month after the organization. For eight years meetings were held in private houses, principally in that of JOHN PATTERSON, who continued as leader of the class for thirty-five years, only giving up the position early in 1886. In 1859 the present house of worship was built, at a cost of $1,500. It was used for some years as a public-school building, and when after this it was repaired and refitted, the added cost was $800. The following is a list of the pastors who have been in charge, with years of service:

REVS. JOHN RALLS, 1855-'6; J.L. SIMMS, 1856-'7; JOHN DAIR, 1857-'8; JACOB DELAY, 1858-'60; D. WILLIAMS, 1860-'1; SAMUEL FARLOW, 1861-'3; BENJAMIN SHINN, 1863-'4; J.R. CAREY, 1864-'5; DAVID O. STUART, 1865-'6; WILLIAM HESSWOOD, 1866-'7; GEORGE P. BENNETT, 1867-'9; RICHARD THORNBURG, 1869-'70; J.C.R. LAYTON, 1870-'2; S. GUIRE, 1872-'3; WILSON, 1873-'5; A.P. HULL, 1875-'7; D.M. MCINTIRE, 1877-'9; WILLIAM PLESTED, 1879-'80; A. BROWN, 1880-'3; W.H. SHIPMAN, 1883-'6.

J.F. PENNIWELL is superintendent of the Sunday-school, which has an attendance of 150. The membership of the church is not far from 180.

SOURCE: "Churches." Biographical and Historical Record of Ringgold and Decatur Counties, Iowa. Lewis Pub. Co. 1887.

Copied by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert

The Leon Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
July, 1888, Page 1

CORNERSTONE LAID.

The corner stone of the new M. E. church was laid with appropriate ceremonies, which were conducted by Presiding Elder Martin, assisted by a number of other ministers. There was a large crowd in attendance at the exercises, many being members of the first M. E. church in Leon. Uncle Johnnie Patterson was unable to be present, but his wife was there, just as she was nearly thirty years ago at a similar service just across the street.

The box which was deposited in the corner stone contained a condensed history of the church at Leon, names of all the pastors who have served the church here, names of Sunday school Superintendents, names of class leaders, names of stewards, names of trustees, copy of the Bible, copy of church hymnal, copy of church discipline, copies of the Central Christian Advocate, Leon Methodist, Weldon Methodist, Leon Day Spring, Leon Reporter, Leon Journal, Leon Fact, Saint's Herald, Autumn Leaves, Davis City Advance, Garden Grove Express, Lamoni Gazette and The Armory.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2015

Leon Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
Thursday, January, 1889

The windows for the new M. E. church have arrived and are in their places and they are beauties. There are several memorial windows. The one "In loving remembrance of John Patterson" is placed at the right hand of the pulpit, where this good old father of the church always sat. There is one "In Respect To" (which will some day be changed to "In Loving Remembrance of") William and Elizabeth Loving." There are two donated by the G. A. R. of this place, also one given by the travelingmen who visit this town and who have thus earned the right to feel particularly at home in this beautiful little church. Many of the windows have very handsome floral designs and all are in the best of taste.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2015

Decatur County Journal
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
Thursday, March 21, 1889

The Elegant New Methodist Church
Dedicated to Divine Services.

____________

Bishop W.X. Ninde, of Topeka, Preaches the Dedicatory Sermon.

____________

A $12,000 Structure Free From Debt.

____________

On the 14th day of February, 1851, a Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in Leon. The original members were but seven, none of them blessed with much riches, and for the first eight years they were unable to have any church building, but by the year 1859 they had grown until they were able to erect what was then considered a very handsome and commodious structure. For more than thirty years this building has served as a church home for the Methodists of Leon. For the past few years, however, they have realized that the building was not sufficient for their needs, and in 1887, under the direction of REV. C.L. NYE--then Pastor--steps were taken to raise the necessary funds. The fall conference removing MR. NYE to another field, the matter was then dropped until last summer, when a committee was appointed to raise the necessary funds. A little over $5,000 was raised, and UNCLE BILLY and AUNT BETTY LOVING gave an equal amount, only stipulating that they receive 6 percent interest during life. Work was accordingly begun and went steadily forward and the building was completed ready for occupancy about a week ago. The building is of the modern form of church architecture, being built in the form of a Greek Cross. The main room is 30x50 feet, with transepts 15x30 feet and a class-room on the north end 10x22 feet. The transepts may also be enclosed by sliding doors and made with the most comfortable of opera chairs, and the floor gradually rising as it approaches the rear affords a good view of the pulpit from any part of the house.

Sunday, March 17th, was the day set for the formal dedication of this beautiful and commodious structure. The weather was very unfavorable, a slight drizzling rain prevailing all the morning, but notwithstanding this fact, by the time the hour arrived for beginning the services the church was crowded, many being in from the country. The church was beautifully decorated for the occasion and a large congregation attended each of the services.

At half past 10 o'clock the services were opened by a scripture reading by Bishop Ninde, and after the ordinary opening exercises, participated in by REVS. JEFFREY, NOERR and MILLER, the dedicatory sermon was preached by the Bishop. Of the sermon it is sufficient to say that it was one worthy of one of the most scholarly Bishops of the great Methodist Church of the United States. We shall not attempt any criticism or review of it, for we should be unable to do it justice.

After the sermon the treasurer of the church stated that they needed $1,600 to make the church free from debt, and an opportunity was given for subscriptions by the congregation. After $800 was subscribed, REV. MCINTYRE announced on the part of UNCLE BILLY and AUNT BETTY LOVING that they would give all of the $5,000 reserving only one year's interest. This generous gift wiped out the entire debt and left a handsome surplus for fixing up the grounds. [The total cost of the church was $9,825.94.]

The money matters having been adjusted the dedicatory exercises were then proceeded with according to the beautiful and impressive form of the denomination, conducted by Bishop Ninde, and the congregation was dismissed.

At 3 o'clock in the afternoon the congregation again assembled and listened to a very able and eloquent discourse by the Rev. D. Austin, of Chariton.

Again at half past 7 a large congregation was present at the evening service. The large audience-room, lighted by twenty-four electric lights looked even more beautiful than in the morning.

The sermon was preached by Rev. Emory Miller D.D., of Indianola. Dr. Miller is perhaps the ablest and most eloquent preacher in the Des Moines Conference and the sermon was one of his best.

Altogether Sunday, March 17, 1889, was a day of memorable interest in the annals of Methodism in Leon, and also in the history of the town. The exercises were interesting not only in themselves, but as marking the opening to public use of the first really imposing public edifice in Leon. That it may also mark a new era of progress in the church and that it may grow and prosper as it never has in the past, is the sincere wish of all the citizens of Leon and Decatur County.

Without the liberal generosity of UNCLE BILLY LOVING the church would probably not have been built, this year, at least. His $5,000 gift is one which will cause his name to be remembered by future generations in a manner honorable to him, as a man and a Christian. Neither do we think that it will fail of recognition in the next world.

Among the out of town visitors who were in attendance were: Rev. and Mrs. D. McIntyre, of Osceola, Rev. and Mrs. D. Autin, of Chariton, Bishop Ninde, of Topeka, Kansas, Rev. Emory Miller, of Indianola, Rev. Wood, of Mt. Ayr, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Ketcham, of Garden Grove, and others.

Copied by Nancee (McMurtrey) Seifert

NOTE: Loving Chapel United Methodist Church is listed on the National Registry of Historical Places.

The Leon Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
April 10, 1890

The old people's meeting at the M. E. church last Sunday morning was the best service we ever attended in the new church. It was something like old-fashioned Methodism, and more of such meetings would be a spiritual blessing, at least to the church. The church was appropriately decorated for the occasion, one side of the pulpit being the vacant chair of Uncle John Patterson, containing the old Bible, and on the other side was a life-like picture of Elder A. Brown. The pastor, Rev. A. T. Jeffrey, had one of the old-fashioned wooden candle sticks used by Uncle John Patterson at this place when the church was first organized. Out of the eleven charter members of the class first organized in Leon, Aunty Patterson is the only one living in Leon. We understand that only three of the eleven are now living, all the others having gone to their Heavenly reward in the Land of the Leal. The texts and addresses of Rev. Jeffrey were timely and well received, as were the talks of old fathers Evans, Halderman and Eaton.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2015.

Leon Reporter, Leon Iowa
Thursday, December 6, 1900

The Ladies' Guild assisted by the young ladies will give an orange social at the M.E. Church next Tuesday evening, Dec. 11. The program will consist of music and biographical sketches arranged in the form of a contest.

At the door each gentleman will receive a rose containing the name of the lady who will assist him in guessing the sketches. Branches of artificial oranges will be given to the successful contestants. All who wish to join the contest are requested to bring pencil and paper. Admission 15 cents, including light refreshments, children under ten years of age, 10 cents. The following is the program:

Organ Voluntary...........MISS GRACE MORRILL
Duet......... MESDAMES STEPHEN & DAUGHERTY
Novelist.....MISS ETHEL CRUICKSHANK
Humorist....MISS MARION STOOKEY
Solo...........MISS NELLIE SHUMWAY
Artist..........MISS CHARLOTTE VOGT
Dramatist....MISS LELAH OSBORN
Duet.......... MISSES TATMAN & METIER
Pianist........ MISS BERTHA SAUNDERS
Philanthropist...........MISS EDITH MCCOY
Solo...........MRS. O.E. HULL
Journalist....MISS BESSIE COWDEN
Evangelist...MISS MAUDE METIER
Male Quartette.....WARNER, CONREY, LINDSEY & TATMAN.

Copied by Nancee (McMurtrey) Seifert, January 14, 2003

Leon Reporter, Leon Iowa
Thursday, October 6, 1904

Dr. A. M. Pilcher

The members of the Leon M.E. Church, while regretting the departure of Rev. I.N. Woodward, are greatly pleased over the assignment of Dr. A.M. Pilcher as pastor of the Leon Church, for they receive one of the ablest ministers and best preachers in the conference, and they are looking forward to a prosperous year with Dr. Pilcher in charge.

Dr. Pilcher was born at Springfield, Illinois, and was educated in that city and at Jacksonville. After completing his education he at once entered the ministry, and held numerous good appointments in Illinois, being chaplain of the state penitentiary at Joliet for three years. He went from Illinois to Wisconsin where he was stationed for nineteen years and was honored with the appointment as Presiding Elder of the Ashland district, in which position he scored a decided success. On account of his health he decided to seek a milder climate, and two years ago he was transferred to the Iowa conference and sent to Afton, where he was very popular with both the church and public in general. He secured the degree of D.D. at the Wesleyan University at Salina, Kansas. He has been in the ministry for thirty-eight and a half years.

Dr. Pilcher's family consists only of his wife, his seven children being all married. Mrs. Pilcher is also an active worker in the church and when occasion demands can preach an excellent sermon, being a polished and well educated lady.

The new minister occupied the pulpit in this city last Sunday, being greeted by a large audience and all who had the pleasure of hearing him were well pleased with his appearance and sermons.

The Afton Star-Enterprise of last week has the following good words for Dr. Pilcher:

Dr. A.M. Pilcher, the well beloved pastor of the local Methodist Church is to be no longer with us. The Atlantic conference which completed its labors Monday of this week gave him a well-merited promotion, both as to importance of assignment and remuneration of filthy lucre. He is to go to the Leon Church and expects to depart for his new field of work the first of next week. He would have undoubtedly gone this week but other charges upon which he depends were delayed on account of sickness, and Afton will once more have the pleasure of listening to a discourse from him on Sunday.

The church to which Dr. Pilcher goes is quite a strong one. It has a membership of 250 and occupies a beautiful brick structure, erected at a cost of $12,000. the building has been recently repainted and the woodwork revarnished and everything put in apple pie order, so that the doctor will step into a live church well organized for the fray. The parsonage has nine rooms and is a large two-story residence adjoining the church. As would be expected his salary at Leon is a material increase over that paid from among us; his friends will rejoice that his new berth holds out so many pleasing possibilities.

Dr. Pilcher in speaking to the editor, paid a high compliment to the local church here. Nowhere, he said, had he ever ministered to a people so thoroughly united as here. Dissention there was none, and his pastorate had been a continual love feast.

Copied by Nancee (McMurtrey) Seifert, July 29, 2003

Stained Glass Windows
of Loving Chapel United Methodist Church

Photographs courtesy of Sharon R. Becker, July of 2013, & Norma G. (Foland) Becker, August of 2013

The Leon Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
Thursday, March 12, 1914

SILVER ANNIVERSARY
Dedicated to Divine Services.

____________

Of the Dedication of the Leon M. E. Church
was Fittingly Observed on Last Sunday.

____________

A $12,000 Structure Free From Debt.

____________

The 25th anniversary of dedication of the Methodist church here, which was observed last Sunday at both morning and evening services will be long remembered by its member and friends as a happy and eventful day. The ladies of the church had decorated the rostrum with flowering plants, ferns, palms, etc., and a design representing the silver anniversary.

At the morning service papers were read as follows: The Erection of this Church," by James F. Penniwell, who was the contractor and builder. We were fortunate in having present another workman also, Mr. Ross Sanders, who oiled and varnished the wood work when the church was built.

Mrs. Marion Stookey read "An Account of the Dedication, March 17th, 1889," taken from the files of The Reporter "A Statement Read March 17th, 1889 at the Dedication Service," was read by Dr. J. W. Rowell. All these papers were full of interest and enjoyed by all.

Letters from early former pastors were read, and eagerly listened to. These brought up memories both pleasant and sad for many were spoken of in them who had passed away. These words of greeting were from Brother W. H. Shipman, who was here as pastor 1883-84; from Brother C. L. Nye, who was here in 1886, and who secured a good start on the raising of the building fund; and from Brother W. G. Honanshelt, who was pastor for three years commencing 1891. Brother and Sister I. R. Atlee, now of Ft. Madison, the former of whom is the only surviving member of the building committee, sent a letter of good wishes.

The anthem and hymn sung by the choir of 25 years ago were very pleasing features of the morning service. There were twelve present, and they sang exceptionally well, Mrs. Mayme Throckmorton of Derby, presided at the old organ which had been moved to its accustomed place in the alcove back of the pulpit.

At the "roll call of those present at the dedication exercises a quarter of a century ago" there were forty-seven stood to their feet. This is rather a remarkable number, and many more expected. Alby Carrithers furnished a splendid cornet solo for the morning program.

In the evening the music was by the regular church choir and an orchestra. Papers were read by Mrs. Fannie Sigler on "A History of the Leon Methodist church from 1851 to 1889," by Mr. T. H. Schenck; "Former Pastors, Presiding Elders and Dates of Service," by Mrs. S. A. Hawkins; "Reminiscences of Aunty Patterson and a Poem," and by the pastor, "A Resolution Dated Nov. 14, 1863" which referred to the stand taken by the Leon church on the slavery question.

Letters were read from Brother Geo. M. Hughes, who preached here four years beginning 1894; from Rev. Geo. Winterbourne, now of Denver, who served the Leon church in 1898; from Brother R. M. Shipman, the son of W. H. Shipman, who filled out the year 1906 when Rev. Mr. Pilcher had to leave because of ill health; from Brother J. L. Boyd who preached here four years commencing 1907; and from Brother E. M. Hoff now of Mountain Groave, Mo. These papers and letters received the close attention they merited.

The weather as pleasant and the congregation large at both these anniversary services. The silver offering to defray repair expenses was generous. There was a fine spirit among the people, and the church looks toward the future with bright prospects and high hopes.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2015

The Leon Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
Thursday, September 16, 1915

A NEW M.E. PASTOR
Rev. Raoul R. Moser, of Dallas Center Comes to Leon
________________

  Rev. Guy J. Fansher, who has been the popular pastor of the Leon N. E. church for the past three years and a half, has been assigned as pastor of the M. E. church at Ogden, in Boone county, for the coming year by the Des Moines Conference, and Rev. Raoul R. Moser, of Dallas Center, will be the new pastor at Leon.

Rev. Fansher has been a very efficient and popular pastor during the time he has been in Leon and is recognized as one of the splendid young preachers in the conference, and his appointment to the Ogden charge comes as a promotion, the salary being $1,300 a year with parsonage, while at Leon he received only $1,000 a year and parsonage. Rev. and Mrs. Fansher have both been instrumental in doing splendid work for the church in Leon, and have made many friends here who regret to see them leave. We can commend them to the good people of Ogden as a most welcome addition to their city.

The Leon church this year raised the pastor's salary from $1,000 to $1,200 and parsonage.

Rev. Raoul R. Moser, the new pastor assigned to the Leon charge, is one of the brightest and most eloquent ministers in the Iowa conference. He has been pastor of the M. E. church at Dallas Center the past year, and in addition to having a splendid reputation as a pastor, he is a lecturer of considerable note.

He was born in Switzerland, where his childhood days were spent. His family consists of his wife and one son, and they are expected in Leon on Saturday evening, and will receive a cordial welcome by the church people and citizens generally of Leon.

We have seen a number of press notices which speak highly of his ability as a preacher and lecturer, as well as a good mixer, one of the kind who is not a believer in long faced christianity. He can laugh, joke and have a good time as well as anyone, and is the better for it.

Here is one comment taken from the Woodbine Twiner:

"Rev. Raoul R. Moser is a preacher, but he doesn't look it. You'd be more apt to pick him up for a common place piano tuner or a box office man in a good moving picture show. We've known him for years and can depose and say that he is a preacher from his toenails up. Another thing, he would never be shot for his good looks, and at times he makes ugly faces at you when he talks from the platform, but he doesn't mean it. Nevertheless, he will keep you looking at him while he is speaking, you can count on that."

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2015

  • History of the Methodist Church, Leon, Iowa, 1964

     

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