Seney Methodist Episcopal Church
The Church, its history in text and pictures
Sioux County Herald, Orange City, (Sioux), Iowa, February 12, 1880,
LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
DEDICATE M. E. CHURCH AT SENEY.
The First Methodist church of Seney was dedicated on Sunday, July 14, and
The sermons on Sunday were preached both morning and evening by the
Ground was broken for the new church, January 22, 1901. The building is of
Submitted by volunteer, Viv Reeves:
LeMars Sentinel, Tuesday, March 3, 1925, Page 1, Column 3 and Page 3, Column 2:
SENEY CHURCH OBSERVES DAY
[This is a nice background piece to the above mention of the Ladies Aid society.]
LeMars Sentinel, Tuesday, May 25, 1886, Page 4, Column 2:
May 2, 1974
Railroad Director Named Seney Donated $1000 and Trees
The church building has stood at Seney, Iowa, and served as the Methodist church since 1881 after a group of some 30 Seney area Christians in 1874 organized into a Methodist class and met at the school east of Seney. The church was incorporated in 1876.
In 1901 a room was added to the structure with the parsonage going up a year later. The basement was dug in 1950 and additional Sunday school rooms added at the basement level along with a hallway and separate stairway and entry in 1967.
Some $1000 of the total $1600 for the initial church building was donated by a director of the Chicago-St. Paul railroad, a man named Seney.
Mr. Seney gave trees to be planted and the area later was named the Seney Grove and used for community events and by many families for years. The village was named after this man.
METHODIST CHURCH AT SENEY WILL CELEBRATE CENTENNIAL AT SUNDAY SERVICES, LOVE-FEAST
Seney United Methodist Church will mark one hundred years of continuous service to the rural community of Seney and north central Plymouth County with special services this Sunday, May 5, 1974.
Rev. Dr. Edwin C. Boulton, administrative assistant to the Bishop of Iowa, James S. Thomas, will be the principle morning speaker at 11 a.m. He will speak on "Trumpets of Joy."
Dr. Boulton has served as district superintendent of the Dubuque district and has held three previous pastorates in the state including Pocahontas from 1957-64.
Dr. Everett H. Staats, pastor, announces that Sioux City district superintendent Rev. Dr. John K. Moore will participate in the morning centennial.
The day's events also call for a catered dinner at noon .
A 24-page centennial brochure has been prepared for the occasion setting forth the history and describing the present status of the Seney church.
A souvenir plate has been especially designed and crafted as a memento of the occasion.
Arrangements for the 100th Anniversary have been led by a steering committee with Mrs. Herman Schulz, chairman. Committee members are Mrs. Charles Driggs, Mrs. Albert Olson, and Mrs. Delton Gritzmaker.
Seney Methodist Church from the United Methodist Church of Seney, Iowa, 1874-1974 Centennial brochure.
[Contributed by Ardy Stoesz]
Seney Church was first started with about 30 people led by Stephen Reeves, and the services were held in a schoolhouse one mile east of Seney. In 1874 Rev. J. T. Walker, pastor of the Le Mars Methodist Church came out and organized this group into a Methodist class. The church was incorporated in 1876. A Church building was first constructed in 1881 at the cost of $1,600. with a seating capacity of about 175. This is the main sanctuary of the church as it stands today. It is noted that the bell in the church tower weighs 700 pounds.
A man by the man of Seney who worked for the Chicago and St. Paul Railroad was very impressed with this countryside and gave financial help by donating $1000 toward the church. The village was named after the man. Mr. Seney also gave evergreen trees to be set out that formed what was known as the Seney grove. This was landmark for many years and people for many miles around enjoyed its beauty. It was a place that the Seney Church used for many events. Sunday School and church picnics and Fourth of July celebrations were held there, and the young folks had food stands, baseball games and patriotic programs.
THE HISTORY OF THE SENEY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
….text and pictures written in 1999 in celebration of the 125 th Anniversary of the church
[Contributed by Linda Ziemann]
“The Methodist Episcopal Church of Seney had its commencement by the formation of a class in 1870, which numbered about thirty souls, all faithful, self-sacrificing men and women, with Stephen Reeves as their leader. They assembled at Mr. Reeves' house, where many precious meetings were held for worship. Upon the completion of the school house on section twenty-four, in 1871, they met there.” This would be one mile east of Seney and was the first school house built in Elgin Township .
In 1901, more room was needed in the church and an addition was built, known as the League room. Presumably, this is when the south addition was also built as the altar area.
In the days when people came to church by horse and buggy, it was decided that some protection for the horses was needed. So in 1912 the horse barns, or sheds, were built west of the church, adding a great deal to the Seney Church property. Many people today can remember these. When they finally were no longer needed and were not an asset, they were torn down.
Another important building in the church and community life was the Hall. This originally had been a creamery and home of the Oscar Haviland family. At that time, it had been located about one block north of the church. The exact date that the church bought this building is not known, but the Women's Society minutes of 1914 tell of a program in the Hall. The value of this building to the community living cannot be estimated. This was the voting place for years, and countless chicken suppers, programs, plays, basketball games and box socials were held there. The Hall was sold and moved off the church property when the church voted in 1950 to raise the church and dig a basement. Jack Killeas agreed to buy the Seney Hall in 1957 for $750 and to move it off the church property. In 1962, it was moved about 2 blocks north of the church, where it is still standing in 1999. [transcriber note: and is still standing in 2004]
The church basement was dug in 1950. After extensive remodeling--including cement work, plumbing, wiring, painting at the cost of more that $6,000 a rededication service was held November 26, 1950, with Dr. Harley Farham, district superintendent, conducting the services. One of the first social events in the new basement was the fiftieth anniversary of a double wedding Mr. and Mrs. Frank Becker and Mr. and Mrs. Will Reeves that had been originally performed in the Seney Church in 1900. In 1967 four more Sunday School rooms were added at the basement level with a hallway and separate stairway and entry.
On June 27, 1963 , members of the Seney congregations started a remodeling and redecorating project under the direction of the Board of Trustees and the Women's Society of Christian Service, of which Mrs. Herman Schulz was president.
Spearheading the project were Mrs. Annie Hawkins and Mrs. Grace Albert. They noted the need of repair on the pews, called their families together, and asked what they thought of using for such repairs, the memorial money given by relatives and friends to the memory of Albert Hawkins and LeRoy Albert. They agreed it should be so used. When the group gathered at noon for lunch, the plan was presented to the trustees and all interested persons. They were told it would be financed by the combined memorial fund, if the congregation would do the work. It was unanimously accepted and work began immediately.
Three thousand long and tedious volunteer hours were spent removing dark stain from the pews and refinishing them in natural oak. Seven gallons of varnish remover were used. Sanding and polishing were done by hand. The new pew seats were then padded and upholstered in beige embossed plastic. Although refinishing the pews was the main feature, other work was done to compliment the natural finish. The walls were repainted a sand color, the floor sanded and refinished, and a gray tweed carpet was put down in the aisles. Part of this work was done professionally. A farm project of the church men helped finance the redecorating, with WSCS aid. Meanwhile, services were held in the basement. When Rev. Milo Morris returned from Conference and came to Seney to make preparation for the coming Sunday service, he was surprised to see people all around, with pews and furniture on the church lawn. He later said he thought some major disaster, such as fire, had taken place during his absence. He was relieved to learn what was being done. He often remarked when he left for a few days that he wondered what the Seney folks would do while he was away.
New off-white paneling was installed in the sanctuary in 1974. The basement was paneled and insulated in 1981. Two new furnaces were installed in 1997, the chimney removed, and new electrical wiring put in the basement. New plum-colored carpeting was installed in the sanctuary, entry, and down the main stairs, which were widened in 1998. New front-entry doors were installed at this time, in memory of Vernon Penning and Albert and Norma Olson.
So, from a class meeting in a school room, Seney United Methodist Church has moved forward over a hundred and twenty-five years through gradual progress and improvement to a church that we feel would meet the approval of the charter members and that the members of today can view with pride.
The buildings and physical structures of the church are an important part in the history and memories of our church group. However, a church is more than the building itself. The people doing God's work is the real church.
Our small rural church has a membership in 1999 of ninety, with some of the families going back four or five generations.
Through the years, many ministerial students from Westmar College in LeMars and Morningside College in Sioux City have served to our mutual benefit. Our church has been blessed with good leadership.
In 1974, we celebrated the 100th Birthday of the Seney United Methodist Church . At this time, four members were honored for 50-year membership. These were Floyd Becker, Harvey Buss, Annie Hawkins Chapman, and Rosabelle Lancaster.
Several members were recognized and honored in 1996 for being members of the church for 50 years or more. These included Earl Albert, Genevieve Becker, Robert Becker, Richard and Jean Hawkins, Josie Kunath, Mary Ina Lancaster, Evelyn Moir, Albert Olson, Marjorie Perry, and Marshall and Dorothy Rees.
Our church has always been very active in supporting the Bishop's Thanksgiving Ingathering and, in 1982, Seney United Methodist Church was able to raise enough money for a self-help tractor, which was given to the missions.
The past several years, a very successful project for our church has been a broasted pork chop dinner, craft and bake sale, in the fall as a fundraiser. Families donate pies and salads. In the summer, members of the church freeze sweet corn that has been donated for the dinner. This has been not only a good fundraiser, but a means of fellowship among our members and with the community.
Some Photos as shown in the text of the 125th Anniversary history:
Seney M. E. Church