10. Historical Narrative of Our Church written in November 2007
This article was written by Nancy R. for the Heritage Day Celebration 2007. It was read in church by her grandson: Mike A.
Our church came into being circa 1840. The date on the first deed is July 10, 1840, but we are pretty sure Methodists were active in the area before that. It was first called Mount Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church. Over the years, Mt. Pleasant has been linked to other Methodist churches in the area through circuits and conferences. From 1869 to 1870 it was on the Zion Circuit. From 1871 to 1884 it was on the Rising Sun Circuit along with Hopewell and Janes. From 1885 to 1888 Mt. Pleasant was paired with Rowlandsville.
An important time came from 1899 to 1928 when Mt. Pleasant became a separate charge for the first time. A new entrance area was built on the front of the church by volunteers. It was a great help especially in bad weather. It cost six hundred dollars. In 1909, the congregation bought a nearby house to serve as a home for the pastor which is now the sexton’s house. There was a five hundred dollar mortgage that was paid off by 1925.
In 1940, the Peninsula Annual Conference was formed. It included the state of Delaware and the part of Maryland that is east of the Susquehanna River. In 1950 through 1953, a new kitchen and hall were added and a full basement. Now the church could hold many new types of events and serve meals. A gift of ten thousand dollars was given to the church by Mrs. Clara Alden. It was used to renew the sanctuary and put in a new electric organ. In 1958, the two buildings were joined together. Now there was an inside stairway to the basement, more storage space and a pastor’s office. The pastor’s pay was raised from 18 hundred dollars to 5 thousand dollars. The budget was raised from 5 thousand dollars to 15 thousand dollars. In 1961 and 62, the basement was converted into Sunday school rooms. A library was added and the pastor’s home was remodeled. Land next to the church was given by Mrs. Margaret Williams.
Land was donated by the Montgomery family for a new parsonage. It was built and completed in October of 1971. Mt. Pleasant held a groundbreaking ceremony on November 21, 1976 for the remodeling and enlargement of the sanctuary. This work was completed in 1977. The 15 year mortgage was paid off in only 5 years. In 1978 the new pipe organ was put in and dedicated. The stained glass windows were chosen and dedicated in 1986. Many people gave special donations during this period of new building.
Ground was broken on April 5, 1987 for a new Sunday school wing. The first classes were held there on Sunday, February 14, 1988. The cost was approximately $175,000 and was financed by interest free loans of members and friends of Mt. Pleasant. The debt was paid in 3 years. In 1989, the interior of the sanctuary was given a new look with the addition of heavy crown moldings, chair rail, and installation of the raised paneling in the windows and across the front with the addition of the three arches surrounding the descending dove stained glass window. The cost was $28,000 and was paid at the completion of the project.
In 1990 memorial gifts were given in honor of Warren Morgan, Scott and Luella Pierce and Lillian Ewing. They were used to air condition the church hall. Also, in the mid 1990s, Fellowship Hall was renovated both on the interior and exterior. The cost was $100,000 and again was paid in full by the completion of the project.
Pastors who have served Mt. Pleasant since 1950 are:
- Frank Buckley
- Henry Parks
- Laurence Stookey
- Ronald Bergman
- William Hankins
- George Kirk
- William French
- J. Chapman O’Dell
- Richard Reynolds
- Dilio Mariotti
- Joseph Holiday
- Ronald Owens
- Robert Riddleberger
- Glenn Lyburn And
- Asher Tunik
There have been so many faithful people in our history and we thank God for them. Many we know about and there are many who we have not known. Years from now we may be among those whose names are not known, but the “light on Vinegar Hill” will still shine because of the work that has been done here to honor God and serve his people. The important thing to remember is that while we are here, we should try to make God the Lord not only of our past, but of our present, and future.
Nov 4, 2007 – Heritage Day – Mt. Pleasant UM Church