Our Enduring Witness: 175th Anniversary Celebration
Celebrating 175 years of Methodism in Mount Vernon, Iowa
Sunday October 9th Recap: A Celebration to Remember
What a joy to lead such a beautiful service on Sunday morning as we celebrated 175 years of Methodism here in Mount Vernon. We were so blessed by the many in attendance, the beautiful music, and the absolute presence of our God Almighty in our midst. As I looked out across the sanctuary, I felt the energy of the Holy Spirit moving richly in this place. Our District Superintendent Rev. Kiboko Kiboko shared a message of God’s grace, and great love for each of us. He encouraged us to let go of the things that we are holding onto in our right hand, and put God first in all that we do. He called us back to those who had shaped our faith and gone before us, and encouraged us to look forward and continue making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, as we hold onto Jesus in our right hand. The musical gifts of many were shared as we were led in worship through song by the Metholarks and Praise Team led by Ben Klaus, our Choir led by Joleen Woods, our Bell Choir led by Kristi Keast, and the organist, Dr. Lynda Hakken. We also had a beautiful Doxology led by the Cornell Chamber Singers led by Dr. Lisa Hearne. This doesn’t mention each individual name, and every single person that made this service possible. A huge thank you to all who were a part of making it happen. Thank you to Rev. Dick Thomas and the committee who realized this dream, and called us to recognize the many who have gone before us, this call to celebrate over a months time, and then to dine together. Thank you! What a glorious day. What a wonderful depiction that this can’t be done on our own, but must be done in tandem with the fellowship and support of one-another. We are the church, my friends. We mustn’t stop at the celebration, but continue on. This is only the beginning! Join us in worship this coming Sunday as we look at the shiny gods that we may be holding onto in our right hand. It’s not too late to begin reading “first: putting God first in living and giving”. Let’s see how God calls us to respond to our Creators loving grace.
With Gratitude and joy, Pastor Joy Mitchell
Throughout September and October 2016 we celebrated our history as a Methodist Church started in the Mount Vernon community.
A Circuit Rider’s Visit is available online to view- link here: https://www.umcmv.com/spirtiual-growth-blog/175th-anniversary-celebration/
The Saints We Celebrated included:
Sometimes our heroes in faith go hardly noticed. Our church story includes so many who sat where we sit and prayerfully anticipated each day as an opportunity to see God at work among them.
Our congregation lost many young sons in the terrible Civil War. All men who went to war were expected to fight in combat. One of the men from this church who answered the call to serve was John Lozier. His unit elected him their chaplain. John saw God at work even in the terror about him. He often exposed himself to enemy fire and put down his rifle to attend a wounded comrade or pray with a dying soldier. He was highly respected among his comrades. After the war he returned to his church and began a special ministry among veterans, their wives and widows and children. He was welcomed by nearly every church as he shared his poems and writings and many stories of the how God was present on the battlefield.
God of all History, and our companion in all our lives: In the history of our fellowship is a minster who lead us in a time of rapid growth and was our spiritual leaders when this building was constructed. Pastor Homer Stuntz was much love by his people and widely regarded as a leader in the larger Methodist Church. Pastor Stuntz was called to be a Missionary Bishop in South American, and later returned home to serve as Bishop of the Omaha Area. In his ministry our congregation felt a closeness to the developing church in South America and around the world.
Among the great saints who worship in this place and helped strengthen our faith is the Evelyn Riley Nicholson, wife of a Cornell professor. Evelyn became the President of the Methodist Women’s Society of Christian Service of the World as the women’s movement within the Methodist Church became a global fellowship in the 1920’s. A few years later another member of our church, Laura Brooks assumed the same office. Our small church in Iowa produced two leaders of a world organization of women members of the Methodist Church.
Another leader that sat among us for many years was Harriett Cook, the first woman west of the Mississippi to reach the rank of Full Professor and be compensated with the same pay as her male associate. She left our fellowship to go to Boston to she joined one of her former students in a creative social ministry that founded GOOD WILL INDUSTRIES that continues to serve needing persons today.