A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

February 8, 1914 Sunday Bulletin - First Methodist Episcopal Church, Lancaster, Ohio

After a recent funeral, a member of the family gave me this Sunday, February 8, 1914 bulletin from our church. Just think, our present church building would have only been nine years old at the time! The bell that now stands as a monument in front of our church was ringing out from the bell tower every Sunday morning up until the 1920s when it was replaced with state of the art chimes.

We were known as First Methodist Episcopal Church during that time. In 1939, we dropped the name, "Episcopal" from our name. Finally, in 1968, we became known as First United Methodist Church. The changes to our church name are due to the denominational name changes that took place.

This 1914 bulletin was one year before our church became known as having the world's largest men's Sunday School class. We will be honoring this achievement on Sunday, September 7 when our congregation gathers for a combined worship service at our Crossroads facility and we will have a group picture of our congregation. Instead of just men, this picture will include everyone who attends that day. We will use this picture for our new 2015 pictorial directory. This will be a great way to celebrate our rich history as a congregation.

Rev. Earle Ellsworth was the pastor in 1914. They had a morning and an evening service during that time. Notice how simple the order of worship was. The hymns are similar.

The evening service began with a hymn sing and the pastor offered a different sermon from the one he preached during the morning service. The choir attended both services.

This inside page simply lists the names of the church leaders along with a way to contact the pastor.

This back page of the bulletin is what really strikes me as interesting. Notice the attendance figures for Sunday School, morning worship, and evening worship from the previous Sunday! They report 1,300 for the morning service and 1,500 for the evening service. The round numbers are a little fishy and how can you fit that many people in the sanctuary/overflow area? Oh well, I'm sure that they were having large numbers of people especially since the church building was only nine years old at the time.

I just thought you would enjoy seeing this bulletin from the early part of the last century. What a wonderful history we have as a congregation. Let's continue to build on the foundation that has been laid by those who have gone before us.

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