Oak Park UMC

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Oak Park UMC - ^Church*, of th. Ited Rh,., V .l|.y Sundiy, May...
^Church*, of th. Ited Rh,., V .l|.y Sundiy, May n, 1997.tt&e$Wfe33ai« 11 LSt' . : " '"•" •' ment was -a;, lump .sum donation from Mrs. H;R: Garrett, The congregation renamedr^their; Church "Garfetf Memorial. Methodist.Church" in the family's honor. In^e/fall of 1996, a: lOO^ear^histo- ry of Methbdisrn in West Paris was eel- ''•• ebrated. vThis ahnivefsarx.Ayas^abput\ much more than just tfie passage of time, but celebrated the thousands of joys and sorrows shared by the spiritual family now known as Oak Park United Methodist Church. - . After 2 years of inforinalr Sunday School classes, the Rev. R.G. Rainey and eight charter members held their first services at the old West Paris School on the corner of 17th ;S.W. and ' Austin in 1896. A year later,a;buildiing. was constructed in'the : 1600 .block : 6f: Bonham and christened "The West Paris Methodist-Episcopal Church South." ' Within 10 years, membership had grown to over 100, and continued growth saw the roll reach 4?5 : in 1920. It.was during this period that the name of the Church was changed to "The Bonham Street Methodist Episcopal Church South." Since church attendance had grown to such high numbers, Church leaders began a new building program. Over 6 years of work went into the construction construction of the new Bonham Street sanctuary. sanctuary. • Unfortunately, before the debt on the building was paid off, the Great Depression swept the nation. Soon, the congregation could no longer meet the payments on the building and notices of foreclosure were posted. 1936 appears to be the darkest hour for West Paris Methodism, but with contributions from members and assistance assistance from First Methodist Church Paris, the debt was paid. The final pay- -Methpdism thrived in the 1940s and :1950s as Church membership spared to over 600. In the early 1960s, the first thoughts of a new structure began to be discussed. The biggest step in this plan came in 1968 with the acquisition of the old West Paris Park as a building site. On October 24, 1971, the move into the new "Oak Park United Methodist- Church" began. The congregation completed completed most of the job after the opening service in the new sanctuary. There were plans for professional movers to get the heavier items, but fire kept them from their job! - ,.. The old buildjng was gutted in a fire officials believe was caused by faulty wiring. The new beginning was more abrupt that anyone had dreamed, and efforts to completely finish the new facility took on new urgency. The final step in this century of : Methodism was a joint effort between the people of Paris and the membership of Oak Park. The western part of the lot was leased to the city for 25 years for construction of a new city park. "Oak Park," completed in 1995, provides a place for family recreation not available in West Paris for 25 years. The next 100 years will hold its share of joy and misery. Methodism will, despite setbacks, continue to thrive, provided the people will support it with their prayers, presence, gifts, and service. Bonham Street Methodist Episcopal Church South - 1896-1925 Bonham Street Methodist Church -. 1923-1936 Garrctt Memorial Methodist Church - 1936-1971 15 grace and mercu. brought me through. a • • a a A

Clipped from
  1. The Paris News,
  2. 11 May 1997, Sun,
  3. Page 64

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  • Oak Park UMC

    davisp2 – 04 Jan 2013

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