Church History

 

chruch3 In 1871, south Miami County, the Methodists of Harrison Township joined with the Church of Calvary in Clay Township and built of new church on the north edge of McGrawsville. The merger became know as McGrawsville Episcopal Church. In 1939, with the unification of the Methodist denomination it became known as the McGrawsville Methodist Church until 1968. At that time, the Evangelical United Brethren Church and Methodists merged. Since 1968, our church has been known as the McGrawsville United Methodist Church.

The first pastor was P.S. Ramsey. The church enjoyed many spiritually fruitful years. In 1911, remodeling became necessary and included a new basement, furnace installation, building an annex, new pulpit and replacing windows as well as repainting the entire structure and obtaining new pews. According to trustee treasurer, J.O. Jenkins, the cost incurred with these repairs was $2,816.65.

  Another renovation took place in 1950 in which the church building was repainted, a well was drilled and running water, kitchen appliances and restrooms were added. The basement was repaired and curtain divisions provided so that five classes could be taught at one time. church4

church1 Through the years, McGrawsville church has been on a two- or three-point circuit sharing pastors with surrounding area churches such as Sante Fe, Amboy & Peoria. In 1985, after much prayer and consideration, representatives from the Staff Parish Committee met with the District Superintendent to discuss and request a full-time pastorate position. Stan Buck became the first full-time pastor serving from 1985-87 followed by Tom Hoehner from 1987-1989. During the Lenten season of 1987, with the growing numbers of worshipers, it was decided to hold two services each Sunday. Both services were well attended and it was decided to expand to two services each Sunday from that time. The church attendance and programming continued to grow throughout the 1980's. The church was committed to reaching out and serving the community. Three home Fellowship Groups were formed in the Fall of 1987, growing to nine groups by January, 2000. A Shepherding Program was established in August of 1988. In addition, outreach programs for children of the community were started with Kid's Klub, Joybunch, Mentee/Mentor Program and sponsoring a Solid Rock youth rally at Maconaquah High School in November 1985 with 700-800 youth present. In 1990, Greg Hiatt became our next pastor. Church attendance each Sunday was consistently at 300 for both services. A Long-Range Planning Committee had been formed to study the general physical and space needs of the church. Their findings led to the development of a Building Committee which was established in June 1991. This committee recommended to the congregation at the Charge Conference on November 24, 1991, a three phase construction plan beginning with a new sanctuary. Ground breaking occurred on August 23, 1992. As plans were being completed for the new construction, repairs and updates were made to the house two doors south of the sanctuary in preparation for the arrival on June 2, 1992, of our new Associate Pastor, Randy Miller & his family. He served from 1992-1993. On July 18,1993, Bart Gardner replaced Randy.

The 1990's saw continued growth, outreach and fruitfulness at our church. The first lay elders were commissioned in January of 1994. They were Thurman Agness, Phil Hawkins, Dennis Harts, John Phipps and Tim Tucker. The office was proceeding towards computerization, Sharon Berkheiser became a full-time secretary/treasurer with two assistant secretaries, Sharilyn Spohn and Terry Romine, each working 25 hours/week. The newly constructed sanctuary was completed in time so Easter Sunday services could be held on April 11, 1993, with 523 present! The new sanctuary was consecrated on June 6, 1993, at a cost for Phase I being $610,966.10. Joyce Willson started Children's Church in October 1993 and was hired in July 1995 as Children's Ministry Coordinator for 12 hours/week. Through the 1990's the church had a strong mission outreach. We built two churches and a parsonage in India and groups went to Oklahoma each year, as well as to Haiti, Jamaica, Africa and Honduras. Twelve additional acres of land were purchased from Eli Miller in 1996. Ian Nacy came in August 1996 as a youth pastor and was hired full-time in March, 1997. The church also bought Betty's Hostetler's home just north of the church in July. On September 26, 1997, with the unexpected death of our associate pastor, Bart Gardner, the church arranged for his wife, Michelle who was expecting their first child, to move into this home and live rent-free. Phase II of the building plan was completed in 1999 with the construction of The Youth Center at a cost of $260,986.41.

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In 2000, the average church attendance was 505 for church services and 313 for Sunday School. We had 315 children from nursery through 18 years of age. In 2001, Kenny Cole was hired to lead Children/Family Ministries. Children's ministry has maintained a biblically sound Sunday School curriculum and expanded Children's Church. In 2005, Kenny created a community outreach program for Elementary aged students. This after school program meets at Maconaquah Elementary School one afternoon/week and is called Kid's Honor Club. Promiseland Pre-school was established in 2002 and meets three days a week and is administered by Rita Frantz. Kenny's ministry morphed into the Children's/Senior's Ministry as it became apparent programs were needed for the growing number of senior adults.

In 2002, Ryan Jorgenson was hired part-time as Pastor of Young Adults. He was hired full-time and moved into Men's, College Age & Small Group Ministries, but currently he is Director of College and Career as well as Small Group Ministries.

In 2007, after 17 years of service to McGrawsville, Greg Hiatt was sent to Huntertown UMC and Dr. P. Mark Hill was welcomed to our congregation from Stockwell, IN. Shortly after, Ian Nacy took a position in Michigan and relocated. Andrew Smith became Youth Pastor in June 2008.

prayerchapel In May, 2010 the church began construction on a public prayer chapel to resemble the original church. The original altar and pews were preserved and are being installed in the new structure.

 

The Prayer Chapel was dedicated on November 21, 2010 prayerchapel2

Contact Info

McGrawsville United Methodist
9377 South 300 East
Amboy, IN 46911

Phone: 765-395-7712

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