40+ YEAR MEMBERS
Front Row, L-R: Bill Staab, Laura Hurlburt, Lola Staab, and Max Staab
Back Row, L-R: Lynn Ritz, Jill Ritz, and Donna Pierson
The Arcadia United Methodist Church celebrated its 125th Anniversary on Sunday, July 22nd. Activities began with a special church service at 11:00 a.m. Rev. Alan Davis, District Superintendent, was the keynote speaker and special music was provided by the Arcadia Choir. Approximately 100 were in attendance. A framed picture of the Arcadia church was presented to the congregation by Randy and Jamie Weverka. Following church, a dinner was enjoyed in the fellowship hall and a video depicting activities, projects, and ministries of the church was running so all could watch it.
At 1:30 p.m. the crowd gathered in the sanctuary for a hymn sing. This was followed by a program. A special gift from the Mira Valley United Methodist Church was presented to the congregation by Rev. Jeff Hale.
Betty Jo Sell presented a capsule of the history of the church, which was organized in 1886 with the first church building being erected just north of the present sanctuary in 1887. The first minister was Rev. C. A. Hale (no known relation to the present Pastor Hale). In 1925 the congregation decided it was time for a new, larger church and fundraising/construction began with the present sanctuary being completed in 1930 at a cost of $13,650. It was completely paid off by November 30, 1930, despite the extreme financial depression and drought in the area. The addition of the new fellowship hall was completed at a cost of $186,000 and dedicated on December 7, 1997. The debt was retired at a special ceremony on November 26, 2000. More importantly, the church has remained stalwart in its ministry not only in the Arcadia community throughout the years but has also had a strong outreach through Volunteers in Mission.
Next, Marjo Sell read letters from former ministers who were unable to attend the celebration. These included Rev. Janet Burgel, Rev. Paxaio Baptista, Rev. Donald Studley, and Rev. Charles Moorer.
The Arcadia United Methodist Church has had a total of 56 pastors in the last 125 years. Former ministers who were present were introduced next and each shared stories and memories of the time they spent at the church. These included Rev. Earl Higgins, Rev. Murry Johnston, and Rev. Robert Hopkins. They had some interesting stories to tell. Following them, there was a time for sharing of memories by members of the crowd and there were a lot of them.
Virginia Trotter read the names of members and handed out certificates to those present in recognition of their years of membership. Phyllis Gould was recognized as the person who has been a member for the most years at 65. Elvira Bolli (who resides at Valley View Rest Home in Ord) is the oldest living member at 98 years. A total of 13 members were recognized as 50 or more year members. Ten were recognized with 40-49 year memberships, eight for 25-29 years, and forty-eight for 24 years or less.
Special music was presented by Joyce Lutz, whose parents served the Arcadia church as ministers from 1963-1968.
Rolen Sell, current chairman of the Administrative Council, closed the afternoon program with a challenge to our current members. He said that, while it is wonderful to have this great opportunity to celebrate our heritage, we cannot become proud or complacent but must continue to do all we can to serve the community spiritually and to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him as their personal savior.
A reception closed out the afternoon with a specially decorated cake and time for fellowship.