Church: Worden, Church of the Brethern
Contact: Janet Rogalski
 

WORDEN CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN

By: Mrs. Vernon Reppert

In the late 1890's in the community now known as South Worden (about eight miles south and east of Stanley), many families were moving in and settling in that area, clearing and grubbing for homes out of the woods. Among the families were members of the Church of the Brethren, then known as Dunkards, and many Progressive Brethren. They worshiped together in the log schoolhouse. John Patten was their minister.

In 1903 the men of the settlement started cutting logs and hauling them to the Goshaw Saw Mill, r i g h tin the neighborhood, to be sawed into lumber to build a church. Mr. and Mrs. Joe Felix donated a plot of land to be used for building a church and plotting a church cemetery. Building was really a labor of love, for money was scarce and the work was donated by men of the neighborhood, regardless of denomination. It was a well built structure, and withstood many storms. Dave Stong and Milton Patten handmade the pews which served as long as the church stood.

In 1904 the church was organized as the Worden Church of the Brethren. Rev. John Heckman of Illinois and Rev. W. C. Baker of Wisconsin were here to take care of the dedication. The Progressive Brethren and Brethren still joined in worship. John Patten was the pastor for quite some time and always served without pay. From 1904 to 1920 a number of ministers served the church.

The church was heated with two wood stoves for years. Later a floor furnace was installed. The first lights were hanging kerosene lamps. Gas lanterns were used later, and when the R.E.A. came into the settlement, electric lights were installed, about 1940.

In 1907 a kitchen was built onto the back of the church with a wood stove on which meats for the Love Feasts were cooked. The Love Feasts were held twice a year. The men of the church, who cut wood for these wood stoves, always had cutting and sawing bees.

There were many young people and children who grew to adulthood and learned what it was to work hard for small pay. The first burial in the church cemetery was a young man (Archie Felix) who met death by drowning in 1903. In 1954 the church observed its Fiftieth Anniversary. John Heckman was present for that occasion as he was in 1904. He was ninety years old in 1954. Many other former members were also present.

The church was really a community church, for people of other denominations worshiped there. All people were welcomed and made to feel part of the church family. Weddings, funerals, Vacation Bible School, lots of programs, and many revivals were held in the church.

On the evening of June 4, 1958, the church was completely demolished by a tornado that swept through the country. Vacation Bible School was in progress in the day time, so no one was in the building when the tornado hit. Thank God for that!

On October 1, 1959, the Worden membership joined the Stanley Brethren congregation and the two churches became the Stanley Church of the Brethren. Ernest Detrick was pastor at that time. Everyone was saddened by the loss of the Worden Church that meant so much to so many people, but it was a happy day when the Stanley and Worden congregations became one.

In 1975 a memorial marker was erected on the site of the Worden Church. This was paid for by members and friends of the church. On September 28, 1975 this marker was dedicated in a special service. Many members and friends were in attendance, including many former members who had moved away. The cemetery is still being used and is well kept.

Mrs. Clifford (Bessie) Manier is the only early member of the Worden Church living in the community. She still has her home in Worden, but she is in the Stanley Nursing Home at the present time.

Responses

Re: Church: Worden, Church of the Brethern
Contact: Jim Reppert
Email: therepperts@charter.net

Greetings in Jesus name. I had the privilege of attending the Worden Church of the Brethren during my early years. We lived about 1/2 mile south of the church. I can still picture how the church looked inside and out. I remember Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and the Pie and Ice Cream Socials. Chasing lightning bugs was a big deal for us kids during the Ice Cream Socials. I can still smell the back classroom just off the the room that had the stove. I sang my first solo in this church. I was about 4 years old. I remember Cora Felix was the Sunday School Superintendent and my mom (Elsie) played the piano and my dad (Vernon) was the song leader. My memories are many but, this is all for now.

 

 


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