History shows character, faith, courage and vision. It gives us something to celebrate, as well as something to live up to. The history of Edgetts Wesleyan Church illustrates faith in action and, as the song states, “Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.”
The history of the Christian activity now known as the Edgetts Wesleyan Church dates back to the year 1927 and to a group of three families who worshiped in a small church building located about 1 1/4 miles north of the present church in a small village called Edgetts. Previous to this time the work had been very unstable and punctuated by difficulties that occasionally stopped it entirely. In about 1927, the three families referred to, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Amsbaugh, the W. S. Tracy family, and the Bird family, organized an American Union Sunday School. At that time, Rev. B. L. Pomeroy was the American Union Missionary who periodically visited and encouraged the work. The faithfulness, the hard work, and the sacrifices of these three families and the missionary must be recognized as we note the progress of the Church.
When the Keech school district began to transport the children to the Luther schoolhouse, the Sunday School moved into the Keech schoolhouse which stood in the exact spot where our church building stands today. In this year, 1932, the Church building at Edgetts was sold and the money was used to purchase the schoolhouse.
These were depression days and progress in material things was difficult and slow, but God, who always hears the heart cry of his people, heard the prayers of this little group and answered and blessed their efforts, and others began to come in and add to the numbers.
In these early years, revivals preached by a Reverend Erskine, Reverend Bruce Brown, Walter and Eunice Smith, and others brought in souls and strengthened the work.
As new light dawned and a hunger for holiness gripped the hearts of the Christians, the work was reorganized and called “Edgetts Holiness Mission and Sunday School.” Also, during this time, the young people of the Sunday School banded together and began to have Sunday evening services. We also note that during these early years the Amsbaughs, the Tracys, and the Birds started the midweek prayer meeting, and there has never been a time from then until now that the prayer meeting has not been a very vital part of the Church.
In the year 1934, our first resident pastor, Reverend C. E. Morgan, came to us. He lived in the home of Brother Amsbaugh and was largely supported by this good man. Brother Morgan’s ministry bore much fruit. He brought a fundamental, challenging, heart-stirring, inspirational message that was anointed of the Lord and affected the hearts of the people. He stayed two years and succeeded in laying a good foundation on which to build a church.
For five years after Brother Morgan left, the work was carried on by local talent under the watchful eye of Brother Amsbaugh and the inspiration of Sister Bird. The local talent consisted almost wholly of the Young Peoples Society. Brother Harry Wood was the senior member of it and often filled the pulpit during those years.
The Church enjoyed and was helped by visiting ministers and several good revivals. It was during this time that T. E. Onan from Detroit came and ministered to us. During his stay he called Reverend J. F. Foster for a revival which the Lord blessed with a goodly number of souls.
In 1940, Brother Foster accepted the call to be our pastor and stayed for 3 years. He was an energetic, hard working man. His preaching was dynamic, fundamental, and practical. Having no car, he walked these country roads and visited the people and the Lord smiled on his personal work as well as on his preaching and the work was strengthened, and the hearts of the Christians were challenged and charged. It was during this time that such outstanding conversions as that of Harry Monroe, Henry Welch, and Jane Choate took place. These people, being saved after their lives were well spent, brought to our community a respect for the Gospel that was healthy for the church. When Brother Foster left, he left with the church a knowledge of how God used dedicated lives. Along with this knowledge was the urge to launch out, the desire to be a part of the program of God, and an anxiousness to make provisions for the spiritual good of those who will live in our community in the future. In 1943 and 1944, the ministry was again shouldered by the local group with the young people who made the Youth Society contributing liberally and enthusiastically of their ability and talent and the Lord richly blessed their efforts as well as the efforts of the evangelists who came our way. It was during this time that an old house which stood some 4 1/2 miles north of here was purchased, moved, and placed on a basement which had been build for it and was refinished to become the parsonage. The project was completed in late 1944 or early 1945.
In 1945, Reverend C. E. Morgan was again called to be our pastor and brought with him his wife, formerly Delphia Miller of our own community, and they were the first to occupy the parsonage. The Lord richly blessed Brother Morgan’s ministry and on April 4, 1946, with Reverend J. R. Thompson, the District Superintendent, officiating, a Pilgrim Holiness Church was organized with 16 members. We note that fifteen of those members are still living, Mrs. Albert Lucas having gone to her reward.
The first years as a Pilgrim Holiness church were blessed with progress that might be labeled phenomenal. The congregation outgrew the space and there was a basement dug under the Church, and divided into classrooms and a furnace room. There was an annex added which became the platform and one classroom. This was accomplished with the help of Don Bird and his first tractor, with Brother Finney as carpenter and many others with willing and anxious hands. The ministry at this time seemed almost more fruitful than one could believe. Souls were saved and sanctified, hearts were stirred, lives were dedicated, talents were dug up and put to work, many young people felt that they had a charge to keep, a soul to save, a God to glorify, and they dedicated their lives to the Lord and His cause. From that time to the present, God has continued to “Lead His Dear Children Along.”
Pastors have come and gone: Reverend Wilcox from 1947-1950, Reverend Beckwith from 1950-1951, Reverend Straight from 1951-1953, Reverend Grieve from 1953-1955, Reverend Witmer from 1955-1958, Reverend Sexton from 1958-1961, and Reverend Manker from 1961-1962. The Lord used these men to “Scatter the Precious Seed” and to water the seed already sown.
While Brother Wilcox was here, we started using a Sunday School bus and the Lord blessed it. While Brother Strait was here, a new heating plant was installed and a garage build. While Brother Grieve was here, the bathroom was put in the parsonage. Brother Witmer added the study to the parsonage; the inside of the Church was refinished and pews put in.
While these material blessings were becoming ours, the Lord was also laying his hands on some very choice young people and called them into his service in other places. May we notice a few of them; Brother and Sister Finney went into full time service and have preached the Gospel in many distant places. Brother Clinton Woods went to Bible School, then took his wife and family to Wisconsin, and is preaching the Gospel there. Brother Conrad Woods and his wife went to Indiana where he attended Bible School for a time and then assisted in the establishment of a Church there. Erma Heyd graduated from Frankford College, married a preacher, and is in active service. A tentative count would show us that at least six young people have gone into full-time service from Edgetts Church and that at least eight others are using their talents and abilities in other Holiness Churches. Four are taking advanced education, some of them for the purpose of going into full-time services. As these young people have been handpicked by the Lord and taken to other fields of labor, our feelings have been mixed. Our hearts were pained to see them leave when we needed them so very much, but it made us happy to know that God would use a place like Edgetts to provide workers for other places.
In 1962, Reverend Clifford Dean came to be our pastor. In just a few months the idea of a new Church was born, and on January 9, 1963 the local board approved the plans for a new Church. In March a plan was launched to raise finances and was blessed by the Lord. In the month of April the big change began to take place. A bulldozer came in and the big poplar trees that had graced these grounds so long were disposed of and grading began. The last service in the old Church was on Mothers Day, May 12, 1963.
The next day demolition of the old Church began. Usable material was saved and played a very important part in the new Church. In early June the basement was dug, the foundation poured, and as Daily Vacation Bible School was getting underway, our pastor began laying blocks. Two miles east of the church is the Hall school. In this schoolhouse we had our services regularly until our new church could be used. This schoolhouse is owned by the American Sunday School Union, and we express gratitude to them for the free use of it.
The first service in our new Church building was on Labor Day Weekend in 1963. The building lacked much of being done but was serviceable so we moved in and watched the progress as the people so diligently labored, looking forward to the day when it would be completed and dedicated to the people of this community for His Glory and their eternal good on the 16th of May in the year of our Lord 1965. As we take note of all that was involved and all that has been done, we are certain that we can see the hand of God in the whole undertaking and it seems almost beyond the human to give to Him the thanks and praise he is due. We appreciate also the tireless efforts of our pastor who shouldered the whole responsibility of the purchasing and the managing besides the many hours of hard work.
We appreciate, too, the liberal contributions of the membership and especially the liberality of those who worship with us and support the work even though they have never found it in their hearts to add their names to the membership roll. We are grateful, too, for the help rendered by our friends and neighbors, some of them in distant places. For all these valuable contributions we shall be forever grateful.
Because of the help and blessing of our great God who never fails his own, and because of the unity and purpose of heart of his dear people, we are able to dedicate this new church, first of all to our wonderful Lord who gave Heaven’s best for us and to the people of this community for His Glory and their eternal good.
For all the contributions and the hours of labor and the excellent leadership of Pastor Dean in this building effort, we express our thanks and appreciation.
The dedication of the church took place on the 16th day of May, 1965, with Reverend Clifford Dean officiating the dedication service.
In 1965 Reverend and Mrs. Donald Litke pastored the church and many new faces were seen in the church during his ministry.
Then in 1967 Reverend and Mrs. Jack Gladding came, and he continued in a soul-winning ministry as Pastor Litke had done.
The Pilgrim Holiness and the Wesleyan Methodist churches merged in 1968 to form the Wesleyan Church. Another name change was the order. Reverend and Mrs. Estle Engle came in this same year, and he pastored until 1971. Reverend Engle was a friend to all and was deeply loved by the elderly. Under this ministry the church decided it was time to plan for a new parsonage.
Reverend and Mrs. LeRoy Blocher came in 1971, and Brother Blocher soon found himself very busy building a large, beautiful parsonage. Again, the church people rallied to form a work force and gave generously to see the parsonage completed.
Reverend and Mrs. Lawrence Orcena came in 1973 and pastored until his health broke in the fall of 1975. Reverend Orcenan was deeply interested in the youth work and used a van to gather many in to be a part of the church. On November 3, 1975, Reverend and Mrs. Stanley Dean came to pastor the church.During his stay, the church was insulated and paneled inside for better appearance and saving of fuel. Reverend Dean’s good messages were appreciated by the church.
In 1979 Reverend and Mrs. William Britton came to pastor. A beautiful 1974 Dodge van was given to the church by the Sarver family. The ceilings of the church and parsonage were insulated with 10″ of insulation. A Wood boiler was placed in the parsonage and wood bees were again in order.
On May 24, 1981, the Edgetts Church celebrated its 35th anniversary as an organized church. Reverend T. E. Onan preached on Sunday morning and Brother and Sister Woods and Sister Luce were honored. Reverend L. L. Keesor preached in the afternoon, and Gordon and Ada Stanton were honored. Lewis Heyd and Effie (Gribbell) Ruppert were honored during the day for their faithfulness through the years. A great day was enjoyed by all. A former pastor and his wife, Reverend and Mrs. Melvin Strait, were in attendance.
Little did we know that two of those present would so soon be in their eternal home. Richard Demory passed from this life on June 22, 1981, and Harry Woods went to be with the one he loved and served so many years on July 8, 1981.
Through the years, many singing groups have graced our services. Revivals are held annually and singspirations frequently. Wesleyan Women Missions organization has been active many years, completing numerous and varied projects. WKFM is the children’s activity devoted to learning about our Missionary families. Teen
s have a Youth Week experience yearly. Sometimes, with an outside speaker and special activities or traveling to offer their services where a helping hand is needed. An organized youth ministry has been a part of Edgetts since 1992, when Ken and Yevonne Blair were supported in this ministry while completing studies to become a Pastor and then going on to serve in the Beulah Wesleyan Church. Several vans donated over the years and the purchase of a used school bus have facilitated many children in coming to Sunday School and other church activities.
Rev. and Mrs. James Francisco were called in May of 1993 for a year and Rev. and Mrs. Leonard Strait came in 1993, staying five years. In 1996 a building fund was established and in the Spring of 1997, with 40,000 in funds, construction began on the multipurpose building which would enable our fellowship hall to move from the parsonage basement and establish a gym and new youth room, kitchen, and restrooms. Basement enlargement was also required and it was deemed necessary to cover this connecting area of the two buildings before winter. A loan was secured and a new Foyer, Nursery, and Pastor’s Study were incorporated in the immediate plan.
Rev. Strait retired in 2001 and then, also retired Pastor and Mrs. Gerald Heyd, who both grew up in our church, served us well the following 10 months, as Interim Pastor.
Then in August of 2002, Pastor Dan and Becky Miller arrived, continuing the work of Edgetts Church in the community.
Much has changed through the intervening years, but, not God, who has always blessed the efforts of his people. Our Church motto is “Who Cares? Edgetts Cares!” Each one in the church represents a person for whom Jesus shed his blood and we are thankful. We praise God for his goodness and are committed to both a great commission and a great compassion for all people.
Year by Year History
1927 Amsbaugh, Tracy, and Bird Families (American Sunday School Union)
Rev. & Mrs. Wilson S. Tracy
Rev. & Mrs. Wilson S. Tracy
1932 Purchase Keech school house (site of our current church building)
1934 Reverend C. E. Morgan, our first resident pastor
1936 T. E. Onan
1940 Rev. J. F. Foster
1945 Rev. C. E. Morgan (second rounds pastor- 1st to occupy new parsonage)
1946 Pilgrim Holiness Church Organized
1947 Rev. Wilcox
1950 Rev. Beckwith
1951 Rev. Melvin Strait
1953 Rev. Grieve
1955 Rev Witmer
1958 Rev. Sexton
1961 Rev. Manker
1962 Rev. Clifford Dean
1963 New Church (ASSO)
1965 Rev. Donald Litke
1967 Rev. Jack Gladding
1968 Merger of Pilgrim Holiness & Wesleyan Methodist, creating The Wesleyan Church
1968 Rev. Estle Engle
1971 Rev. Leroy Blocher (new parsonage)
1973 Rev. Lawrence Orcena
1975 Rev. Stanley Dean
1979 Rev. William Britton (church widened)
1993 Rev. Francisco
1994 Rev. Leonard Strait (gym added)
1999 Rev. Scott Kreh
2001 Rev. Jerry Heyd
2002 Rev. Dan Miller (current pastor) (sanctuary expanded and turned around)