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Our History

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Our History
January Calendar


First 100 Years of the

First United Methodist Church

Hamburg, Iowa

1869 – 1969

As early as 1862 the pioneer settlers in the four-year young town of Hamburg, Iowa, began to feel the need for spiritual guidance. At first there had been simple family worship in their cabins, but soon churches were organized.

The first organized effort of a religious nature was a Sunday school held in a carpenter shop on the north side of Block 26. According to oldest records, the: Church of Christ was the first church organized in Hamburg.

The first account of regular services being held by Methodists in Hamburg was 1866. Occasional services had been held by circuit riders, men who rode horseback, with their few belongings in a saddlebag, and traveled from settlement to settlement-bringing courage and instruction.

Some itinerant pastors also traveled to this community by rail, for the first railroad had been completed to Hamburg in 1867. Paul Hutchinson, in his book the Story of Methodism, tells that so many Methodist preachers were along the frontier that a common saying was "There must be a Methodist preacher on the cow-catcher of every train that comes to the frontier!"

From 1866 – 1869 Hamburg was a part of the Sidney circuit, which included all the Fremont County. Ministers were often the teachers from the Methodist College, then located at Sidney.

In 1869 the Hamburg Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by Mr. and Mrs. M. S. Holtzinger, Robert T. Davis, Mr. and Mrs. James Mann, Mr. and Mrs. William Harris, Mr. William McCracken, Mrs. Mary Scott, Mr. and Mrs. George M. Ashton, Miss Marie L. Ashton, Mrs. John Lloyd and Mr. and Mrs. E. Alberson. Before the organization was completed, Mr. and Mrs. Asa Mann, Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Cleveland, Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Stauffer and Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Rain were added to the membership.

According to the first written history of the possession of the church –The Historical Record, Volume I, written by C. W. Blodgett, Hamburg’s second pastor: "The history of the Methodist Episcopal Church in western Iowa is vague, because of the negligence of proper historians, or the scarcity of paper.

"The Hamburg Circuit was formed at the Conference of 1869, held in Indianola, Iowa. It then embraced Civil Bend, Eastport, Spring Valley, Mill Creek and Hamburg. I. M. O’Flying was sent as its shepherd."

(Hamburg’s first resident pastor, the Reverend Mr. Issac M. O’Flying, entered the ministry in 1853 and served forty-five years. He died at the age of eighty-seven, July 19, 1916.)

"In 1869, the same year of the church’s organization, steps were taken to build a house of worship. On October 23, services were held in the schoolhouse, with that purpose in view. An able discourse was given by the presiding elder, Joseph Notts, on the text ‘Let us arise and build.’ January 28, 1870, William Harris, James Mann, E. Albertson, William McCracken, Asa Mann and A. G. Cleveland were chosen first trustees, and Milton S. Holsinger, Secretary J. L Morris, J. M. Stauffer and R. E. Rain were chosen to make up a building committee."

That same year a beautiful Gothic frame church was built on the east side of Block 22. It was dedicated July 12, 1870, with the Reverend Mr. G. S. Alexander delivering the dedicatory discourse.

Historian Blodgett says, "The building was said to be one, beautiful in architecture, but not stable in substance. The edifice cost upward of 3600 dollars. Brother O’Flying labored hard in its erection, as did the board of trustees. It was dedicated in the month of July, and the total indebtedness, 1400 dollars, was provided by subscriptions on parties resident in the county.

"There was much rejoicing among the members, but this rejoicing was soon turned into sorrow. August 27th, Wednesday evening, found them without a house. A fearful storm swept over the county and devastation was seen pictured on almost every village and hillside. The town of Hamburg suffered, in this storm, the loss of some twenty buildings, besides the temple erected to God for the Methodist Episcopal Church.

"When, in 1870, the writer of this history, (the Reverend Mr. Blodgett) heard his name read, assigned to Hamburg, it was with many prayers for divine guidance that he acquiesced in the decision of the ‘Powers that be.’

The fall of 1870 found the society worshipping once again in the R. S. House: a feeble band of thirty-five, discouraged, and with a 1400 dollar debt, with interest of 100 dollars, hanging over them.

"Through the untiring energy of the trustees, the debt has been mostly paid during the year, and in place of a fallen edifice, which was almost a total wreck (the board saving about 300 dollars worth of material from it), we have a substantial brick edifice on the corner of Park and F streets, 32w x 54 feet, 1 ½ story. The building, at the time of this writing is nearly completed, and will cost, when completed, over 4000 dollars."

The cornerstone for this church, built on the present site, acquired by deed, July 6, 1871, Lot 7, Block 27, was laid June 29, 1871, with ceremonies by the Reverend Mr. B. Shin, Presiding Elder. After completion, the dedication services were conducted by Bishop James O. Andrews, and the church entered its new career free from debt.

Of the 15 original members, five remained in Hamburg, seven had died, one was in western Colorado, and the whereabouts of two were unknown.

The Historical Record states that "At the Grand Conference of 1870, The Mill Creek station was discontinued, and appointments were established at Riverton and Round Grove in combination with Hamburg. In 1871 Spring Valley was struck from the circuit, leaving Hamburg and Round Grove. At this time Hamburg was a growing, thriving town of 2500 inhabitants."

In 1873 – 74 Hamburg requested the undivided labors of a pastor for their 55 members. By mutual consent Round Grove was attached to Shenandoah

The records of 1869 show church property was acquired in that year for the building of a parsonage, next to the church on Lot 9, block 27.

This article appeared in the December 29, 1888, issue of the Sunbeam, a newspaper published in Hamburg:

"The Christmas tree at the Methodist Church was beautifully arranged and loaded with presents for the children, besides some for the big folks, among others a purse containing $20 for the pastor, Mr. Dudley. After the exercises at the church, many of those attending went to the parsonage, taking with them baskets filled with the good things of the land, and all enjoyed a bountiful feast and a pleasant social time."

In the year 1892, The Reverend Mr. Benjamin F. Durlee was appointed Pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Hamburg, Iowa. He wrote: "This church is situated in one of the best governed and best business towns in southwest Iowa. We have, as a church, enjoyed a prosperous year in various lines. Admissions during the year were 45, and after dismissions by letter, there still remain 104 on our roll. The finances are administered by a board of stewards. We find that this year’s reports exceed the past few years. No doubt the faithfulness of the stewards accounts for this."

In 1894 times were not so good, and the pastor wrote, "The church usually feels the stringency of the times. The first of all causes is one of the greatest droughts ever known in the state of Iowa, and perhaps this year, 1894, will go down in history as such, so up to date all claims have not been fully met. Our Sunday school in Hamburg has for its efficient superintendent, Brother Frank Cleveland. We find and increase in numbers and interest, and have an enrollment of 135 in both schools, Hamburg and Pleasant Valley. L. Abbey is superintendent at Spring Valley Church and is doing very good work."

"The Sunday school has increased the church congregations and we expect even better results in the future."

"Hamburg Epworth League is organized with 64 members, Miss Kate Bogan, president."

At approximately the same time as the Hamburg Church was getting its start, two other churches were being organized. They later closed and the majority of their members joined the Hamburg Church.

Valley Farm Methodist Church

Moses U. Payne was a wealthy6 citizen of Boone County, Missouri, who rightly read the storm clouds rising through the 1850’s. He sold much of his southern business interest and bought northern land. Some 15,000 acres of this land was in Fremont County, Iowa, between the Nishnabotna and the Missouri rivers. Here he built a residence, and near it a farm chapel, and called them Valley Farm.

Mr. Payne was a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1858 he moved his family and livestock to Valley Farm and prom0tly began holding services and organizing Sunday Schools in homes and schoolhouses.

For about thirteen years records are wanting, but there is good reason to believe he continued preaching as much as those troubled times permitted, for we find he did so later. His last sermon was delivered at Valley Farm just two weeks before his death August 9, 1895.

September 1871 the Missouri Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, appointed R. B. Cox to Rock Port and Hamburg Mission. The next year it appointed J. F. Monroe to the Hamburg Mission only. In 1873, J. F. Huffaker was sent to the Hamburg Circuit.

This circuit was Hamburg, Valley Farm, Cox Chapel in Atchison County, Missouri and "The Island."

Some time later "The Island" was combined with Cox Chapel and still later Hamburg appointments were discontinued. So Valley Farm came to be head of a circuit with Cox Chapel, and their pastor resided in Hamburg.

Beginning in 1939, the Valley Farm Methodist Church and the Methodist Church of Riverton were served by these ministers, residing in Riverton: Mr. Harold Butts, Mr. Clark McInich, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Trimble.

Finally, Valley Farm was served by ministers from the Methodist Church of Hamburg until January 1956, when fire consumed the building and its contents. This little white church had been a landmark over 75 years.

In April the Official Board of the Hamburg Methodist Church invited the members of Valley Farm for membership and fellowship with the Hamburg Church. They accepted, and the 1957 session of the Iowa conference officially declared the Valley Farm Church in Fremont County to be abandoned and that the assets of the church be transferred to the Methodist Church in Hamburg, Iowa. The money was deposited in the building fund.

Methodist Episcopal Church, South

In 1873 a fine brick church house was erected for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, on the south side of block 9 in Phelps addition at a cost of $3000. In this, regular services and a flourishing Sunday School were maintained until the summer of 1884, when a windstorm so completely demolished it that nothing but the bell was fit for future use.

In 1888, a frame edifice was erected on lot 12, block 81 at a cost of about $1000.

The Fremont Democrat, 1898, ran this article about the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

"The Methodist Episcopal Church South was first organized in Hamburg about thirty-five years ago. Mr. J. P. Godbey, the present pastor came to Hamburg in September 1894. He is a hard and successful worker and the church has steadily grown under his management. Four years is as long a time as a pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church South can remain at one charge, and this being Mr. Godbey’s fourth year, he will no doubt be removed from this point at the next conference.

"Mr. Godbey also preaches at the Valley farm Church, Cox Chapel, in Missouri, and at the church situated on the island in Nebraska."

Although the exact date that the Methodist Church South joined the Methodists in Hamburg is unavailable, it is thought that the two were united somewhat sooner than the 1939 date when the North and south Methodists officially joined their congregations in the United States and became the Methodist Church.

1869 – 1894 The First Twenty – Five Years

1894 marked the end of the first twenty 0 five years of the Hamburg Methodist Church. Much had been accomplished.

A group had organized, and built, and rebuilt a church. Membership had grown from the original 15 to 137 in the church. The Sunday School had 25 teachers, an enrollment of 135, and an average attendance of 100. The pastors’ salaries had grown from less than $300 to approximately $800. Church property had grown from nothing to assets of $6000. Conference claims of $14 were paid in 1894, $40 was given to missions, and $39 was paid in support of the Presiding Elder and the Bishop.

The Methodist Church At The Turn Of The Century

The Reverend Mr. F. L. Hayward came to the Hamburg Methodist Church in October 1898. The Fremont Democrat, March 1898, had an article about him. "In 1897 – 1898 Mr. Hayward received 32 new members into the church. By good management during the past 14 months the church has paid off all old debts and recently made about $200 improvements on the parsonage. The church is at the present time in better condition financially than it has been for years

"Mr. Hayward was first licensed as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1881 at Middleton, Connecticut. He first came to Iowa in September 1892 and was located at Glenwood. In 1896 the Reverend Mr. Hayward crossed the Atlantic Ocean and visited in Italy, France, Germany, England and other European countries."

The Official Board Report for 1896-97 records these facts:

"A called meeting of the members of the conference was held at the church Monday evening, November 23; the Reverend Mr. Hayward, pastor in the chair, and Ella Wilson, acting secretary.

"It was moved and carried that we organize an Official Board, composed of members of the quarterly conference, and that seven members of said board constitute a quorum. It was decided to hold a meeting of the board on Monday of the last week in each month.

"November 30- the board met. The Insurance committee was instructed to raise $16 or more to pay insurance.

"The janitor committee reported finding a man and paying him $1 per week, while ‘the job is well done’."

"April 26, 1897- a committee of four was appointed to purchase a carpet for the church."

The following is an interesting item appearing in the Hamburg Reporter in 1931

"A list of contributors to the Hamburg Methodist church dated February 19, 1900, has been found. Listed were J. F. Redshaw, C. W. Sturgeon, W. S. Bogan, H. R. Wright, J. C. King, W. E. Boye, C. E. Danforth, S. J. Rodda, J.W. Chandler, B. W. Jones, Elizabeth Davis, A. Hydinger, Duke Alberson, Nancy Hurly, Fran Billman, W. F. Green, Fred Lush, Rose Duhig, Frank Harrow, John Parkhurst, D. Gristwold, Ella Burkholder and Nettle Brown."

The records of 1901 describe a new era in the church at the turn of the century. "The church building, built and dedicated in 1870-71, was damaged by a storm and the mortar was loosened between the bricks. Being unsafe and too small, it was torn down, and the cornerstone of the present church was laid in 1901. The members of Jerusalem Lodge No. 253 A. F. and A. M. participated in the ceremony. The building was completed and dedicated in 1902."

The approximate cost of this church was $7000 as shown on the church property evaluation from 1900-1903. The minister of the time was the Reverend Mr. E. H. Fleisher.

One of the oldest papers available for this history, a copy of The Hamburg Republican of February 1910, contained an article about the Hamburg Methodist Church. It included a short sermon on grief and sorrow, by the regular pastor, Herbert W. Dack. It announced morning and evening services by the Reverend Mr. John Zuck, a well known local minister for 64 years,


Mr. Zuck often preached at Cox Chapel, the first Methodist Church in Atchison County, and was the leader of the early settlers who built the Centennial Methodist Church.

The article also announced Epworth League at 6:30, with the topic "how to Work, led by Miss Jennie Notson.

The Methodist Episcopal Church South had preaching at Valley Farm, and at Hamburg, By Mr. D. E. Findley.

In the Hamburg Reporter June 13, 1923, this item appeared.

"The old parsonage building on the Methodist Church lot is being torn down to make way for the new $3000 modern pastor’s home to be erected there. The old building was not very pretentious, yet in its day, it was considered some building. It was made of brick from the Henderson kiln, which was located near the Mincer farmhouse around the bluffs. The house was erected around 1869.

1894-1919 The First Fifty Years

1919 marked the 50th anniversary of the Methodist Church in Hamburg.

A much larger and more beautiful church had been built, and the value of the church property had jumped from $600 to $15,000.

The pastor’s salary had risen from $800 to $2200. Fifteen persons were baptized that year and membership had grown from 137 to 221. The church paid $138 in conference claims, and $159 to missions.

The Sunday School reported 212 enrolled, and 17 teachers on the staff.

Our country was involved in the first World War- and the church was praying for its youth fighting abroad. The Methodist minister of that time, The Reverend Mr. Carl Brown and Mrs. Brown, will long be remembered for their wonderful work during the terrible flu epidemic of 1917-18. Both would go out nights to help nurse the sick, where others were afraid to go. Being the only minister in Hamburg at the time, he often remained at the cemetery, conducting brief services at the grave for as many as eight in one day, for the many who were taken in that epidemic. No public services were held, for fear of further spreading of the scourge. One issue of the Hamburg Reporter contained twenty-three obituaries.

The Methodist Church in the Twenties, Thirties, And Forties

The next available record of activity in the Hamburg Methodist church was 1927. This article appeared in the Hamburg Reporter.

"What was believed to be an attendance record, was set at the Hamburg Methodist church on Easter Sunday, when 613 persons attended Sunday School. This was said to be a record attendance for any Sunday School In Page or Fremont Counties. A contest was being held between the Sidney and Hamburg churches over a period of seven weeks. The total attendance for Hamburg attendance for Hamburg had reached 2498 and the Sidney attendance was 2096 for the same period."

Many families figured prominently in the church during this period. Among them were; Mr. and Mrs. Harry Wieder, Dr. and Mrs. Herbert Coy, Mr. and Mrs. Walter C. Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Hover, Mr. and Mrs. Verne Wray, Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Good, Mr. and Mrs. R. C. God, and Dr. and Mrs. A. E. Wanamaker. These were just a few among many, who contributed much toward the work of the church for many years

Dr. A. E. Wanamaker located and began his medical practice in Hamburg in 1897. During the many years of his life, he met with great success in his profession, was a leading an enterprising citizen, and, with his wife, was an active pillar in the Methodist Church. He served as president of the board for many years before his death in 1954.

Throughout the years the music program of the church has contributed much toward the dignity and beauty of the service. Many individuals have been responsible for this

Louvera Toedt Good’s contributions to the ‘good life’ in the city of Hamburg, in numerous organizations, and in the Methodist Church were multiple.

After graduating from Cottey College, Louvera Toedt taught music in the Hamburg P8blic Schools from 1904 until her marriage to R. C. Good in 1908.

In 1929 she organized a group, which has been active in the Hamburg community since that time- the Saint Cecelia Choir.

Mrs. Good was pianist and choir director in the Methodist Church from 1904 until her death in 1931.

Mrs. Harold S. Martin began her long service in the music department of the church in 1929. She was at first pianist, then organist, and often choir director, as well, during the next 34 years.

Mrs. Victor Berrier joined her as choir director in 1940 and served until 1945.

A gift of $100 from Dr. A. E. Wanamaker to Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Berrier for their labors with the choirs was donated for the building of the altar and cross in the fellowship room of the church.

The new pipe organ at the Methodist Church was dedicated on December 20 1942, with a vesper service. Mrs. Victor Berrier, choir director, and Mr. Harold S. Martin, organist, were in charge of the program. The Girls’ choir and the Junior Choir appeared together in several selections. The Girls’ Choir wore their new maroon robes for the first time.

In April 1940, the Women’s Home Missionary Society celebrated its 60th anniversary with program at the church.

In February 1941, the Methodists dedicated their new basement. During the summer of 1940 improvements had been made in the church building, including the creation of a basement room to provide Sunday School space. Harry Wieder, on behalf of the building committee, presented the fellowship room to the church, and in a short address spoke of the work and the splendid cooperation received on all sides. Dr. A. E Wanamaker, chairman of the board, accepted the room for the church. In his remarks he spoke of the building of the church in 1901 and told much of the history of the enterprise. The sermon of the morning was delivered by Dr. W. H. Meredith, whose father was pastor of the local church just before the new edifice was built. A basket dinner was held at noon, and a surprise feature was the presentation of a huge birthday cake to Dr. A. E. Wanamaker, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday.

In 1942 the board voted to have Sunday bulletins; the floor and wall in the north room were finished, and new carpeting was purchased. The south side of the church was painted.

Bishop J. Ralph Magee, the Methodist bishop in, charge of the Des Moines area, comprising the States of Iowa and South Dakota, preached at the Methodist Church in 1943. This was the first visit of a Methodist Bishop to the local church in more than forty years.

The Hamburg Reporter described the service;

"The occasion of his visit was to dedicate the renewed sanctuary. A communion table, candlesticks, lighted cross and lectern were given by Charles Holtzinger of Yakimar, Washington in memory of his mother, one of the charter members had become acquainted with Mr. Holtzinger, a fact which came out during the ceremony. A picture, "Jesus Looking Over Jerusalem," was the gift from Mr. and Mrs. Will Rageth, and the painting of the worship center background was the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Verne Wray.

"The following ceremony of dedication the Bishop administered the rites of baptism to five children in a very impressive service."

At this time the Reverend Mr. Henry Teele was completing his first year as pastor of the local congregation. During that year many improvements had been made in the church including the installation of the pipe organ, remodeling of the social room, some redecorating, and acquiring new sanctuary furniture and equipment.

Mr. Teele also had four additional very successful years in Hamburg. His work with the young people included youth from the entire town, and there was great advancement in all lines of church endeavor.

He later became a District Superintendent and was appointed to the Council Bluffs district. He served Hamburg in that capacity from 1960-1966.

1919-1944 The First Seventy-Five Years

The last two events chronicled in the first 75 years of the Hamburg Methodist Church were;

In 1914 a sidewalk was laid, and – Termites were found in the parsonage!!

The country was again at war, and the church, too, had felt the uncertainty of the times before and during it.

The membership had fluctuated from the 221 of 1919 upward to 383 in 1927, 528 in 1938, and 541 in 1942 to 259 in 1944

Church property evaluation had risen from $15,000 to $18,000.

The pastor’s salary had fluctuated from the $2200 of 1919, to $2900 in 1928, to $1620 in 1932, to $1350 in 1940, and back to $2300 in 1944.

The Sunday School had an enrollment of 198, and an average attendance of 85.

In 1944 the following apportionments were paid in full by the church; $356 for the District Superintendent, $50 for the Bishop and conference claims of $275.

The Last Twenty-Five Of The First Hundred Years

The sale of the Cox Chapel Church was announced in the Hamburg Reporter in November 1945, and the article record interesting observations on the fate of churches during that decade.

"The building and site of the Cox Chapel Church were sold last week by the Northwest Missouri conference. The equipment, which consisted of seats, songbooks and regular church equipment, was sold to the Assembly of God Church in Hamburg. The buyer of the site and the building was a farmer who owns land south of that location, whose name we were unable to obtain.

"Thus a landmark of the community has passed out of existence and a church which has served many families through the years is gone. These churches are lost only because there is not enough interest to keep them up. Many communities have lost churches during the past decade, due to the shift of the population and the lack of interest in church maintenance. It is hoped that the fine people of this community will place their membership in nearby churches and lose no time in their regular church and religious activities."

In 1947 an annex was built on the east side of the Hamburg Methodist Church by the Merry-Mixer’s, a young couples’ group of the church.

This group, under the direction of their leaders at the time, Mr. and Mrs. John Meek, did nearly all of the work themselves. The members provided all necessary funds through special moneymaking projects. Vernance McNall donated the brick for the exterior of this addition.

When completed, the annex provided the church with a much-needed room for the young couples’ Sunday School class, and also two restrooms.

The Merry-Mixer Class was organized at the close of the war. Carter Johnson was elected to teach the class, and served through 1951, with the assistance of Howard Hamilton and Superintendent of Schools I. J. Hickman. Membership numbered some fifty men and women. The Merry-Mixers remained an active group till the early 1960’s.

Carter Johnson later went into full time Christian Service. He serves as an educational assistant, and then to Grace Methodist Church in Des Moines.

In August 1948, the Methodist Church suffered a fire damage of some 10,000 dollars when the edifice was struck by lightning. There was extensive damage to the interior. The loss was partly covered by insurance, but the remainder was still a heavy cost to the local congregation.

The organ was a total loss, and one of the rolling curtains between rooms was ruined. Another fire caught over the communion table in the rear of the chancel area. Expensive choir robes were lost, and a large quantity of music was also destroyed.

The official board of the church met and plans were immediately formed for repairing the building.

In October, the church received the gift of a Wurlitzer organ, and a full set of chimes and an amplifying system from R. Clifford Good of Glenwood, Iowa in memory of his wife, Mrs. Louvena Good.

These beautiful chimes are still in use in the church.

On December 26, 1948, the members of the Methodist congregation were happy to be back in their own church. Services were held at the Colonial Theater and the high school auditorium, while the work of repairing and redecorating the church was in progress.

The church was rededicated Sunday, February w, 1949. Mr. Cecil C. Latta, the minister at that time, was in charge. The message at the morning service was delivered by Dr. W. F. Clayburg, District Superintendent. The Louvena Good memorial organ dedication service was held in the afternoon. Mrs. Harold S. Martin opened the service with a short organ recital. Among the selections was a special arrangement of Mr. Good’s some years before, The Saint Cecelia Choir, organized by Mrs. Good, sang two numbers.

Dr. A. E. Wanamaker, president of the board, made the formal presentation of the gifts.

In July 949 another fire occurred in the church. This fire was confined to the choir loft and had burned itself out before it was discovered. There was considerable smoke damage, and injury to the curtains and the side of the organ.

This item about Mr. J. H. Freedline, who was pastor of the church from 1921-1924, and who retired June 1. 1950 appeared in the Hamburg Reporter July 27, 1950.

"Mr. J. H. Freedline, who celebrated his fiftieth anniversary in the ministry last week, was surprised Sunday morning when the members of his congregation presented him with gifts, in recognition of the anniversary. Mr. Freedline filled the local pulpit in the absence of the regular pastor, who is on vacation.

"Following the announcements in the regular order of service, Herman Hinze presented the minister with a large basket of flowers, sent by the couples living in this community whom he had married, and Fred W. Hill presented him with a gift made up by different members of the congregation."

September 11, 1950, Hamburg received a visit from another Iowa Resident Bishop, Charles Brashares. This was a part of the Bishops Crusade when he visited all churches in the Council Bluffs district.

Don Athen, son of Mr. and Mrs. Orville Athen, was baptized that Sunday by the bishop.

In 1951 Mrs. Fred Hill donated a new altar, cross and candelabra in memory of her husband, who passed away in November 1950.

At the time of the Gay Nineties Festival September 27, 1951, this article appeared in the Hamburg Reporter concerning the parade.

"Then came the floats which were entered for prizes, with the first in line the float entered by the Methodist church. It was built around an open convertible and entirely covered with fresh, white gladioli. Several choir girls rode in the car and decorations in gold called attention to the coming anniversary celebration of the laying of the cornerstone of the present Methodist church in 1901. The entry won first prize."

On October 23, 1951, the Methodist Church celebrated the 50th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the present church. The church was rededicated in a special golden anniversary service. The main features of the service were an organ recital by Dr. Robert W. Magin, Minister of Music at Grace Methodist Church in St. Louis, and a sermon by Dr. Wesley H., Hagen, senior minister of the same church. The Saint Ceclia Choir, under the direction of Mrs. A. M. Selk, sang accompanied by Mrs. H. S. martin.

The pastor at this time was the Reverend Mr. Fay McDonald who remained in Hamburg form 1951 to 1955. Mr. McDonald was a talented tenor, as well as a very able minister and he added much to the enjoyment of the services with his singing and other musical accomplishments.

Beginning around 1951 Mrs. Irvin Barnett made a large contribution to the music department of the church, as choir director.

Mrs. Barnett was the former Katherine Hill, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hill, who for many years had been vital workers in the town and the Methodist Church.

Mrs. Barnett directed the adult chancel Choir for many years and organized Cherub and Junior Choirs in the late fifties. Mr. and Mrs. Barnett purchased, and donated the church twenty-four blue faille robes for the use of the Junior Choir.

In 1962 Mr. and Mrs. Barnett moved to south Missouri, and Mrs. John Woodward became choir director.

In the fall of 1964 mothe4rs of the youth choirs and Mrs. Woodward started a drive for money to purchase robes for the Cherub Choir. Over $500 was generously donated, and twenty-four robes, forty-eight blue and gold satin stoles (for both youth choirs) and a steel robe cabinet were purchased.

The children wore their new robes for the first time on Christmas Sunday, 1964.

Mrs. Ray Hodde, Miss Peggy Bright, and Mrs. Paul Fletcher have served as accompanists to the youth choirs.

Since 1964 Mrs. Wayne Smith has been organist for the church, and accompanist for the chancel, and often the youth choirs as well. Prior to that time Miss Ellen Rice, Miss Jean Elder and Mrs. Marvin Oakes had also served as organists.

In 1966, Mrs. Max Keys took over the direction of the Chancel Choir. She had also served intermittently in that capacity in previous years.

The Reverend Mr. M. J. Nash came to Hamburg charge in 1958. He remained here for seven years, longer than any previous minister. His ability and diplomacy in getting along and working with people, and his understanding and guidance of the yo7ung people was highly regarded by the congregation His tireless efforts were a great help in the Wesley Hall project. Mrs. Nash was also very active in youth education. Their daughter, Marion, served as organist and choir accompanist during their stay in Hamburg.

In April 1959, the interior of the church was redecorated and new doors were added between the sanctuary and fellowship hall.

In November 1959, a gift of a new organ was made by Mr. and Mrs. Carl O. Sjulin, and dedicated in the memory of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Hines, and Mr. and Mrs. John L. Sjulin. The Louvena Good memorial organ had been irreparably damaged by fire.

In April 1960, $2375 was spent to repaint and clean and redecorate the church exterior.

In January 1961, Mrs. Miller Payne, Jr. made a gift of new entrance doors to the church.

The minister of the Hamburg Methodist Church began to serve the Methodist Church at Watson, Missouri in 1960. In December of 1963 the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Church, both at Watson, began to hold church together with Mr. M. J. Nash as their pastor.

The chief project of this period in the early 1960’s was the acquisition of more space for Sunday School classrooms.

Wesley Hall’s Beginning

For some time Hamburg Methodists had realized the need for more adequate Christian Education facilities. When conditions were at their best, the classes were cramped, with only screens between them. When water stood in the basement, as it did often, the classes were all crowded together upstairs, and even overflowed into the parsonage.

Early in May 1960, the trustees met to consider a new proposal. Some of the men had examined the Mincer house across from the church, and reported it was structurally sound and could be remodeled into an excellent Church School building. It was decided to try to purchase the property, and a few days later the deal was closed. Church record show property acquired by deed, August 22, 1960- Lots 10, 11, and 12- Block 18.

The Board of Trustees appointed Harold S. Martin, Arnold Prather, Carl Sjulin and Orville Athen to constitute the construction committee. These men selected Arnold Prather to serve as Superintendent of Construction, and in the months that followed he donated many hours to the job.

The commission on Education appointed a committee made up of Mr. Dean Aistrope, Mrs. Deene Fisher, and Mrs. Glenn Fisher and Orville Athen, to serve as consultants concerning the Church School’s needs.

Shortly thereafter, work was begun. With the help of equipment from Inter-State Nurseries, the heavy growth of brush was cleared off the lots, porches were torn off the building, and the big remodeling task was under way. In the months that followed, grounds and building were transformed, with Mr. Prather directing work on the building, and Mr. Sjulin taking charge of the landscaping.

The major part of the construction was completed by fall. Work then continued on plumbing, heating, floor tiling, painting, furnishing, etc., and on May 7, 1961, the first services were conducted in Wesley Hall.

The Woman’s Society of the Christian Service and several individuals contributed equipment and furnishings for the building, and the Sunday School teachers were generous with their time, money, and effort as the made their rooms ready. Mrs. Deene Fisher, Sunday School Superintendent at that time, and all the teachers, were in a great part responsible for the smooth transition to, and the organization in the new building. All were thankful for the vast improvement in teaching conditions made possible by having these sixteen private Sunday School rooms.

The building also contained kitchen facilities, a dining room, and an assembly room. Outside was a much-needed parking lot.

The building was dedicated "Wesley Hall" on November 19, 1961. Dr. Henry Teele, Superintendent of the Council Bluffs District, delivered the address.

Wesley Hall, the "Old Mincer house" had belonged to Mrs. Lottie Mincer, who died at the age of 90 in July 1944.

Mrs. Mincer came to Hamburg shortly after the Civil War, making the trip from Indiana in a covered wagon and new spring buggy.

She is lovingly remembered for her work with flowers- developing many new varieties, and her faithful service to the Methodist Church. For many years she placed bouquets of flowers on the altar every Sunday.

This service to the church and it congregation has been beautifully carried out in recent years by Mr. Fred Hill, Mrs. Carl Sjulin, and Mrs. Richard Sjulin.

The Church School And Youth Programs

The church’s educational program, which was so facilitated by the addition of Wesley Hall, has been quite active during all the years of the church’s history.

In the last twenty-five years five people have served as Sunday School Superintendent Fritz Jaeckel, 6 years; Carter Johnson, 3 years; Mrs. Deene Fisher, 9 years; Mrs. Robert Sjulin, 7 years; and Mrs. Orville Athen, who was the Secretary previously, and Superintendent at the time of this writing. This job was a very demanding and time consuming one, and these persons devoted many hours to the planning for, and guiding of the church youth. Many other names are remembered in the church school department such as: Mr. Harold L. Martin, Mrs. J. M. Beach, Sr., Mrs. Carl Athen, and Mrs. Ruby Beasley, but adequate records are not available to detail their many and devoted services.

Mrs. Dean Aiatrope has been chairman of the Commission on Education for many years and Mr. Harold Zanker has been in charge of the summer Vacation Bible School.

Mrs. Glenn Fisher deserves special notice as Sunday School secretary, and as Primary Department Superintendent for over twenty years. She also has the Church School’s most outstanding record of twenty-three years of perfect attendance.

The youth fellowship program, formerly known as the Epworth League, was mentioned as having been formed as early as 1894. Since 1944 it has been known as the Methodist Youth ‘Fellowship. It has been active through the years, providing a needed program of rec4r4eation, fellowship, and study for the youth of the church.

The Senior High grou0 as well as the Junior High fellowship take part in many charitable as well as social activities. Among them are Christmas caroling, and collecting each year for UNICEF. In 1963 the two groups earned money to help purchase the Christian and United States Flag, which now stand back of the altar.

The Women’s Society of Christian Service

No history of the Methodist Church could be complete without the mention of one of its hardest working organizations, the innumerable contributions to the care and upkeep of the parsonage and the church, to mission at home and abroad, and to the general functioning of church business and activities.

Since 1952 seven ladies have labored long hours as the organization’s presidents; Mrs. Ralph Ledgerwood, Mrs. H. F. Jaeckel, Mrs. Harold S. Martin, Mrs. Carl Athen, Mrs. Arnold Prather, Mrs. Miller Payne, Jr. and Mrs. A. .E. Gardner. The officers of the Centennial year of 1969 are: President, Mrs. A. E. Gardner; 1st Vice President, Mrs. Willard Grebe; 2nd Vice President, Mrs. Carl Athen; Secretary, Mrs. Fred Nichol; and Treasurer, Mrs. Keith Fender.

Two names, as always among many, stand out in recent years, Mrs. Clyde Scoles and Mrs. Willard Grebe, for their many and long hours of work as head of the Special Activities committee.

The Mother-Daughter and Father-Son Banquets have become pleasant traditions sponsored by the W. S. C. S., as has the May Breakfast.

As before mentioned the first time a group of Hamburg Methodist organized a food stand at the Sidney Rodeo as a money raising idea, was in 1942. This became a yearly project, managed by the W.S.C.S.

In 1964, the management of the rodeo food stand was taken over by the Official Board. Robert Nahkunst and John Woodward served as co0chairmen, with Richard Dooley, Max Moore and Herbert Coon also, on some years.

The week is on of hard work, but also of close co-operation and fellowship for the entire congregation. The members of the church are involved, and in addition, many other townspeople, who enjoy connection with the church, lend their support. In 1967, the stand grossed more than $7000.

Two name, among the many loyal workers, stand out through the years for their unlimited giving and endurance the entire week. They are Mrs. C. D. Wright and Mrs. Clyde Scoles (and of course, their husbands).

In January of 1965 Howard F. Ball was appointed to serve as pastor of the church. The Balls are remembered for the gracious manner in which they opened their home to foster children.

In 1965, the Methodist Church was the recipient of a bequest in the will of Mrs. J. F. Riedy.

Flora Toedt Riedy was a Hamburg lady who, for many years, was active in business, civic and social affairs, and a member of conscientious officer of many organizations. Se had many beautiful things and many, many books. She was a quiet benefactress to many who never saw her, and left, at her death in 1965, scholarships for high school graduates, and a substantial sum for the use of the Methodist Church. This gift, in the amount in excess of $13,000 is being used primarily in three ways: for the establishment of an Educational Loan Fund, a Sanctuary Renovation Fund, and a Parsonage Building Fund.

In January 1966, the Methodist Church lost one of its most beloved members, Mr. fritz Jaeckel. AT the time of his death he was serving as Chairman of the Board of the church, as well as being an active member of the Sunday School and the Chancel Choir. He had served as Superintendent of the Sunday School for six years, and was a great leader and diplomat. His generosity, far-sightedness, and youthful attitude, endeared him to young and old alike, and marked him as a true Christian Gentleman.

William E. Ballard came to Hamburg for his first pastorate in 1966. He had served as Minister of Education at Broadway Methodist Church in Council Bluffs. His enthusiasm, ability, and qualities of organization pushed the church to new goals and achievements. His wife, Sue Ellen, in addition to caring for three small boys, is active in the music department of the church as well as in the other women’s organizations.

Church activities during this period included the dedication of The Methodist Hymnal in its newly authorized form on Sunday, December 11, 1966.

An introduction to the new hymnal was given by Mrs. John Woodward, and the choir, under her direction, and accompanied by Mrs. Wayne Smith, organist, led the congregation in singing of many hymns.

The new hymnal replaces the Methodist Hymnal, authorized and printed in 1935, as the official hymnbook of the Methodist Church.

The Methodist Church has been an active participant in the community fall celebration of Popcorn Day. Floats have been entered four years.

In 1967, Mrs. M. M. Payne, Jr., made a gift of a chapel and study built on the southeast corner of the church. Mrs. Payne supervised the decorating as well as the building, making it both a beautiful and useful addition. The exterior brick and roof were matched to the main building so well that it is scarcely realized as an addition.

The architect and designer of this addition was Mr. Phillip Hamilton of Kansas City, Missouri. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Hamilton.

Many of the furnishings in the study were given in memory of Mr. H. F. Jaeckel.

The Methodist Chapel and Study was dedicated on November 19, 1967, by Dr. Alvin T. Mayberry, District Superintendent of the Council Bluffs District, with Mr. Ballard and Mr. Jack Nash assisting. Mrs. Harold S. Martin was at the organ and directed the Saint Cecelia Choir. The Methodist Cherub and Junior Choirs under the direction of Mr. John Woodward also presented special music.

In May 1968, the Methodist Churches in Iowa and across the country combined with the Evangelical United Brethren Church, and became known as the First United Methodist Church.

Shortly after the Centennial committee was organized in June 1968, the church sponsored a visit by the Reverend Mr. Billy Richardson, as a "kick-off" service to make people aware of the centennial year of the church.

Mr. Richardson, who referred to himself as a "Space Age Circuit Rider," was in Hamburg on July 1968. This was just prior to his ride on horseback over the pony Express trail, to commemorate the work of the Methodist Circuit Riders in the 1800’s

One member of the congregation, in this year of 1969, ties today’s members closely to the founding fathers.

Mrs. Arthur Gill is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Asa Mann, great granddaughter of Mrs. Mary Scott, and the grand niece of Mr. and Mrs. James Mann, Mr. and Mrs. Milton Holtzinger and Mrs. Marcia Ashton, all listed as original members of the church organized in Hamburg in 1869.

1944-1969 The Last Twenty-Five Years of the first 100

In summing up the progress of the last 25 years, one sees first the comeback from another fire, and the extensive building additions in Wesley Hall and the new Chapel and Study. The forward and progressive ways within the church are noticeable in the advanced new hymnal, the church magazines, and the ideas and action on present day social conditions at home and abroad.

The spirit of co-operation within the Hamburg Church is probably most obvious each year at rodeo tie, but it is evident in the jobs done together the year round as well.

The church membership now numbers 314. Twenty-five persons were baptized this last year, and 16 members added to the roll.

The ministers’ salaries have risen steadily over these years to $6,450 in 1968.

The church property evaluation has risen to $199,659.

The church school has an enrollment of 177, and an average attendance of 11w.

The giving of the church has increased to the point where also claims are paid. In addition, in 1968 several hundred dollars were given to special causes as ‘second mile giving’. Conference claims of $1,690, and World Service and Conference Benevolences of $1,931 were paid in the past year. This church has met in full, its share of the work, ministry, and mission of the Methodist Church during its history.

In looking back over the first hundred years, one observes the many accomplishments of the devoted members of the First United Methodist Church of Hamburg, Iowa.

May God grant that with the inspiration of our forefathers we may go on to achieve new and unimagined heights as practicing Christians in the next hundred years.

Official Board Members

First United Methodist Church

Hamburg, Iowa


Chairman: Robert Nahkunst
Recording Steward and Secretary: Ava Elder


Class of 1969 Class of 1970 Class of 1971
M. F. Brookshire Orville Athen, Chm C.O. Sjulin
Edwin Getscher Howard Hamilton C.D. Wright
Harold L Martin Clyde Scoles Arnold Prather



Class of 1969 Class of 1970 Class of 1971
Mrs. Clyde Scoles Mrs. Carl Sjulin Robert Nahkunst
Dick Dooley Max Moore Mrs. Charles Warnstaff
Mrs. Walter Liess Mrs. Clifford Zack Mrs. Robert Sjulin
Mrs. C. D. Wright Mrs. Fred Nichol Herman Hinze
Harold S. Martin Mrs. Carl Smith A. L. Gill
Bill Lamb Mrs. Carl Athen Dean Aistrope
Gene Hinze Herb Coon Lyle Houts
Jay Beach, Jr. Mrs. Dellis Brandt Dr. J. H. Bangs
Carl Jaeckel Paul Bramble Lyall Reed
Mrs. Olin Maupin John Meek Mrs. Paul Fletcher
Mrs. Ava Elder Mrs. Harlan Holliman Miss Grace Jones
Mrs. Harold S. Martin Mrs. Paul Matthews


Mrs. Fred Hill Alvin Connor


Lay Leader- Edwin Getscher Associate Lay Leader-Lyle Houts
Lay Member to Annual Conference-Edwin Getscher
Alternate-Herbert Coon

Church School General Superintendent-Mrs. Orville Athen
Church School General Superintendent-Mrs. Orville Athen
Church School Children’s Division Superintendent-Mrs. Glen Fisher
Chairman, Commission on Education-Mrs. Dean Aistrope
Chairman, Commission on membership and Evangelism-Mrs. F. L. Jaeckel
Chairman, Commission on Missions-Miss Ellen Rice
Chairman, Commission on Christian Social Concerns-Dellis Brandt
Chairman, Commission on Stewardship and Finance-John Woodward
Chairman, Commission on Stewardship and Finance-John Woodward
Chairman, Commission on Worship-Mrs. John Woodward
Church Treasurer-Mrs. John Meek
Financial Secretaries-Richard Dooley-Mrs. Floyd Bright
Hospital and Homes Steward and Goodwill Secretary-Mrs. David Sjulin
Secretary of Christian Vocations-Mrs. Herman Hinze
Chairman Pastoral Relations Committee- Lyle Houts
Chairman Parsonage Committee- Mrs. Robert Nahkunst
Chairman, Memorial Fund Committee- Mrs. Miller Payne, Jr.
Public Relations- Mrs Glenn Fisher
Senior Citizens- Mrs. Glenn Halcomb
Camp Co-coordinator- Mrs. Robert Sjulin
Chairman, Women’s Society of Christian Service- Mrs. A. E. Gardner
Methodist Youth Fellowship Sponsor- W. E. Ballard
Director of Music-Mrs. John Woodward
Inter-Church Council Representatives-Herbert Coon Miss Jeanne Fender
Chairman Audit Committee-Paul Fletcher
Chairman Janitorial Committee-M. F. Brookshier
Representative to County Methodist Committee-Lyle Houts
Chairman, Every Member Visitation-Richard Dooley
Chairman Vacation Church School Committee-Mrs. Dean Aistrope
Chairman Communion Stewards- Mrs. Ralph Ledgerwood
Chairman Nominating Committee- W. E. Ballard
Chairman, Flora T. Riedy Education Loan Fund Committee-Dellis Brandt
Chairman, Sanctuary Renovation Committee-Harold L. Martin
Chairmen Centennial Committee- Mrs. John Woodward, Mrs, Miller Payne, III

History Time Line

  1862        Four years after the settlement of Hamburg, pioneer settlers organized a Sunday School in a carpenter shop on the north side of Block 26. (Between Main Street and Park Street and F & G Streets)

  1866-67   The first regular services were held by circuit riders and ininerant ministers traviling the new railroad.

  1869        The Hamburg Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by 23 people and the Hamburg circuit was formed by the Iowa Conference. It included the towens of Civil Ben, Eastport, Spring Valley and Mill Creek. “I.M O’Flying was sent as its shepherd.”

  1870        “A beautiful Gothic frame church”, was built on the east side of Block 22 (East of Bluff Street, between E & F Streets), at a cost of $3200. It was dedicated on July 12.

  On August 27, a storm destroyed twenty buildings in Hamburg, including the new Methodist Church.

  1871        The cornerstone for the second Methodist Church was laid June 29 on the site of the present church. The cost of this church was $4000. Bishop James Andrews conducted the dedication service.

  1872        Land was acquired adjacent to the church and a parsonage was built.

  1873                Hamburg was a town of 2500 people and the Methodists requested and obtained the undivided service of a pastor

  1880        The Women’s Missionary Society was organized.

  1894        The Hamburg Methodist Epworth League was organized with 64 members.

  1896        The first Official Board was organized.

  1901        The church built in 1871 was torn down after a storm loosened the mortar between the bricks and the cornerstone of the present church was laid. The total cost of this church was $7000. E.L. Fliesher was the minister

1913        The old parsonage was torn down and a new one erected at a cost of $3000.

  1919        At the 50th anniversary of Hamburg Methodism, the church membership was 221, the Sunday School enrollment was 212 and the church property evaluation was $15,500.

  1927        An attendance record was set on Easter Sunday when 613 people attended Sunday School as a result of a contest between Sidney and Hamburg.

  1940        A basement was dug under the church to provide space for Sunday School.

  1942        A $1,000 pip organ was purchased and dedicated December 20th. The choir wore their new maroon choir robes. Mrs. Harold S. Martin and Mrs. Victor Barrier were in charge. The Rev. J. Henry Teele was the minister.

  1943        Bishop J., Ralph Magher, Bishop of Iowa and South Dakota preached at the Methodist Church.

  1947        An annex, consisting of a young people’s Sunday School classroom and two restrooms was built on the east side of the church, with funds collected by and with the labor of the merry Mixers group 

1948        The church suffered fire damage of $10,00 in August when it was hit by lightening. The organ and the interior of the church received the most damage.

  1949        The church was repaired and rededicated in February and a new pipe organ was purchased in memory of Louvena Good, but there was another fire in July. This fire was confined to the choir loft and the organ.

  1950        Iowa resident Bishop Charles Brashares visited the Hamburg Church.

  1959                Katherine Barnett donated 24 blue faille choir robes for the Junior Choir she had          organized.

                  A new organ was purchased by Una Sjulin..

  1961        The church purchased the Mincer house across F. Street in 1960 and Wesley Hall was completed and dedicated in November, 1961. The Rev. Jack Nash was the minister.

  1964        The choir mothers purchased gold faille robes for the Cherub Choir and stoles for both the Cherubs and Juniors. Trudy Woodward was the director and Marion Nash was the organist. The children wore their new robes and stoles for the first time on Christmas Sunday.

  1965        The Flora Reidy Scholarship was established.

  1966        The new Methodist Hymnal was dedicated in December. It replaced the on published in 1935.

  1967        Mrs. Miller Payne, Jr. gifted the church with the building of a chapel-study on the southeast corner of the church.

  1969        The Hamburg Methodists held their Centennial Celebration on March 9th. Iowa Bishop James Thomas gave the afternoon address. The Rev. William Ballard was the minister.

                  Church membership had reached 314, Sunday School enrollment was 199 and the church property was valued at $200,000. After the first 100 years, a history of the First United Methodist Church was written by Trudy Woodward and Mary Sjulin and published in book form.

                  After 27 years, the Methodists cancelled their stand at the Sidney Rodeo. It has been organized in 1942 to help earn funds for a new pipe organ.

1971        A sanctuary redecoration project and kitchen renovation was completed, and air conditioning was installed.               

  1973        The Chancel Choir wore their new gold faille robes first in April.

  1975        New pews for the sanctuary were donated by Dr. and Mrs. J.H. Bang.

  1976        Mrs. Miller Payne, Jr. donated the fiberglass spire and cross which was placed on the top of the church.

  1977        The first fall bazaar was organized by Shirley Powers and Virginia Lamb. They grossed $1,402.86. 

1979        A house was purchased in Golden Acres for $42,000 for a new parsonage.

  1980        A cement ramp was completed to the west door of the church. The back room was renovated, the bathrooms were remodeled, and there were major improvements in the kitchen.

  1981        The old parsonage and the Stuart house were razed.

  1983        Heritage Sunday in April was a preview of the Methodist Bicentennial Celebration, with the choir and congregation dressed in old-fashioned clothing and choir giving a special cantata.

  1984                Hamburg Methodist’s Bicentennial Celebration included nine separate programs covering our spiritual and physical growth. The Rev. Kenneth Bell was the minister and guiding hand.

                  METHODIST BICENTENNIAL---the beginning of our Denomination. “Proclaiming Grace and Freedom for 200 years.” In Methodist history: In 1784, sixty frontier circuit riders met Christmas Eve at Lovely Lane Meeting House in Baltimore, Maryland to be ordained and to consider Wesley’s pain for the Church. 

                Year of planned Celebrations for the Hamburg Methodist Church.

                  January---Introduction of plans, history and invitation to celebrate by Trudy Woodward.

                February—John Wesley type service with circuit rider (Ken Bell), by Pat Reid.

                March--Heritage Sunday with history, pictures and memorabilia, by Mary Sjulin.

                April--Focus on Women by Joann Beam

                May--Focus on Children by Nancy Buckalew and Pat Reid.

                June--Methodist Hymnody by Marilyn Smith and Trudy Woodward

                July--Old-Fashioned Camp Meeting in the par, by Joan Payne

                November--Thanksgiving Sunday Bicentennial Contara by Marilyn Smith and the Chancel Choir.

                December—Remembering the Christmas Conference of 1884 and Challenging the Future by Trudy Woodward

                  A Bicentennial quilt (Jan Hines) and a Church Directory were other projects of the year.


1985        A tape ministry was introduced in our church.

  1988        The Sunday School sponsored a “Wesley Hall Shower” to refurbish and add new equipment to Wesley Hall.

  1989        New Methodist Hymnals and Pew Bibles were purchased and arrived in November. A new Stereo-audio system was purchased and new lighting was installed in the Fellowship Room.

  1990        Church cookbooks, a project of Judy Holliman and Linda Kay Thompson were assembled, printed and sold in February.

                A church auction and bake sale were held in May to earn money to redecorate Fellowship Hall.

                  A new plate, showing the church and Wesley Hall was sold by the choir.

  1991        The church was beautifully decorated and was a stop on the Hamburg “Holiday Tour of Homes”, on the day of the U. M. W. Bazaar.

  1992        In April, the Methodist Men presented the “Living Dramatization of Leonardo di Vinci’s The Last Supper.

                  Plans were drawn up for a new Sunday School annex.

  1994        Jay and Millie Beach were honored as Grand Marshals of the Popcorn Day Festivities in September.

                  Celebration on November 13, of 125 years of Methodism in Hamburg. Two services were held with capacity crowds – Kenneth Bell and William Ballard preaching. A play, “Laying the Cornerstone”, written and directed by Linda Phillips, was presented by the youth. 50 ear (and more), members were honored. A directory, “Celebrating the Past, Planning the Future” was printed. It was organized by Jan Hines.

                  The Children’s Christmas program, “The Littlest Star”, was narrated and directed by Lana Brandt.

  1995-96                Construction of the new addition wing (the congregation contributed labor, pledges, prayers and support). Total cost of the project was approximately $160,000. The building chair was Jan Hines and some of the workers were: Don and Jody Athen, Gary and Carol Barrett, Don and Joann Beam, Barbara Brandt, Lana Brandt, Mike Haun, Judy and Kelly Holliman, Bob and Jan Hines, Lyle Houts, Virgil and Virginia Lynn, Vic Murphy, Jim and Gary Nahkunst, Marvin Oakes, Dick Payne, Carl Phillips, Andy Rubenking, Dan Sturm, Mark Sturm, Randy teeters, Greg and Sue Warden, Dave and Debbie White, Ivan Woltemath, and Tom Woodward.

                  June 16, 1996 – The building was dedicated with District Superintendent Henry Bevel as speaker.

                  Vacation Bible School was a joint endeavor of all churches. The theme was “Market Place 29 A.D.” 121 children attended and 45 adults helped to recreate the time when Jesus lived.

                  A program “The Christmas Story Through The Eyes of the Friendly Beast”, was planned and directed by Tami Gardner, Kelly Holliman and Julie Swenson.


1997 – 2002

BY pastor Lillian Seagren and Trudy Woodward

  1997        The church participated in the building of the first Habitat for Humanity house.

                  The Youth Group was organized with Mike Agnew leading.

                  The Choir and Sunday School children presented  “The Sweetest Story.”

                  New keyboard was purchased and donated by Kenneth & Virginia Smalley.

                  Memorial money purchased a new office typewriter, 2 tables for the dining area, 3 memorial boards with 60 name plaques each, an office computer and printer, rock for the parking areas outside the new addition, a computer desk and chair, bathroom accessories for the new addition, and for the parsonage, a storm door and door hardware, a carbon-dioxide detector and a garage door opener. A thousand dollars was given to the new church furnace.

  1998                Christmas Par aments were purchased in memory of Mozelle Fisher made by a friend of Kaye Wilson (Mozelle’s daughter).

                  A food bank was started by our Mission Committee.

                  Vacation Bible School was again a joint effort of all the churches with 136 children attending., The theme was “Children From Different Countries.”

                  Pastor Lilian celebrated a Filipino Birthday with the church.

                  The UMW led worship on Conference Sunday using the “Pageant of the Cross”. Participating was. Jody Athen, Betty Clayton, Debbie Gardner, Judy Holliman, Carla Nahkunst, Shirley Oakes, and Trudy Woodward.

                  “Hanging of the Greens”. The tree was donated by Marty Gardner, was decorated by the handmade “Christmons”, made by the Pastor Lillian and the Sunday School children. Marty Gardner and Judy Holliman decorated the church.

                  The Youth Group prepared and served a “Teacher Appreciation Lunch.”

                  The Children’s Christmas Program, “The Grumpy Shepherd”, was presented during the worship hour with 24 children and the youth choir taking part. It was directed by teachers Debbie Gardner, Virginia Lynn, Shirley Oakes, Pastor Lillian Seagren and Julie Swenson.

  1999        Youth Trip to the International Gathering of the United Methodists Youth in Nashville, Tennessee.

                               Debbie Sturm and Julie Swenson organized a group of pre-school through sixth grade kids to become the “Kids In Mission” group at the church. Their activities include; 2nd Wednesday of the month meetings, various mission projects and events.

                  Easter Par aments and Green/Purple sets were purchased by the Memorial Committee using memorial gifts.

                  A new computer with printer and scanner was purchased by the Memorial Committee. Charlie Gardner Created our web page.

                  Vacation Bible School was again a joint effort of churches with 128 children attending and about 50 adults. The theme was “Taking Care of the Earth”, with “Ecology Man” present. This year they added an adult class. The last day, the children dug a time capsule at the school yard.

                  In September, Danny and Jean Smith were Grand Marshals of the Popcorn Day Parade. Marty Gardner and Lyle Houts built a prize winning float for the church for Popcorn day.

                  The UMW maintained “5 Star Status” – severed Kiwanis meals, a Father-Son Banquet, a June Breakfast, Funeral Meals and meals for special meetings.

                  In December, Sunday School children gave a Christmas Program called “The Chosen One,” It was directed by Julie Swenson.

                  The church history report was brought up to date. The church statistics – membership, finances, births and deaths, were brought up to date by Lillian Seagren.

  2000        Kids In Mission met regularly and did several mission projects. They cleaned the park, baked bread for the shut-ins, visited Lydia house and Operation Rescue. They also collected paper products for them and saved pennies for missions.

                  A mission fund continued to help local individuals and families with special needs.

                  With the help of the local Boy Scouts and members of the church, our food bank continued to serve Hamburg and surrounding communities. Our Youth Group takes care of the room and cabinets.

                  Sixteen kids went to summer church camp. The United Methodist Men sold wooden crossed and sponsored fundraising meal events to raise funds for the camps.

                  Meals On Wheels were delivered by Pastor Lilian Seagren, Dane Sturm, Julie, Corbin and Erin Swenson, Greg Warden and Teresa and Tyler Woodward.

                  The UMM hosted a Mother-Daughter Banquet. The banquet had a Hawaiian theme.

                  The Herb Coon Trust was received at our Charge Conference.

                  Dustin Sturm received his God and Country Award during Boy Scout Sunday in February.

                  The Youth Group sponsored an eight year old girl from Thailand sending her $25 a month.

  2001        A Mother-Daughter Banquet was held on March 21, with the Methodist Men in charge, 115 mothers, and daughters attended. Entertainment was provided by Sarah Collins, Maddy Ferguson, Megan Gardner, Cherie Haupt, Kirstin Sawyer, Jane-Ann Seagren, Lindsey Warden and Kelsey Woodward.

                  The church made the last payment on the Education Building Loan. They had been paying this loan since 1997.

                  The church paid 46% of our apportionment. We paid the Council Bluff District askings and $5,659 of the apportionments.

                  The church had an increase of about $4000 in general fund giving.

                  Fourteen adults were involved in teaching Sunday School, Several members of the congregation became Bible Heroes for our Sunday School children. Heroes were: Don Athen (Johathan), Jody Athen (Mary of Bethany), Gary Barrett (Doubting Thomas(, Joann Beam (the Samaritan leper), Dorothy Fender (Mary Magdalene), Charles Gardner)Joseph), Marty Gardner (Joseph with the multi-colored coat), Virginia McKim (Mary, mother of Jesus), Jack Meek(Peter), Jim Nahkunst (Shepherd), Marvin Oakes (Zacheus), Bill Starnes (Thomas), Marc Sturm (Blind Martimaues), Greg Warden (The Centurion), Sue Warden (Mephodeseth), Tom Woodward (one of the wise men), Trudy and Lexi Woodward (Miriam and her mother).

                  A Pre-Teen Youth Group was organized by Virginia Lynn. Member of this group were: Dustin Howard, Rosa Martinez, Dustin Sturm, Sasha Sturm, Shaundra Talk, Lindsey Warden and Tyler Woodward.

                  The church has gained the community’s support for its food bank.

                  The Kids In Mission helped a family of three children overseas, baked bread for the elderly, cleaned the park and visited Lydia House. This group was aided by Melanie Finnell, Carla Nahkunst, Debbie Sturm, Julie Swenson, and Teresa Woodward.

                  The Youth Group, led by Pastor Lilian and Sue Warden, managed the food bank, led worship at Nursing homes, visited home-bound members and prepared Christmas gifts for single servicemen.

                  Meals On Wheels were delivered by the United Methodists: Barbara Brandt, Virgil and Virginia Lynn, Mercedes Oakes, Pastor Lilian and Greg Warden.

                  Kiwanis meals and funeral lunches were served by Beverly Bailey, Carol Barrett, Pastor Lilian and all the cooks. 

                One youth was confirmed and six children were Baptized

                  The Methodist Men sponsored seventeen children to go to summer church camp.

                  Gary Barrett donated over $2000 from the sale of pumpkins from what he called God’s Pumpkin Patch to the U.M.M. With other church donations, $2,736 was sent to UMCOR for New York and Washington children and youth victims of the 9/11 disasters.

                  The Chancel Choir, under the direction of Shirley Oakes, offered their gifts of music.

                  We started Praise Singing in lieu of a prelude.

                  The Prayer Chain ministry to shut-ins and ministry t9 the nursing homes continued.

                  Carol Barrett delivered bulletins and printed sermons to the home bound.

                  Lilian Seagren and Sue Warden were part of the “Walk To Emmaus” Leadership tem.

                  Lilian hosted the National Filipino American United Methodists.

                  Pastor Lilian became a U.S. citizen in April and was honored at the church. She was also honored on Popcorn Day in September for her community service and as Hamburg’s newest citizen. 

                Several families received Christmas and Easter gifts from the church.

                  The church hosted one Youth Lock-In. The group was called S.L.A.M.

                  The church hosted two volunteers in Mission, one overseas missionary and the President of Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines.

                  Nick Athen was honored for his high school graduation.

                  Tyler Woodward Received his God and Country Award on Boy Scout Sunday in February.

                  There was a Christmas Candlelight Service – “Celebration of the Mystery of the Christian Faith.”

  2002        A new sound system was installed.

                  The sanctuary and Fellowship Hall received new carpeting.

                  A special “Mortgage Burning” service was held on April 14th.

                  Choir soloists this year were: Jessica Athen, Marty Gardner, Mandy Oakes, Tammy Oakes, Lilian Seagren Kara Warden and Tom Woodward.

                  The church hosted the annual Inter Church Hymn Sing.

                  Tiffany Moore, Tera Moyer, Mandy Oakes and Molly Perry were honored for their high school graduation.

                  June 16th was Methodist Heritage Sunday. The church history was updated by Pastor Lillian Seagren and Trudy Woodward, and typed and prepared for distribution by Mandy Oakes. On that Sunday, also, ten older members of the congregation were honored during the service. They were: Marjorie Brown, Art Goehring, Ruby Grayson, Neva Matthews, Bernice Nash, Grace Owen, Hazel Vogel, Thelma Wanamaker, Frances Wood and Ruth Zach.


Membership Update


1999 Baptisms 

Tiffany Moore
Jamie Moyer

2000 Baptimes

Autumn Rose Aspedon
Benjamin Collins
Sarah Collins
Trenton Collins
Aaron Lahmon
Kyle Lang
Merrill Lang
Terri Moore
Christopher Oakes
Bill Starnes
Connie Starnes
Joan Workman

2001 Baptisms

Amaya Jade Nolet
Julie Oakes
Alexander Preston Payne
Ashley Elizabeth Payne
Jackson Moses Payne
Aubrey Justine Phelps
Madilyn Grace Phelps

2002 Baptisms

Sasha Sturm
Spencer Sturm
Sohpie White


1999 Confirmations

Ashley Haupt
Tiffany Moore
Jamie Moyer
Kara Warden

2000 Confirmations

Jessica Athen
Marcus Ferry
Aaron Lahmon
Christopher Oakes

2001 Confirmations

Alexis Woodward

Transfers from another church

2000    Art Goehring (Full Member)
             Blake Starnes (Preparatory  Member)

2002    Heidi White

Transfers to another church

2001 Transfers to another church

Martin Brandt transferred to the United Methodist Church in Scottsbluffs, Nebraska

2002 Transfers to another church

Jason Praiter transferred to Lacona United Methodist church (Iowa)
Gaylen and Carolyn Hess transferred to Onawa United Methodist church (Iowa)


1999 Funerals

Wardine Bang
Jay M. Beach Jr.
Phyllis Boldra
Mable M. Houchins
Claude Oakes
Ethen N. Oldaker
Thomas B. Richardson
Jack R. Thiesen

2000 Funerals

James Agnew
Floida Benefiel
Vera Nichol
Barnie Power
Cecil Pulliam
Velma Mae Richardson
Helen Smith

2001 Funerals

Mildren Irene Beach
Jessie Fay Clark
Vernon Folkes
Earl Lytle
Warren Marguerite
Franklin Rash, Sr.
June Dorine Rash
Charles Spike Stephens

2002 Funerals

Donald M. Beam
Pauline Cain
Betty J. Clayton
Sonjia C. Elliot
Wanda S. Kirk
Frank Zutz