Woodward, Okla. —
A church is often much more than a building. A church is its people, from past and present, who come together during the best of times as well as the most trying of times.
The Harmon Church of the Nazarene is rich with history and dedication from both church members and the community.
In 1914 Reverend J.H. Gray began The Harmon Church in what is considered to be "Old Harmon" before the town relocated to Highway 60.
"They bought a pool hall," said Jenita Cutsinger, wife of current pastor Bert Cutsinger. The pool hall was purchased for $200 and transformed into a place of worship. Jan. 30, 1914 is considered the beginning of The Harmon Church.
The church will mark its 100th anniversary with several events on Sunday, Jan. 26.
Cutsinger said a morning service is set for 10:30 a.m. with luck at noon. At 2 p.m. is a "Time to Remember" celebration. During the celebration some former pastors will be on hand to talk about the church, there will be a slideshow of the church's history and there will also be songs and poems.
The Harmon Church started with 50 people, but quickly grew to 61. Sermons were given by the light of gasoline lanterns, and the members would keep warm by gathering around a pot-bellied stove which occupied the center of the church.
In 1928 the church building was moved by a rig, with the labor of men and horses, to the location where the current church stands. A parsonage was placed adjacent to the church, but it was destroyed by a blizzard in 1938. This led to a single room house being added to the church.
By 1949 the tests of time and weather had taken their toll on the church building. Through donated funds and volunteer labor, the old church was ready to be taken down and a new building would emerge. During the construction the church members continued their services at an old community store. Aug. 14, 1949 marked the day when the church's dedicated members could begin services in the newly constructed church.
In the years following the new construction, many improvements and updates have been added. The Waynoka Church of the Nazarene donated its old church building Harmon. Members from the community and the church moved the building to Harmon and connected it making it the new fellowship hall. Around 1985 a metal building was added as well, giving the church more areas for church and community events.
The church continues to see improvements to this day. Everything that goes into improving the church also improves things for the Harmon community.
"The fellowship hall next door serves a lot as the community building" explains Cutsinger. The church sets the scene for everything from weddings and reunions to baby showers and anniversary parties.
Through the challenges of 100 years of existence, the church has continued as a place of pride and worship for folks in Harmon and around the area.
Currently, church officials said, the church has approximately 30 members as well as a couple of families who travel in from Woodward.
Newcomers are always welcome to attend and enjoy services at the church which is as strong in spirit as it is rich in history.