Faith United Methodist Church

From name changes to a tornado, the Faith United Methodist Church and its members have persevered and the church is marking its centennial this weekend.

Events planned include a barbecue dinner on the lawn north of the church Saturday evening.

"Many former pastors will be in attendance," said Rev. Scott Ware, pastor at the church.

On Sunday, the regular worship service at 10:40 a.m. will feature Bishop Jimmy Nunn, the Bishop of the Oklahoma Conference. That will be followed by a church dinner in the fellowship hall.

All of the activities are open to the community, Ware said.

The Faith United Methodist Church is located at 14th and Texas, but that is not the original location.

Starting as the United Brethren Church in Christ, the original property on 13th and Main - a church and parsonage - was purchased from the First Christian (Disciples) Church in June of 1919 for $4,000.

The first Sunday service led by Rev. J. J. Burket was attended by 17 residents in the morning and 18 in the evening service. A good number of those members transferred from a class that had been meeting in the Vonton School southeast of Woodward.

From there, the membership grew to 216 by 1930.

A few years later brought the first name change as the United Brethren and Evangelical churches united and on Nov. 16,1946, the local church became the Evangelical United Brethren Church.

That wasn't the only change coming.

Wednesday April 9, 1947, brought the devastating tornado that destroyed or damaged over 1,000 homes in Woodward and killed over 100 people.

Church historians write, "As a prayer service was taking place, the tornado destroyed our church and parsonage buildings as well as many other places in town."

Some plans had already been underway to build a new church and they were put into place quickly after the tornado. The new brick church and wood frame parsonage at 1402 Texas were dedicated in a service by Bishop V.O. Weilder on March 14, 1948.

A few historical pieces of note:

• the podium in the foyer came from the United Brethren Church north of Woodward donated by Glendola Lehman Owens and Marion Owens

• the podium on the north side of the stage came out of the church destroyed in the tornado

• the podium for the oldest adult classroom was built by Sam Schneider and remains there

• the painting behind the Baptistry was painted by Dixie Nelson Anderson

The next big change came on April 23, 1968 when the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church merged to form the United Methodist Church. That led the local church to the name Faith United Methodist Church that exists today.

During the years, the church continued to grow and in 1987, the women of Faith joined the body of the United Methodist Women in order to contribute locally and take part in global mission work. They put on a Thanksgiving supper that has become a traditional locally.

The Men of Faith organized in 1987 also with Roscoe Hill as President under the guidance of Rev. Patrick Buss. The group has been instrumental in keeping the church and parsonage repaired and a chicken friend steak dinner each year is their major fundraiser.

The church also has an active youth group.

In 1989 an East door entrance was added and in 1990 the sound system was updated and the church purchased 100 United Methodist Hymnals and Pew Bibles through individual funds in honor or memory of loved ones. Charter member Mrs. Velma Pflum Blumer was honored on her 90th birthday on Dec. 4, 1990.

Planning for an expansion project started in 1993 and that led to the building of a new fellowship hall, dedicated by the Bishop Solomon.

The Fellowship Hall was paid off in full in 2006 and Bishop Hayes came for the burning of the mortgage papers.

More improvements included new windows and ceiling in the sanctuary.

The church added to its community involvement in recent years, using the Fellowship Hall to house firefighters coming in to fight wildfires and installing a storm shelterer at the parsonage. In 2018, the church purchased a generator and is designated as a community shelter for the Red Cross.

Today, Sunday School classes for all ages meet at 10 a.m. each Sunday with worship services at 10:40 a.m. The church also holds a Vacation Bible School each summer and both the women and men's organizations remain active.

Church historians write that, "throughout our church's varied history, many gifts, memorials and man/woman/child hours have blessed the church. The tradition continues as we work to glorify the Lord."

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