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History of the Warren Center Methodist Church, Bradford County PA
History of The Warren Center Methodist Church
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Photo of old church (left) sent in by Lyle Rockwell
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Subj: Warren Center
Date: 9/20/99 10:38:34 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (Lyle D. Rockwell Sr.)

I have typed in Word 97 format the History of the Warren Center Methodist Church, in Bradford Co., Pa. This history was presented when the church Educational Building addition was Dedicated and Consecrated on Sunday, January 3, 1965. I have pictures of both the old church that was built in 1874 and burnt down on February 18, 1951, and the new church that was built in its place. I grew up in Warren Center, became a member and attended this church, until 1960 when I moved away. My mother still is a regular member. Can this be added to the Warren township page? Thanks for your great work on the site! Lyle Rockwell, Athens, Pa.

The History of Warren Center Methodist Church

Tradition says that Methodism began its work at Warren Center about 1825. The class was organized in 1848, Rev. G. H. Blakeslee being the preacher in charge, and Rev. D. F. Olmstead, junior preacher. They were on the Pike Circuit that year. Services were held in the Whalen Schoolhouse prior to the building of the church in 1874.

The church was built at a cost of $3,500.00, Mr. Hamilton being the carpenter. An ice cream social was held in the church before the pews were put in to raise money to help pay the building expenses.

The church was dedicated on Wednesday, January 20, 1875. Rev. D. D. Lindly preached in the morning on "Christ the Power and Wisdom of God." After the sermon he asked for $800.00 and secured $1,000.00. In the evening Rev. J. O. Woodruff preached on the theme "The Monuments God’s People Erect to Commemorate His Goodness." After the sermon $100.00 was raised to buy an organ. The Welch choir sang at these services.

The first funeral held in this church was that of Miss Ella Whitaker, a sister of the late Ruel Whitaker of Endicott, Formerly of Warren Center. She died at the age of 21 on February 10, 1877.

On July 7, 1908, the Methodist Church of Warren Center, known as the Whalen Church, was struck by lightning. The church was insured in the National Mutual Insurance Co. of Chicago. The damage was estimated at $300.00

On July 20, as there was no record of the trustees being properly organized, Rev. N. W. Barnes, the pastor, proceeded to organize the Board. The following officers were elected: President, D. A. Abell; Secretary, W. D. Bradley; Treasurer, R. C. Whitaker. Other members were S. F. Carey, G. N. Bowen, and C. J. Camp.

As the church had to be repaired, the question of moving it to Warren Center was brought up by the pastor. It was estimated that it could be moved and placed on a foundation for $400.00 It was decided by unanimous vote that if $400.00 could be raised by subscription that they would move the building. By July 26 the required money had been raised and Mr. Sam Ingham of Binghamton was notified to begin the work of moving the church as soon as possible.

On August 11, the trustees met at Warren Center and measured a lot for the new church site, a part taken from the land of Walter Bowen and part taken from the land of Dudley Kinney and Mrs. M. A. Sleeper as described by the deed made the same day by J. C. Tripp, Justice of the Peace.

The church was moved to its new location in a very short time without removing even the hanging lamps. Services were held in the church wherever it happened to stand, once in the pasture field and once near the creamery. By the end of the year, the bills for moving the church had been paid and the land where the church had originally stood was deeded to C.S. Bowen for $25.00

On July 22, 1919, the Warren Center Church was again struck by lightning at 5:30 in the morning. The steeple was set on fire but as it burned very slowly, it was possible to extinguish the flames by climbing up inside and using a force pump in pails of water. The National Mutual Church Insurance Co. paid $269.60 to cover the estimated damage. Arthur Powell did the work of repairing the building for $55.00 Lightning rods were then put on the building at a cost of $65.00

Rev. N. W. Barnes was pastor at this time as well as when the church was struck by lightning the first time. The trustees were President, C. J. Camp; Secretary, D. A. Abell; Treasurer, Walter Pitcher; E. N. Bowen; and Fred Sleeper.

Until 1924, Warren Center was served by the ministers living in Little Meadows. After that time they were joined with Apalachin and Little Meadows, the pastor living in Apalachin. Warren Center helped maintain the parsonage there. The first of these ministers was Rev. L. D. Armlin, who served here for two years. Rev. V. S. Mumblo was here one year and Rev. Adrain B. Foote came in 1927. He preached here only a short time and then Warren Center was separated from the Apalachin Charge and place with Windham, with Rev. Clarence Carter as pastor. He served this charge until 1932.

On January 26, 1928, the trustees met at the church with delegates from Little Meadows. The meeting was held to discuss the selling of the Little Meadows parsonage, which Warren Center had helped to build and maintain. It was voted for the Little Meadows people to sell the parsonage and give Warren Center one-third of the proceeds as well as one-third of the rent being received at that time which was $20.00. The parsonage was later sold for $1,750.00, Warren Center receiving $590.00 as its share of the selling price and rent. They also received some of the articles of furniture which were later sold at auction.

In 1929, it was decided to loan $600.00 at 6% interest to buy the parsonage for the District Superintendent in Binghamton. This was fully paid back by 1947.

Gasoline lamps were purchased in 1931 for $29.95.

Rev. C. C. Goodell came to Windham in 1932 and served two years. He held midweek services in homes. He was followed by Rev. Halsey Morgan. IN 1935 and 1936 this appointment consisted of Warren Center and Waits. After that year another charge was made and Warren Center was served by the minister from Nichols, Rev. George Youngs being the first of these pastors. The Warren Center people took an Active part in the work of the church and cooperated with Nichols in all church activities.

On September 8, 1936, a meeting of the trustees was held with Rev. Youngs presiding. It was decided to hold a meeting of the Official Board the first Tuesday night of each quarter. A committee of Bert Darling, Albert Dewing and Earnest Jones was appointed to estimate the cost of building a balcony and partitioning the church.

At a special meeting on September 8, 1936, the committee reported that it would cost around $350.00. It was voted to carry out these plans. Money was raised by circulating a paper and by holding an entertainment and a box social. The Ladies Aid and the Careful Gleaners Class furnished some of the money. This work was done in the fall of 1936 by J. M. Backus. The next spring the new floor was laid with Frank Darling doing the work. The church was wired by Paul Harding for $116.48 including fixtures. Carpet and rugs were also purchased. All these improvements were made at a cost of about $650.00.

Rev. Harry E. Brooks followed Rev. Youngs in 1937 and served two years at Nichols and Warren Center. He held midweek services and carried on a very active work in Warren Center. New hymnals were purchased in 1938. A signboard was bought in June 1938. The church was painted in 1938 at a cost of $105.58. Old Home Day was held on September 18, 1938. On March of 1939, the valuation of the church was raised to $3,500.00.

Warren Center was again placed on the same appointment with Apalachin in 1939. They paid $25.00 annually for the upkeep of the parsonage in Apalachin. Rev. Grant Sechrist came on the charge that year and stayed three years. He was followed by Rev. Freeman and Rev. Theodore Hubbard.

The first wedding to take place in the Warren Center Church was held May 30, 1942, when Miss Thelma Jones, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Jones, became the bride of Charles Merck. Rev. Freeman performed the ceremony.

A meeting of the Official Board was held at the church on April 5, 1944, to discuss redecorating the church. Rev. Hubbard had contacted Glenn Arey and had samples of material and the estimated cost. The work on the ceiling and sidewalls was done later in the year at a cost of $800.00, not including painting and varnishing.

New stain glass windows were put in the church at this time. These bore the names of the persons in whose memory they were given. They were inscribed as follows:

    1. In Memory of Mrs. Ida Bowen, by Careful Gleaners Class.
    2. In Memory of Mrs. Ella Currier Bowen, by Mr. and Mrs. Ward Camp
    3. In Memory of George and Betsy Gowan, given by daughters and granddaughter
    4. In Memory of Charles J. Camp, given by Robert W. Camp
    5. In Memory of G. N. Bowen and Wife, bought by Sabra Allyn
    6. In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Abell, given by Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Abell
    7. In Memory of A. Jackson Whitaker and Laura Carey Whitaker
    8. In Honor of Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Jones, given by S/Sgt. Douglas Jones
    9. In Memory of Mrs. Armitta M. Evans, given by Mr. and Mrs. Manton Rockefeller
    10. In Memory of George and Mary Sleeper, given by the family
    11. In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. E. M. Bowen, given by Mr. and Mrs. Ray Catlin
    12. In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. D. A. Abell, given by Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Powell
    13. The Sunday School
    14. Women’s Society of Christian Service
    15. The Epworth League 1945
    16. The Philathea Class
    17. In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. Claflin Sleeper and Gladys Stetson, given by Mr. and Mrs. George Stetson
    18. In Honor of Those in the Armed Forces, bought by the Trustees
In 1944, new pews, a Pulpit and Communion Table were ordered. Because of the scarcity of materials, they were unable to get the pews. The Communion Table was given by Mr. and Mrs. DeLeon Abell and Mrs. Leah Currier and the Pulpit by Douglas Jones. A little later a lovely set of gold cross and candlesticks were given by Mr. and Mrs. DeLeon Abell and Emerson Abell.

In 1945, the Warren Center apportionment for the Crusade for Christ was $439.00, which was met in full.

In May of 1945, Rev. Charles Miller started prayer meeting every two weeks, held in the HOMES. Also in 1945 the stage was changed and the altar rail put up, and a new furnace put in the basement.

In November of 1947, the Youth Fellowship held a War relief Auction and raised $305.31, which went for relief of the war torn countries. The Sky Lake and the Retired Ministers fund from Warren Center for 1947 was $771.00

Warren Center had long felt the need of a resident pastor. They were finally able to fulfill this need in 1949, when they left the Apalachin charge and became an independent appointment. Rev. Sydney Boys, a retired minister, was secured to serve this charge. As there was no parsonage in the community, an apartment over the Bowen Store was rented. Rev. and Mrs. Boys moved there in June of that year.

On February 18, 1951, Sunday school and Church services were held in the church at the usual hour with a large crowd attending. About an hour after the worshipers had left, the church was discovered to be on fire. When first discovered, the whole interior of the structure was ablaze. The entire building with all of its contents was consumed in a very short time. The origin of the fire was unknown. The first Sunday after the fire, the congregation met and held services with the West Warren people in their church. The Methodists united with the Baptist in their church and held three evening services during the Lenten period. After that time services were held regularly in the Grange Hall and the W.S.C.S. Hall.

Plans were immediately started for erecting a new building where the old one had stood. A strip of land was secured from Mrs. Earl Anderson to enlarge the church property. The contractor, Mr. Walter Chaffee, started work in July 1952. The corner stone was laid at a service held July 20, with Dr. Tolley and Rev. Boys conducting a very impressive service. Mrs. Lena Abell, a 54-year member, laid the cornerstone. It contained a Bible, Hymnal, Discipline, and list of trustees and building committee.

Aid came from many sources. The Fair Hill Methodist Church was donated with all of its furnishings, with the stipulation that the windows be used with the names left on them. These were used in the dining room of the new building. This church was dismantled by the Warren Center people and trucked to Warren Center where much of the material was used in the new building.

Other donations included pews from a boys’ school in Cooperstown, the alter rail by the Central Methodist Church of Endicott, some light fixtures from the Church of Christ in Sayre, the bell taken from the Baptist Church in Camptown and donated by Mr. Mitten and the piano by Mrs. Kenneth Thomson, a member of the Boulevard Methodist Church of Binghamton.

There was a fine spirit of cooperation among the people of Warren Center in working together to rebuild the new house of worship. Members and nonmembers alike, as well as members of other faiths have contributed much in time, money, labor and furnishings to help complete this new church.

The new Methodist Church was built at a cost of $35,000.00 paid to the contractor, Walter Chaffee. The new structure is a wooden building with a sanctuary 30 x 40 feet, a dining room 24 x 40 feet which opens into the sanctuary, a kitchen 12 x 24 feet and a Sunday school classroom. Much local labor was given. Many hours were spent in refinishing the old pews and preparing for the formal opening which took place on May 3, 1953, when several hundred people came to help consecrate the new building.

Dr. Earl Tolley, Superintendent of the Binghamton District, officiated for the consecration and gave the morning sermon. The call to worship was given by the pastor, Rev. Sydney Boys, who also presided in the afternoon when a number of former pastors took part. Among those who spoke were: Rev. Jesse Dickerson, Rev. George Youngs, Rev. Theodore Hubbard, Rev. Harry Brooks, Rev. Austin Rogers, Myron Albro, Rev. David Davis, Rev. Raymond Hill, Samuel Little, Rev. Dorothy Gardner, and Rev. George Phillips. Mrs. George Jones read a short history of the church. The evening services were in charge of the M.Y.F. with the president, David Darling presiding. They presented the church two beautiful flags, the Christian flag and the American flag. Many other gifts were presented to the church and dedicated at a later date. These included:

      1. Communion table, gold cross, candle sticks and vases by Mr. and Mrs. DeLeon Abell
      2. Two pedestals for vases, by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Abell and family
      3. Two pictures, by Mrs. Josephine Jones and family
      4. Collection plates, by Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Jones and family
      5. Tables and chairs for the primary class, by Mrs. Gladys Dewing and family
      6. Clock, by Mr. and Mrs. Earle Bidlack
      7. Clock, by Mr. and Mrs. George Jones
The first supper to be held in the new dining room was put on by the M.Y.F. in October 1953, when they served their annual turkey supper to their parents and friends. The room was beautifully decorated with fall colors and presented a lovely setting for the Thanksgiving feast, which was served to more than one hundred guests. Since that time the ladies of the church have used the dining room for their regular dinners.

Accordion doors were installed between the sanctuary and the dining room, having been donated by Rees Powell and Leo Jones.

The M.Y.F. held their Annual Booth Festival in the Warren Center Church in the fall of 1953. Several hundred young people from all over the Sub-district took part in this meeting.

Rev. Boys became ill in 1954 and was unable to carry on the work of the church. Gilbert B. Tybring of Endicott supplied as pastor and later became an ordained minister. He served here until he retired because of ill health in 1959.

In January 1953, the church officials purchased the house and lot joining the church property from Mrs. Earl Anderson for $5000.00, to be used as a parsonage. This property included the old creamery.

The first funeral to be held in the new church was that of Ernest J. Barnes, father of Lilburn Barnes, on June 22, 1954.

The first wedding to take place in the new church was when Miss Ruth Jones, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Jones, became the bride of Walter L. Wheaton, son of Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Wheaton, at a candlelight service on October 30, 1954. Rev. Tybring performed the ceremony.

Rev. Reeves C. Havens Sr. became pastor of the Warren Center Church in 1959 and remained until 1965. At this time, it became apparent that more room was needed for Sunday school classes.

On November 9, 1962, a special Quarterly Conference was held to consider building an educational annex. There was much discussion as to where it should be located. On April 1, 1964, a contract was let to Albert Welch of Owego, NY not to exceed $33,500.00. The trustees, Emerson Abell, Audra Allyn, Merle Allyn, Earle Bidlack, Bert Darling, Hiram Dewing, Robert Dewing, George Jones and Russell Jones, became the building committee. Kooken, Stabler and Associates of New Oxford, PA were employed as architects. On Sunday, April 26, 1964, at 10:30 A.M., groundbreaking ceremonies were held.

A service was held on January 3, 1965 to dedicate the church and to consecrate the new eleven room educational annex. Dr. H. C. Buckingham, District Superintendent conducted the service, aided by Rev. Havens. The mortgage on the church was burned at that time. During the consecration service, Emerson Abell, President of the Trustees, announced as a surprise that the new annex was to be named "The Reeves and Helen Havens Educational Building."

The furnishings in the new rooms were purchased from Cokesbury, our Methodist Publishing House, most of which were donated. These donations are listed in the book of gifts.

In 1960, during Rev. Havens’ ministry, the men of the church carried out a very successful stewardship and every-member canvass program. This did away with the need of having church suppers and other fund raising events. This program has been successfully carried on every year since that time.

Rev. George Youngs became pastor in 1965. He lived in Vestal during his ministry here.

On March 28, 1973, an evening service was held to burn the mortgage on the educational building and to dedicate it to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. We were greatly honored to have Bishop James M. Ault conduct the service, assisted by Rev. Philip N. Pitcher, District Superintendent, and Rev. George E. Youngs, local pastor. Former pastors Rev. Theodore Hubbard and Rev. Reeves Havens Sr. were present.

As a surprise, the young people’s room had been refurnished at a cost of $1,300.00 and was dedicated in honor of Rev. and Mrs. George Youngs, whose names appear in bronze on the door.

Rev. Youngs retired in 1973 and was replaced by Rev. Marvin Schell, as resident pastor. This move required a parsonage. As the church parsonage was in such bad condition as to make it unlivable, it was necessary to begin repairs at once. It was completely remodeled at a cost of $26,927.00. An open house was held April 28, 1974, when the public, about 125 people, were given a tour of the modern home.

The Pastors: 1857, I.P. Towner; 1858-59, E. Sibley; 1860, N.B. Marcy; 1861-62, A.C. Sperry; 1863-64, I.D. Warren; 1865, A. Brooks; 1866-68, C.E. Taylor; 1869-70, A. Brooks; 1871, G.W. Reynolds; 1872-74, W. Keatly; 1875, H.A. Blanchard; 1876-77, N.S. DeWitt; 1878-80, M.E. Marshall; 1881-83, W.R. Cockrane; 1884-86, D.C. Barnes; 1887-90, G.C. Jacobs; 1891, H.N. Van Deusen; 1892-93, H.L. Ellsworth; 1894-97, J.S. Custard; 1898-00, W.H. Stang; 1901-03, L.E. Van Hoesen; 1904-08, F.A. King; 1908-11, N.W. Barnes; 1911-14, F.E. Weller; 1914-15, O.H. Armstrong; 1915-16, D.F. Unangst; 1916-19, F.G. Bean; 1919-20, N.W. Barnes; 1920-21, W.J. Rozelle; 1922-24, I.W. Slater; 1924-26, Leonard W. Armlin; 1926-27, Verner S. Mumbulo; 1927-29, Adrian B. Foote; 1929-32, Clarence W. Carter; 1932-34, C.C. Goodell; 1934-36, Halsey Morgan; 1937-38, George E. Youngs; 1938-39, Harry E. Brooks; 1939-42, R. Grant Sechrist; 1942-43, Lewis G. Freeman; 1943-45, Theodore Hubbard; 1945-49, Charles W. Miller; 1949-54, Sydney G. Boys; 1954-59, Gilbert B. Tybring; 1959-65, Reeves C. Havens, Sr.

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