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Illinois Genealogy Trails

 Jefferson County Illinois
Wesley United Methodist Church


I am happy to bring to you the background and history of the Wesley United Methodist Church of Mt. Vernon, Illinois, of which, we are celebrating our 100th Year Centennial, September 12, 1993. Before, I get into the history of the Church, I would like to first discuss the origin and establishment of Methodism.

John Wesley - The Father of Methodism
John Wesley was born June 17, 1703, at Epworth Rectory in England. He was the 15th child of the 19 children of Rev. Samuel Wesley. In 1720, he was an elected scholar at Christ Church in Oxford, England. in 1726, he was a fellow at Lincoln College and was made an ordained deacon; then a Priest in 1728. He was recognized as "Father of the (Holy Club) or Methodist", as they were called.

In 1735, John and his brother Charles, who was also active in the church, sailed from England to Savannah, Georgia, along with the Moravian faith. then December, 1737, they sailed back from England.

On May 24, 1738, John found the rest of his faith at Aldersgate Street in London, England. On April 2, 1739, John began to preach in open air meetings at Bristol. in 1742, John found his way to Yorkshire and New Castle upon the Tyne. Methodism now began to spread over England.

In 1769 and 1784, John Wesley set two of his preachers from England to America. In 1784, he requested his followers in America to have a meeting and choose a name for the Church. In that same year, sixty representatives of the Methodist Church met in Baltimore, Maryland. The purpose of perfecting a permanent organization which was formed and the name chosen was "The Methodist Episcopal Church". The smaller groups were called "Society". This was the official beginning of Methodism as we know it in America.

During John Wesley's ministry, he traveled an average of 5,000 miles per year and preached some 40,000 sermons in his lifetime. In 1791, he died at the age of 88.

The Beginning of Methodism in Mt. Vernon, Illinois
In 1810, Andrew Moore and his family were the first white settlers in Jefferson County. They lived southeast of this sight and Northwest of what is now Belle Rive, Illinois. In 1816, Issac Casey and his sons, William and Thomas, made their way to this area in zest of finding a new haven and a land filled with beauty and opportunity. They set-up their camp close to where the present First United Methodist Church and the Appellate Court house now stands. Keep in mind, this was about two years before Illinois became a state, or Jefferson became a county. The explored and liked what they had found. They returned back to their home and families in the vicinity of Cave-In-Rock on the Ohio River.

The following year in 1817, Issac, along with his sons, William and Thomas, daughter Katy and her husband Issac Hicks, and six other families returned here, which was the beginning of the settlers in this area.

In the summer of 1817, a tall rawboned young man came leading a horse upon which sat his wife and baby. The horse was loaded with the only possessions they had, especially an iron skillet. They stopped for the night near where the Old Shiloh Church now stands. The man's name was Zadok Casey. While his young wife prepared their fugal meal, he leaned against a gigantic oak tree in medication. Then, he dropped upon his knees and prayed for strength and courage to live an upright honorable Christian Life. God took him at his word, and the name of Zadok Casey has been linked close with progress of the community and state.

The Issac Hicks cabin and the Edward Maxey cabin became the first gathering places, where the worship services were held. On, or about November 1, 1818, the Methodist Society was formed at the Edward Maxey home. (4 1/2 miles northwest of Mt. Vernon). Zadok Casey preached his first sermon there and the population of the entire county was in the audience. This was the beginning of Methodism here.

Along with the Casey's and earlier settlers, here are some of the following names that have played such and important part in the history of our city and churches, most were Methodist: Issac Casey, Issac Hicks, Zadok Casey, Abraham P. Casey, Louis Johnson, Edward Maxey, and many others like Mace, Moss, Watson, Edwards, Pace, Allen and Baugh.

Mount Vernon, Illinois, was first called Mt. Pleasant. You can under-stand why such a beautiful name was chosen, if you were ever out about seven miles west or about seven miles east of Mount Vernon and noticed the beauty of our city set on a hill, (Mt. Pleasant). In 1819, Mt. Pleasant was officially changed to Mt. Vernon.

The first school house was built about one mile North of the city where the Old Union Cemetery is located. This cemetery is also where Zadok Casey and several of the early families are buried. This dirt floor school is also where the Methodist Society held their meetings. Many times rattle-snakes had to be killed inside the building before services could continue. This area was infested with many snakes.

Services were held by local preachers until 1822, when the Society was connected with the regular Circuit. Rev. Josiah Patterson and Rev. William Smith were the first Methodist ministers appointed to serve the Society. The Circuit Charged continued until 1852.

The membership grew and flourished, then, on September 8, 1825, the Society purchased a lot on North Casey Street, later called 11th Street, across the alley north of our present City Hall and Fire Department.

This was the first frame church building built in Mt. Vernon for Divine Worship. The church was enlarged in 1839 and in 1840 a belfry was added and Zadok Casey donated a brass bell dated 1843. The church was also used as a temporary Court House.

Political debates such as Abraham Lincoln verses John A. McCleurand in the Whig Party Campaign for President Henry Harrison. I might add, as a political jester, due to the party in charge of the City, McCleurand was allowed to speak inside, but Abraham Lincoln was not. So, Lincoln had his soap box speech on the sidewalk where the King City Federal drive-in is located on North 10th Street. There is a bronze plaque on the front of the building which commemorates this time in history.

Zadok Casey was a great minister and leader of the City. Later he became Lieutenant Governor of the State of Illinois.

Methodism and other non-denominations were really on the move and as the City was growing, so were the churches. On July 18, 1853, the church purchased four lots on what is now Main Street just about where the east end of the existing First United Methodist Church now stands.

In 1854, they built a new large two story brick church. The sanctuary was on the second floor and the first floor was occupied by three classrooms of a private school. The beautiful church had a tall steeple and Zadok Casey presented the congregation with another fine bronze bell.

The old church was sold in 1854, but the bell hung in the belfry until 1890, when the belfry became unsafe, probably due to the great cyclone of 1888. ( A cross replaced the belfry.) The cyclone destroyed most of the downtown buildings and did great damage to much of the city. The bell was out of circulation until 1914, when it was placed in the United Brethrem Church at 17th and Casey Avenue in Mt. Vernon.

The bell was purchased July 2, 1992 by our great historian, Tom Puckett, from the Lively Stone Apostolic Church, who bought the church from the previous owners. We feel fortunate that Tom, for our Church Centennial, is loaning to us the first original church bell of 1843, that ever toll in Mt. Vernon.

The church was then used by other denominations: The Christian Church from 1854 to 1876, a black denomination occupied it from 1879 to 1880, the Trinity Episcopalian Church from October 2, 1880 to January 3, 1909, when they moved into their new quarters. That was the end of the building being used as a church. The building was later used as the Mt. Vernon Lumber Company and last as a Sheet Metal Tin Shop. The city later condemned it as a fire hazard and won.

On Sunday afternoon, February 19, 1888, a devastating cyclone destroyed this beautiful church that was built in 1854. The entire downtown area was in complete ruins. Only the bell and a few papers were salvaged.

The First Methodist Church was constructed on the two lots just west of their previous church. That was their third and present church.

Now, after many years of constant growth, remodeling and enlargement, the church stands with its new beautiful belfry steeple, with a large gold cross that can be seen by many people who enter Mt. Vernon from all directions. That is truly an inspiration to all.

From the beginning of Methodism, the Methodist have taught missionary work both at home and abroad. With this spirit, our church was established. Not enough praise can be given to those unselfish people who gave so much of their time, talent and money, that made their vision come true. So, it is with deep gratitude that we people of Wesley say "Thanks".

The history of 1893, shows one very outstanding person who was instrumental in the planning and building of our church. That person is Rev. W.F. Daniels of the First Methodist Church. Rev. Daniels, along with a large group of interested people from his church, entered into the project of building a new church in the South part of town. They named UNION STREET METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. It was located on the northeast corner of Union Street (known now as 10th street) and Prairie Ave.

In 1893, when the Union Street Methodist Episcopal Church (now Wesley) was organized, the Mt. Vernon Society changed the name to First Methodist Episcopal Church for the convenience of designating it from the other Societies. The word, M.E. or Methodist Episcopal stayed in effect until 1939, when the three Methodist Conferences met: The Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Episcopal South, and the Protestant Methodist Church, eliminated the work Episcopal. The four Mt. Vernon churches became, The First Methodist, Wesley Methodist, Epworth Methodist and West Salem Trinity Methodist of Mount Vernon.

In 1968, the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the names were changed again to what they are today: First United Methodist Church, Wesley United Methodist Church, Epworth United Methodist Church and the West Salem Trinity United Methodist Church.

Rev. J.B. Crowder, (father of Aubrey Crowder) was the first appointed minister to the charge. His term was from 1893 and 1894, with a salary of $150.00. There were 24 probationers and 50 members.

In 1897 to 1902, Rev. Charles O. McCammeron was appointed for a five year term. During which time a parsonage was bought. The church was valued at $1,500.00 and the parsonage $1,200.00. These were days of testin and tribulation, for both the minister and the people. Many people were out of work, but Rev. McCammeron's ministry was a commendable success.

On October. 1908 to 1909. Rev. A.B. Hoar was appointed as minister, at which time, the church and parsonage was sold for $2,500.00 to the Mount Vernon Car Manufacturing Company. They were builders of railroad cars and were building a new Car Steel Plant.

Later, the church and parsonage was bought back from the Mt. Vernon Car manufacturing Company. The transaction was slow and the church was going through hard times.

The previous year, which was October 20, 1908, Rev W.F. Daniels had edited a special historic sketch. He resigned as Superintendent of the Sunday School in 1909

In 1909, the Union Street Methodist Episcopal Church name was changed to Trinity Church. Then in 1910, the Trinity Church was changed to Wesley, by action of the Fourth Quarterly Conference. This is certainly peculiar to change a church name three times in three years.

Record books by Rev. B.A. Hoar show 442 members on probation and 662 members in full connection.

The church and parsonage were then moved to its new location at 801 South 12th Street and Prairie Avenue. The church was remodeled.

Rev. J.C. Kinison was pastor from 1913 to 1915. The church was dedicated by Bishop Quayle.

Although the church had many difficulties, the strong preaching, the faith and prayers of the people, it continued to grow in spirit and numbers. It remained a lighthouse for lost souls.

Wesley Church has upheld the highest standards of Christian living. Since 1920, there have been thirty young ministers gone out of Wesley to preach the Gospel. Their names will be described later.

Rev. Thomas E. Harper was our pastor from 1938 to 1943. On January 15. 1940 disaster struck Wesley Church and it was completely destroyed by fire.

Included in this history are pictures of the old Churches, before the fire and one while the church was burning; also, one of the church choir, when Rev. Rodney Stockton was our pastor and served from 1933 to 1938.

Mr. & Mrs. Earl Garrison, who owned Garrison's Market at Tenth Street and Lamar Avenue invited the people of the Church to use their warehouse to have our church services, until the new church was built, at the same Twelfth Street location. We were very grateful to them for being so kind.

Our new stone church was dedicated on February 23, 1941, by Bishop Darlington. The church continued to grow and served the need of the members, as well as others.

Rev. O.E. Connett was our pastor from 1947 to 1951. In 1949, we began our second building phase. This incorporated six new classrooms on the ground floor, adjoining the church on the west end. We used the same Indiana stone to match the church. A lot of the labor on both phases was done by the members.

In 1962, with our continued growth and under the leadership of Rev. A.B. Clodfelder, who was our pastor from 1959 to 1970, we entered into our third building phase. There were seven classrooms and an auditorium, directly about the first floor. Our children's Department reached eighty and our church was prospering.

After a few years, due to the deterioration of the neighborhood and increase in crime, a church Charge Conference was called on April 27, 1981, to authorize the Board of Trustees to look for and purchase a new building site.

Another church Charge Conference was called on December 9, 1981, to authorize the Trustees to sell the church building and parking lots at 12th and Prairie. Our church and parking lots were valued at a little over $200,000.00, but were sold for $75,000.00

In August, 1981, our church purchased the new building site of nine acres at 1601 Salem Road, at a price of $90,000.00 from Dr. and Mrs. Raymond Alexander of Mt. Vernon. The Alexanders donated $40,000.00 of the original cost, leaving a balance of $50,000.00. We were all grateful to them for their contribution.

On Sunday, March 4, 1984, with Rev. Carl Williams, (who was our pastor from 1982 to 1985), we had a joint farewell service with the new owner, evangelist Mary Lou Parker of the Greater Faith Tabernacle and her congregation.

I was privileged to deliver the "Tribute to Wesley Church" at this Farewell Service. Rev. Carl Williams, our pastor, officially presented the keys to evangelist Mary Lou Parker. She delivered the morning message, "The Anointing".

The Wesley Church congregation used the facilities of the United Methodist Children's Home, 2023 Richview Road, for their temporary headquarters beginning March 11, until the completion of phase I of the new church building.

On October 3, 1983, a Note Burning Ceremony for the new Salem Road property was held. Then on March 19, 1984, the Richard Briesacher Construction Company was awarded the contract for our first phase building.

Within six months, our first Sunday service was held in our new church on September 16, 1984. Then, on April 21, 1985, Bishop Woodie W. White and District Superintendent Robert Edwards and our pastor Carl V. Williams held our Consecration Service. Our church was on the move and our attendance was growing.

Rev. Paul W. Widicus became our pastor in 1985 and served until 1991. Under his good leadership, our church entered into the second phase of our building program, which consisted of new classrooms for our Sunday School.

In 1991, Rev. Paul Copeland became our thirty-third minister. We feel very fortunate to have him and his family at Wesley Church. Paul is young, very dynamic and energetic: A great leader, with alot of talents and is doing a wonderful job for our church. We feel blessed to have him and know that under his leadership, we will continue to grow. In the near future we want to build our new sanctuary.

Each one of our ministers have touched many people and as the foundation of our church body was laid, may it continue to grow and prosper for the Love of God and his kingdom. There is so much that could be said about our wonderful old church, our heritage, and our members that pages could not hold it all.

The following are just a few that we would like to mention: Rev. Bell, Hubert Leonard, Harry Edwards, Lenoard McGuire, Paul Wielt, Lucille Mayfield, and Woodrow Smith.

Of the group just mentioned, was Leonard McGuire. He was a great inspiration, talents and leadership of all the past and present members in Wesley Church.

The following is a list of ministers called from Wesley Church:

John Bryant
Paul Bryant
Lloyd Bumpus
B.R. Cummins
E.M. Dycus
Robert Fitts
Phillip Gardner
Floyd Hale
Ed Harper
Kenneth Harper
Rosemary (Piercy) Harris
James Heaney
Lester Laur
Leo Mabry
Virgil Mabry
Ray McClure
Carl Mitchell
Harry Olin, Jr

Randy McGuire (called from Steelville, but orginally from Wesley Church)
Tessie Minor (called from Old Shiloh, but now member of Wesley)

Rick Newberry
Gordon Shafer
Charles Tindle
Clarence Tolley
Virginia (Gardner) Shannon
Earl Vaughn
Marshall Vaughn
Mary Weatherford
Jeff Williams
Dorothy (Thompson) Youngblood

The following is a list of names and dates of the ministers, who have served the people of Wesley Church from the Year 1893 to the present time.

J.B. Crowder 1893-1894
J.W. Webster 1894-1896
J.W. Smith 1896-1897
Charles McCameron 1897-1902
W.B. Cooksey 1902-1903
J.D. Sheddrick 1903-1905
A.G. Proctor 1905-1908
B.A. Hoar 1908-1911
J.W. Britian 1911-1913
J.C. Kinison 1913-1915
Harry McKnight 1915-1917
C.B. Sullivan 1917-1918
George Wilson 1918-1919
W.H. McPherson 1919-1920
Ed Montgomery 1920-1923
Harold Culver 1923-1924
Earl Phillips 1924-1927
Clyde Bruce 1927-1928
Earnest Connett 1928-1933
Rodney Stockton 1933-1938
Thomas E. Harper 1938-1943
Earnest Lamb 1943-1947
O.E. Connett 1947-1951
E.C. Michels 1951-1954
Gerald Gulley 1954-1959
A.B. Clodfelder 1959-1970
Edward Sadler 1970-1975
Jessie Seiber 1975-1978
Dean Coultas 1978- Feb. 1979 (A.B. Clodelder finished his term.)
Eugene Beasley 1979-1982
Carl Williams 1982-1985
Paul W. Widicus 1985-1991
Paul Copeland 1991-present

Note: The following has been handwritten into the book:

Dave Estep Jan,1999-2002
Julie Allison June,2003-2005
Bruce S. Gordon June, 2005 to present

I trust that you will find within this history, some dates, remarks and points of interest to you. There are always those that love the Church, its cause, and wish to see the work carried on.

I am a member of Wesley Church, have attended for 66 years and have always been interested in the history and background of the church.

NOTE: Handwritten into the book, so Ed Lively now has been a member for 80 years and been a member 72 years.

I want to close with a poem I wrote in the early 1960's, a "Tribute to Wesley Church".

Edward (Ed) Lively

I would like to tell you, What my Church really means to me. For, if you love your Church, as I do, It surely becomes a part of you.

While as a child, I use to play, In the backyard of the Church, most every day, For we lived in the block you see, Where the Wesley M.E. use to be.

Some colored, some white folk lived all around, For there she stood, in the south part of town. Although, old in age, she was young at heart, For she had played, a very important part.

To many people, who had passed her way, And had stopped to listen, or bow and pray. Then, I passed her one morning in sunshine clear, Not once thinking, she would not be there another year.

For disaster struck, on that beautiful day, For when I returned, all you could say; Was grey ashes, and timbers, confusion, decay, For she had not lasted, another day.

The flames had consumed her, and burned to the ground That wonderful old Church, in the South part of town. Now, the people were stunned, as people would be, But, it did not weaken, their faith in Thee.

For, they banded together, as good Christians do, And prayed and worked, until their dream came true. They built this Church, where we worship today, So, may we not forget, when we kneel and pray.

To give thanks to God, for the people who strived, And worked so hard, to keep our Church alive. Then, while all alone, and sad at heart, For our dear loved ones, who had to depart.

We could look through our window, in dark of night, And see that cross, a shining bright; And know that God, would always care, For the people, who called on him in prayer.

So, it is with that faith, That we live today, And know that we are his, When we bow our heads to pray.

If there would be anything I could add to this, It would be, "Thank you God" for the inspiration; Continue to give me words to write, That I might cheer my fellow man, while I walk down here

Centennial; Celebrating the Past, Envisioning the Future
by: Paul Copeland

As a child, I spent 2-3 weeks each summer on my grandparents' farm. Grandpa and Grandma White attended a small, one room, open country Church. Being from a fairly large town church, I was always fascinated with the way they did church at the Mound Methodist Church. Grandpa taught the men's class which met on the right, front side of the sanctuary. Grandma taught the women's calss which met on the left, rear side of the sanctuary. The children's class which met on the left, rear side of the sanctuary. The children's classes met around the perimeter of the benches.

I can still picture Grandpa sitting in his overstuffed easy chair, his right leg slung over the chair arm, with is burgundy, hard-bound Bible and teacher's guide in hand preparing the Sunday School Lesson. Although I only attended the Mound Church 2-3 times a year, memories of worshipping there have lingered and impacted my life as much as the church I attened the other 49-50 Sundays of each year.

In this booklet are stories and memories of Wesley, stories and memories of people of faith who have impacted your life as a Christian. These stories and memories will prompt you to remember some of your own. They will not only prompt you to remember, but in the remembering, your soul will be stirred to new faith even as mine has been in recounting the story above.

I've been the pastor of Wesley for less than two years and already it has touched my life. You have been part of your 10, 20, 30, .....70 years. The people of Wesley have shaped your life and faith. We gather to celebrate the faithfulness of the last 100 years.

But memories are not intended only to be cherished. Memories help us to identify who wer are, whose we are, where we have been, where we have roots, and in whom we have faith in order to inspire, cajole, and enable us to have faith and hope in the present and future. We remember where we have been so that we will have a clearer vision of where we are headed.

As we celebrate Wesley's Centennial, may the memories of yesterday lead us to faithfulness today and tommorrow. May we be as faithful in the present and future as the many "witnesses" of yesterday, people who helped to shape our memories. May we be instrumental in shaping memories of generations yet to come. Thanks for the memories, Grandpa and Grandma. Thanks for the memories you multitudes of faithful who have called Wesley home for the last 100 years.

I have been a member of Wesley Church for 36 years.

I have seen many changes in our church. I started attending Wesley on 12th Street. My wish is that I can stay here and see our new Sanctuary built.

I consider the people of Wesley Church as part of my family. Many have influenced my life. I love Wesley Church to worship in. God has been good to me.

Earline Bowlin

I remember when our church had no building and Easter Sunday Service was a drive-up service. The choir sang under the tent. Served coffee and donuts to all who came. My Bob, enjoyed all those fun times.

I also remember when the choir and their mates came to our home and the Wesley Hier Band began then.

Janet Clark

The church has been a solid rock, God's Place, that's always been there for me. This place of Gods' has taken me through grade school, high school, marriage, births, deaths and many true friends that have been there for me all along the way. I just keep finding new friends to add to my life as Wesley grows and changes. But, God has always been in this church. My dream for Wesley is to build God's room, the one we call a Sanctuary.

I have noticed most of the comments written for this booklet came from perosns who have been attending for some years. I wonder why, even if you came yesterday, you have a history and already some memories of this church. Everyone begins sometime. The fact you came, not how long ago, is what really counts.

Dorothy Dyel

Looking back 55 years in 1938, as a member of the Ina, IL High School Quartet, I sang at a Sunday afternoon singing convention at the Old Wesley Church on South 12th Street, before the church burned in 1940. Little did I realize that some twenty years later, we would move to Mount Vernon and Wesley Church would become such an important part of our lives. Stanton and I have been memebers of Wesley Church for 35 years.

Mrs. Stanton (Rosella) Fowler

I remember when we had our Sunday School Class in the Methodist Children's Home bus. We had lots of fun and was glad to have a part of the childrens' life.

We are blessed at Wesley, to have the quilting ladies. They made a quilt for my granddaugther and it was to beautiful. They were nice enough to let me quilt a heart on it.

Betty Hayes

The "Good Old Days" at Wesley when Daddy, Mother and we three kids came to church. Vilbert was converted in the Garrison Building. This was the time when the church on 12th Street burned.

Mildred Heintz

Welsey Methodist Church is and has always been blessed to have as its' members, people like Mr. Woodrow Smith, who has given to us that which God has blessed him with, his words, wisdom and Christian love. Thank you Woodrow and thank you God for a church like Wesley that has touched so many lives. Wesley has truly possessed many Eagles, who with God's love and wisdom have helped flocks of sparrows like myself, to fly. May your wings of love continue to reach out to all God's children.

Betty King

Ed and I remember when we first organized the WIN ONE CLASS in 1945, with Harry & Dorris McGuire, Luther (Bus) & Mary Winkler, and Ed & I. Later, other early memebers were Burrell & Helen Price, Orval & Idabelle Rightnowar, Floyd & Dorothy (Christina) Hale, and Norman & Velma Pendergraft. The class has grown over the years and now has over fifty members.

Our first teachers were Lawrence Douglas, Lucille Mayfield, Dorothy Smith and Rosemary Harris. We are real fortunate to have Lucille still teaching our class and she has been an inspiration to all of us throughout the years.

We are happy to have many of our old members, who have returned to Mount Vernon and Wesley Church, upon their retirement.

Helen Lively

I remember the "Sad Day" our church burned when it was on South 12th Street. We had church and Sunday School in the Old Garrison Building, while they were building the new church.

Doris McGuire

Vernon has gone to Wesley church all his life. We started going together at Wesley, were married there, our tow children were Baptized there, our son's funeral was there, our daughter was married there, and our grand-daughter now belongs there as a member. Wesley United Methodist Church is our other "Home".

Mr. & Mrs. Vernon McGuire

Welsey Church is my second home. I have gone here all my life, became a member in my teen years and now my daughter is a member and my son will take his confirmation class this year.

The things I remember most about Wesley are the Sunday night services. the MYF would meet at 6:00 pm. We would have a worship time and then refresh-ments.

My Dad has always sang in the choir, for as long as I can remember.

Darlene Raney

I remember the ringing of the old church bell and how far away it could be heard. I remember when Clara Groves and Chloe Cummins played the piano and organ for all services. I recall how many of our children and grandchildren were married at Wesley, also were Baptized and joined the church. Now, we have several great-grandchildren who attend.

The years hold many precious memories and it would take a book for them. We have lost many church friends in the past years, as well as gained many new ones. Our hopes and prayers are that Wesley will grow and touch many lives in the future. We are glad to have been a part of it.

Florine Smith

Out of the mouths of young children, one Sunday morning, while our fine pastor Gerald Gulley was away and we had a guest minister, who spoke on the subject of "Feeding the Sheep"., his remarks were, "I feed my sheep in the morning service and shear them at the night service". Our son, Ken was probably 5 or 6 years old and he whispered he understood about feeding the sheep, but did not know what shearing them meant; after we explained it to hime, he said, "Well our preacher shears us both morning and night".

Gerald told us in later years that he had enjoyed relating that story to his congregations.

Herschel & Rena Terry

How I wish I could be with you for the centennial and reunion in September. My memories go back to a kindergarten class taught by my aunt, Bessie Vaughn, a junior boys calss called the "Live Wires", and especially the youth group.

It was at Wesley that I received salvation, sanctification and my call to ministry. I have now completed 30 years of pastoral ministry and it all began there. To God be the glory, great things He has done.

Until that great reunion day.

Marshall Vaughn


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