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Union Avenue Christian Church
Litchfield, Illinois
Source: "The News Herald", July 24-25, 1981
Submitted by Lynn Boyd Reener

Union Avenue Christian church celebrates its 125th anniversary beginning Sunday…
The church was organized July 31, 1856 as the Christian Church of Litchfield. Its first meeting house was an old frame structure located at the corner of Madison and Third Streets. At this time there were 42 charter members.
In 1865, the congregation outgrew the building. Mr Richard O'Bannon, who had moved to Litchfield from the town of Ridgely, six miles south of Bunker Hill, gave a building site just north of Library square and a brick church was erected at a cost of $4,000.
The congregation moved to the church's present location the corner of Union Ave and Harrison Street, in 1904. Two years later the west auditorium was added. The present education building was dedicated Feb 8, 1925, in the pastorate of Rev J T Shreve. Despite the depression and war, final payment was made and a note-burning ceremony was conducted in 1937.
In 1952, the congregation voted to erect their long-awaited sanctuary. It was dedicated on Feb 6, 1955 with Rev Ernest P Baker conducting the ceremony. Cost of the sanctuary was reported to be $160,000. Six years ago the sanctuary was renovated and recarpeted.

VanBurensburg United Methodist Church
Observes Centennial Birthday
VanBurensburg, Illinois

Source: "Montgomery County News", prob about June 1980
Submitted by Lynn Boyd Reener

The land in the small southeastern Montgomery Co village of VanBurensburg was laid off in lots to prepare for a fantastic growth promised by rail lines which never materialized. But the town grew anyway and with it the German Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the USA.
In October 1880, land for the church was deeded by Elijah and Drucilla Wright, Edward and Elizabeth Lynn, Pascal and Penny Abell, John Gochenour, and William, Anna, Henry, and Clara Lynn to the trustees of the English Methodist Episcopal Church for the sum of one dollar.
Eight years later, on July 12, the trustees conveyed a deed to the German Society represented by Henry Bockstruck, William Greenwood, and John Rademacher. This second deed gave German trustees use of the church on alternate Sundays, one year in the forenoon and the next in the afternoon.
The church remained the property of the German "St Louis" Conference for 44 years. In 1925, the German and English Conferences merged and formed the Southern Illinois Conference, later being absorbed into the Conference of the Methodist Church.
At one time, a church building was partitioned, dividing the men from the women. The heat came from black round oak stoves. Over the years, improvements have been made in the building's foundation, roof, flooring, inside paneling, and heating system, with the addition of storm windows, two classrooms, and a vestibule.
A picture of some of the 44 members was included with the article and notations were given ---
Clifford Greenwood, baptized 71 years ago - member 53 yrs
Blanch Greenwood, member 27 years of 27 years marriage
Henry & Esther Folkers, lifetime members - m. 60 yrs
Julie Himes, member 10 years
Carolyn Blankenship, member 9 years
Arleen Duff, 47 years
Valeria Austin, 45 years
Hoyt Greenwood, 56 years
Maudie Greenwood, 47 years
Hulda Brackenbush, 56 years
Mark Blankenship, 14 years
Dorothy Greenwood, 50 years
Ruth Greenwood, who has attended for 35 years
Roxie Folkers, member 65 years
Raymond Austin, 37 years
Jesse Nobbe, 62 years
Joe & Mary Jenner, each member for 35 years
Marilyn Blankenship, 25 years
Dorothy Jenner, 30 years
Eugene Jenner, 31 years

Ware's Grove Marks 125 Years
Source: "Montgomery County News", Oct 10, 1985
Submitted by Lynn Boyd Reener

The early settlers gathered for worship in the grove near a log school built in 1849 and a cemetery established in 1845 near Butler.
Ware's Grove Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized on Christmas Eve 1860 at the schoolhouse with 22 charter members.
Soon they had outgrown the school house and in March 1862, they agreed to construct a 45' x 30' New England type building. Justus Ware and his widowed mother, Mrs Benjamin (Sarah Slayback) Ware donated land. Justus let all his land lie fallow in 1862 to work full time on the building project. Robert Morrell was in charge of the work assisted by those in the neighborhood.
The heavy beams were hand hewn from the timber on the hill. One June 15, 1862, the building was raised with 150 people present and the completed church was dedicated on Dec 28.
After searching about 10 years, Justus Ware decided the very best bell was cast of copper and block tin and it was obtained from a factory in Cincinnati. A pump organ was acquired in 1870.
The Rev Jeremiah Livengood was the first pastor of Ware's Grove, serving from 1860 until 1872. He was followed by Rev John Hamilton (7 yrs), Rev J B Comer (9 yrs), and Rev Alfred Martinis (4 yrs).
The Rev Ezra Keller served the St Paul's Lutheran Church of Hillsboro for 60 years and the Ware's Grove Lutheran Church for 59 years (1895 - 1955). He was succeeded by Rev Paul Hersch.
In 1958, a 24'x40' addition was constructed mostly by volunteers and the original building was remodeled.


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