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Elm River Church History


aka Brown Cumberland Presbyterian

Donated by Bettie Wheat

A ground-breaking ceremony for a new church building for the Elm River Cumberland Presbyterian church, also known as the Brown church, will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 3, the pastor Rev. Rusty Pedigo, announces. The new building will lie on the east corner of the present church property.

Brown Brick Exterior
The new structure will be brown brick (the church for many years has been known as The Brown Church), measuring approximately 52x24 feet, with a basement located beneath the sanctuary. This will provide three Sunday School rooms, a fellowship hall and a kitchen. A water well has been drilled recently to provide running water and toilet facilities. Rev. Pedigo said much of the material from the old building will be utilized and much of the labor will be donated by members and friends of the church. The congregation in 1980 decided to erect a new building. The proposed plans were then approved and Loyde Atwood was secured as head carpenter to oversee the project. Dr. Eugene Warren, executive secretary of the denominational Board of Finance, met with the congregation to aid in financial planning.

Public Invited
"Along with members and friends of the church, we are expecting guests from Cum-berland Parish (Bt. Prairie, Lebanon and Elm River C.P. churches) Presbyterial representatives, and Rev. Don Sweet, Fairfield C.P. church pastor, who was instrumental in the formation of the Cumberland Parish," Rev. Pedigo added. The public is invited. Elders of the Elm River C. I P. church include Jack Enlow, Everett Enlow, Dennis Carter, Joe Molt, Don Wheat and Rev. Pedigo.

Elm River church
which will be replaced this summer with a new brick church building, east from the present church.

History Of Church

The Elm River Cumberland Presbyterian church was first organized in 1853 in the village of Mt. Erie, as the Mt. Erie C. P. church. Rev. M. A. Marlowe was first pastor. Twenty-five years later, in September of 1877, the church property at Mt. Erie was sold to the trustees of the Mt. Erie cemetery and plans were made to relocate the church. Within two years, the congregation had selected a suitable building site near Brown cemetery, west of Mt. Erie, and the present building was erected. The name was then changed to the Elm River C. P. church.

Brown Cumberland Presbyterian Church
New and Old…
The old Brown Cumberland Presbyterian Church, three miles west of Mt. Erie stands right, still in use, while the new church building is being erected. The members of the congregation are holding a Chowder supper Saturday at Mt. Erie Ruritan Community Building to help finance the building project.

Independent Times, Wednesday, August 26, 1981

Up until 15 years or so ago, the Brown Cumberland Church, like many other churches in the area, would sponsor a popular annual ice cream social. There was homemade ice cream and the women brought soup for dinner. It was a time for a little socializing and a little fund raising. But, like so many other things, it was a traditional event that didn't last. Until now. The members of the small country church, which is situated three miles west of Mt. Erie, will revive the annual get together Saturday. Beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Mt. Erie Ruritan Community Building, the church will be serving chowder, homemade ice cream, pie, cake, tea and coffee. There'll be a little socializing and a little fund raising.

The event is not being re-instituted out of a dire sense of lost tradition, however. Rather, it has been revived to help a good cause. Darwin Porterfield, the postmaster at Mt. Erie and a member of the Brown Cumberland Presbyterian congregation, admits that the catalyst for bringing the event back to life was the construction of a new church building. The new building is currently under construction by Mt. Erie carpenter Lloyd Atwood just a scant

100 feet from the site where the present church, dedicated in 1869, stands. The new building, which will have a total of 3050 square feet, including a basement with three classrooms and a lobby with bathrooms, is expected to be ready to house services by the first of November.

Porterfield said the construction of the new building was necessitated by the decaying condition of the old building, which has a floor that has fallen prey to termites. The old staid, white church building was also weakened several years ago when it had to be moved a number of feet to make way for the Mt. Erie-Cisne blacktop. The new building will be a bricked structure. It was designed by Atwood in the beginning stages. The final plans were drawn up by Fred Kitley, the Mayor of West Salem. Once completed, the upstairs will be 1696 square feet and the basement 1360 square feet. The building will include a kitchen, a rec room, the classrooms, the bathrooms and an outer lobby. Many of the fixtures will be taken from the old church building; which is scheduled to be razed upon completion of the new church. Porterfield said the members of the congregation are excited about the construction of the new building. They're also aware of the $50,000 price tag. Hence, the revival of the ice cream supper. “I think it will be an annual affair. At least for the next few years. We’er like any other outfit. When we’re in debt we’ll work,” Porterfield said. The supper is not the only way the congregation is trying to raise the funds for the $50,000 note taken from the Cumberland Presbyterian Church district. Several private donors have committed $1,000 a piece and others have contributed lesser amounts. Porterfied says additional moneymaking projects may be in the offering.

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