Lakewood United Methodist Church To Celebrate 100 Years On Sunday

On Sunday at 11 a.m. the Lakewood United Methodist Church will hold its 100th Anniversary Celebration Service. Present Pastor, the Rev. Violet A. Davidson will lead the service with the Rev. Dr. Sherri Rood, Cornerstone District superintendent, bringing the message. Several past ministers will take part in the service, including the Rev. James Pollard, the Rev. Richard A. Caldwell and the Rev. Richard M. Ricker.

Music Director Mike Kelly will direct the joint choir of the Lakewood and Ashville United Methodist Churches. Local musicians Ralph (Razz) Rasmussen on the clarinet, and Richard Lundquist and Bill Eckstrom on the trumpet, will accompany. Organist Helen Sperry will play, along with past church member, the Rev. Karen (Husted) Snyder.

Following the worship service, there will be an old-fashioned pot-luck dinner in our Fellowship Hall. Reservations are needed by Friday for the dinner.

Methodism in Lakewood traces its history back to 1893, when the villagers were striving to establish a church in the community. For several months, the Methodists had been holding prayer meetings. Members of several other denominations in the village were hopeful that some all-inclusive organization might be formed, since no one group was strong enough to support a church. This hope was realized in September of that year when “a goodly company of earnest people assembled at the Lakewood Chapel.” The new church took the name of “The Church of Christ in Lakewood; Union Congregational.”

This church lasted only 20 years. It became increasingly difficult to pay for a regular minister and for the upkeep of the church. On May 16, 1913, the Union Congregational Church was disbanded and a Methodist Episcopal Church was organized. On July 10 of that same year the Union Congregational Church building was sold to the Lakewood Methodist Episcopal Church for the sum of $1. Tragedy struck the new venture on the night of June 23, 1914, when the building was totally destroyed by fire. Steps were taken at once, however, to rebuild, and the new structure was dedicated on July 18, 1915.

In 1947, Mrs. J. Ward Packard, whose summer home was in Lakewood, presented a Wurlitzer organ to the church, which was in use until 1981.

The growth of the village brought a corresponding increase in the activities of the church. As early as 1947 there was considerable discussion concerning the building of an addition to the church. In 1952, plans for a new church were formulated and a fundraising program was started. In 1953, a 10-acre lot on the corner of East Summit and Shadyside was purchased for $5,000 from the Bentley Estate.

In November 1955, the educational building was opened for use on the new site. For 10 years congregational activities were divided between the two locations. The last service of worship in the old sanctuary was held on April 4, 1965. On the following Sunday, the new sanctuary was opened, and on Oct. 24, the building was consecrated by Bishop W. Ralph Ward.

The church’s ministry to the community is reflected in providing space for outside organizations over the years. The Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, Al-Anon, the Rebekahs, the Board of Elections, and Weight Watchers. Also, for 26 years, the church provided a pre-school, The Room-to-Grow Pre-school, touching the lives of many young families. BOCES classes met there for a few months while their new building was being completed.

Davidson recently shared, “As members of the congregation, we’re sent into the community to serve those in need and to make our community more loving and just. We believe that the Holy Spirit empowers and guides us in these ministries and that wherever there’s need and suffering, we meet Christ, already at work. But still, we cannot be effective in ministry on our own. So the congregation exists, in part, to surround and support each member in his or her ministry. We do not always succeed in our efforts to be faithful disciples in the world. But with the loving support of the community of faith, we can continue to grow.”

History of Lakewood United Methodist Church

1884 – A small summer chapel was built on Ohio Avenue by Mrs. A.H. Kent of Jamestown.

1893 – An all-inclusive village church organized “of Methodists, Baptists, Free Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists … united in their purpose of establishing a Christian Church … In order that it may not stand alone, the church will be affiliated with the Congregational denomination.” The Church of Christ in Lakewood: Union Congregational.

1895 – A church building was begun on East Summit Street, not finished for several years.

1913 – Lakewood Methodist Episcopal Church organized; church building sold to new congregation for $1 with all church property turned over by the Union Congregational Church, which was having difficulty paying its minister. The Lakewood Methodist Episcopal Church was accepted by the Annual Conference, and became part of the Celoron-Lakewood charge.

1914 – Church building was completely destroyed by a fire of clearly incendiary origin on the night before Commencement exercises were to be held there. Steps were taken at once to rebuild; the lot was cleaned, plans drawn, and excavation begun. The cornerstone for the church at 14 E. Summit Ave. was laid Nov. 22, 1914.

1950 – population of Lakewood was 3,013. For lack of space, Primary Department of the Sunday school began meeting in the Village Hall. Next year, the Junior Department also moved to Village Hall, other classes meeting in nearby homes.

1953 – A property of 10.7 acres at Shadyside and East Summit was offered as a building site by the Bentley Estate for nominal sum of $5,000. Without a fund drive, the Building Fund had reached $4,600 in March. The vote was to buy the land.

1954 – A fund drive raised contributions and pledges of $45,550 toward $50,000 goal.

1955 – Ground was broken in April for the Christian Education Building. Open House and Service of Dedication were held Nov. 22.

1960 – Population of Lakewood was 3,933. A Building Committee was elected to plan for the addition of a Sanctuary to the Education Building.

1964 – Bids for construction, plumbing, electrical costs, and architect fees totaled $154,803. Groundbreaking was May 31, using a plow, with congregation “all pulling together.” Cornerstone ceremony for new Sanctuary was held on Nov. 22, 50 years to the day after Cornerstone laying of old church. A second capital funds drive raised $58,700 toward the $100,000 mortgage.

1965 – April 11, Our first worship service was held in the new sanctuary.

1968 – Methodist Episcopal and Evangelical United Brethren combined to become United Methodist.

1975 – An Organ fund was started .

1977 – The mortgage on the Sanctuary at Shadyside and East Summit was paid off in full.

1978 – On Jan. 22, dedication of the new Sanctuary of Lakewood United Methodist Church.

1979 – Landmark Organ bought from the Unitarian Church just before it was razed for highway construction. Organ was taken apart and stored in our building.

1982 – The chancel area was adjusted and the Landmark Organ was reassembled to fit it. On June 6, Dedication of Landmark Organ was held, with two concerts offered for overflow crowds. Total cost of the organ was approximately $37,000.

1984 – Parking expansion and the building of church Parsonage.