Welcome to this special edition of Marking Time in Alliance. I’m your host Jim Perone and today we’re visiting Union Avenue United Methodist Church as we celebrate Heritage Sunday with you .
Since the summer of 2020 the Union Avenue History Committee has been researching the heritage of our congregation and its buildings beginning with a glimpse of the small village of Mount Union and the Johnson family. We have uncovered photographs documents and early membership lists. The earliest minutes of the Official Board and membership rolls date back to 1870. We have traced deeds and landowners for our earliest church buildings and found humorous ways to raise money for our current building.
Our connection to Mount Union College is documented with information garnered from our former historian Yost Osborne. His book, A Select Schoo,l along with the building committee’s minutes helped us see how Mount Union’s president T. P. Marsh came to say that the church building project required more of his time than did the building of Morgan Gymnasium.
Much work from the congregation and its many committees went into the construction of our beloved church and though the exterior has changed little over the years the interior and footprint have seen many changes.
From the first education wing addition in 1927 through its ever-growing Sunday school classes that reached over 350 attendees each week. Attendance continued to grow through the 1950s when the second educational building was added.
We found slides from the 1980s that visually detail the facelift given the interior, color photos of the fellowship hall transition, and digital images from the most recent transformation.
With help from the Ohio and Pennsylvania archives of the United Methodist Church we discovered the names of the many Circuit Rider preachers, bios of our ministers, and even photos of many of them. Our research has uncovered the stories of forgotten memorial designees and will now officially record them for future generations to know.
Our organs, organists, chancel, and choirs along with the music and worship customs over the years lead us to a further appreciation for all these ministries to enhance our spirituality. We looked at our many social ministries and traditions that we offer and conducted interviews with members of the congregation discovering how they connect us to each other and how though we are apart we are still all together. Our research will come to fruition later this year when we plan to publish a book on the history of Union Avenue Church to share with everyone.
Thank you for joining us for this special edition of Marking Time in Alliance as we’ve been celebrating Heritage Sunday here at Union Avenue United Methodist Church. We’ll see you next time on down the road.