by Jill Leveck
When I was doing research on a paper for one of my classes, I was given a wealth of information about people and events in the past of the two churches that make up our Lovilia UnitedMethodist Church. It was so interesting; we have such a rich heritage and strong foundation here in Lovilia. We need to celebrate it!
For example, I read a 1908 obituary for a C.M. Forest who gave the land for the MethodistChurch, helped to raise funds for the building, and gave up a whole summer of his time and expertise to work on construction. He only got to attend one service in the completed sanctuary before he died of a heart attack. His was the first funeral held in the new church building. Mr. Forest is just one of the great "cloud of witnesses" that make this church what it is today.
If you have old letters or newspaper articles, etc. that have accounts of summer picnics, winter skating parties, work days or remembrances of men and women who helped to form the character and commitment of our United Methodist church, [share them] so that we can laugh and cry together, be inspired and learn from our yesterdays as we look toward tomorrow.
Long before consolidation of educational facilities became the norm in this state, one room schools dotted the landscape and provided a strong foundation for many rural young people. Today our children are bussed here and there and most of the structures themselves are gone.
But here at the Lovilia United Methodist Church we are blessed to have one of those school houses as part of our church. The old Hinton School was moved to town and literally attached to our building and is now the East room that we use for Kids Club and Sunday School classes.
And, did you know that one of our members, Norma Barnes, used to teach in the Hinton School? Today she teaches the adult class in that very room - things have come full circle and we have a bit more of the rich legacy of our history and heritage.
One of the most striking and beautiful features in our sanctuary are the stained glass windows - both those that filter the light of the sun and
those that grace our altar area. Custom made for our church, the glass comes from the Methodist Church which once stood in Lovilia. When the United Brethren and Methodist churches became on new United Methodist denomination, communities like ours faced tough decisions (decisions often taken out of our hands entirely). From what folks have told me, it was a painful time of upheaval for Lovilia.
The beauty of our windows symbolizes the spirit of cooperation and community that is at the heart of our church today. We have come through the fire and are better and stronger for it.
Our roots go deep here in Lovilia. the two churches that intertwine and eventually connect to make the Lovilia United Methodist Church go back to the 1840's when settlers were putting down roots and staking their claims to the land.
The first United Brethrens met in homes, schools and tents whenever a circuit riding pastor came around. Early Methodists held meetings as early as 1857 and were part of the Hamilton circuit. The first recorded baptism was Victoria Rilea in 1864. I wonder if any of her kin are around today.