Conesville UMC to celebrate 155th anniversary

| October 16, 2019

Conesville United Methodist Church Pastor Jeff Calkins and Historian/Music Director Karen Wortman welcome the public to attend the church’s 155th anniversary celebration on Sunday, Oct. 27.

CONESVILLE – For 155 years the Conesville United Methodist Church has provided the community with a place to worship the Lord and enjoy fellowship time with friends and neighbors.

The church will celebrate its 155th anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 27. Former Pastor Phil Hoverstock will preach at the 11 a.m. service and other past pastors will participate.

Hoverstock served the church from 2005 to 2008 and they experienced great growth during his time.

“He had a way of reaching out to the young people and they liked him,” said Karen Wortman, historian/director of music.

Following worship, a covered dish dinner will be held in the fellowship hall. The church will provide meat dishes, rolls, beverages and celebration cake for dessert. Individuals attending are invited to bring vegetable (hot or cold) or fruit dishes. Former pastors or their families are invited to share a brief memory of when they were serving the church. The community is invited to join in the celebration.

The church was started in 1864, about a half mile from its current site. At that time its name was Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church. Services were held in the old Conesville School until the sanctuary at 196 State Street was built in 1874. It was then known as Conesville Methodist Church. The final name change was when “United” was added.

Updates have been made over the years including a basement addition and a second story put over it to complete the church’s education wing. The second project was the addition of an office and a bigger basement with a fellowship hall and kitchen that was completed in 1994.

“With that addition we were able to have a lot more activities in the basement and more room for the pastor’s office,” Wortman said. “The office also serves as our nursery.”

Fifty-three pastors have served the church including Jeff Calkins. He started at the church in July 2018 and is especially excited about the congregation’s Helping Hands program. The community outreach project is a food pantry open to the public every third Thursday of the month.

“We do it then because people seem to run out of money more for food toward the end of the month,” Wortman said.

Bags are already packed for those who attend Helping Hands and they are able to choose from two different options.

“The church supports this,” Wortman said. “Members donate items and we buy extras as they are needed.”

Church members also help organize a Vacation Bible School, where Wortman enjoys teaching music.

“I love working with the kids, I love the Lord, and I love music,” she said. “How can you have a better thing?”

Calkins is excited for the church to host the release time pilot program being offered in conjunction with Conesville Elementary School.

“We have over 80 coming to learn about the Bible during school hours,” he said. “It’s fantastic and it’s growing each week.”

The program is held from 12 to 3 p.m. with different times for each age group. Each week they learn about a different character and get a badge. Volunteers meet the students at the school and walk them across the street to the church. Parents had to give permission for their children to participate.

“We have volunteers from this church and others,” Calkins said. “It’s not about a denomination. It’s about the kids.”

He hopes the program helps children grow in their faith and build the future of churches in our community.

Conesville United Methodist Church currently has 85 members. Calkins also serves Tyndal and New Moscow United Methodist churches. Together all three churches have gained seven members, which includes one profession of faith.

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Category: Faith

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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