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Tyndall UMC celebrating 125th anniversary

| May 9, 2017
Tyndall United Methodist Church at 18091 TR 284, will celebrate its 125th anniversary with a special program at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 21. Josie Sellers | Beacon

Tyndall United Methodist Church at 18091 TR 284, will celebrate its 125th anniversary with a special program at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 21. Josie Sellers | Beacon

TYNDALL – Tyndall United Methodist Church was once surrounded by a little coal mining town.

“Barnes Mine had a railroad that went through here to haul coal,” said Marilyn Shaffer Gonter. “ People here at that time were holding church in their homes and at a school house until Barnes said if the congregation paid for half they would pay for the other half so a church could be built.”

One hundred and twenty-five years later that church is still standing.

“The church isn’t full like it used to be,” Gonter said. “We are down to two to seven people on Sundays, but we are trying to keep it alive.”

One way they are attempting to do that is by hosting a 125th anniversary celebration at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 21 at the church.

“We had our 100th anniversary celebration in 1992 and there were 147 people in here,” Gonter said.

The Rev. Irvin Jennings who lives in Lakeside now, but is originally from the area and graduated from Conesville High School in 1952 will speak at the event.

“I wanted people who grew up in this church to bring the message to people,” Gonter said.

Sheldon Mencer also will sing some special songs and there will be a time for congregational singing. Refreshments will be served after the program.

“We are going to sing songs from that era that would have come out of the hymn book 125 years ago,” said Mencer, who is helping Gonter plan the celebration.

The church’s deed was filed on May 25, 1892 and over the course of time 20 preachers have led Tyndall United Methodist Church. The last to regularly preach there was Charles Warren who retired in February. Various people now take turns delivering the message at the 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning service.

Gonter started attending the church in 1953. She raised her children there and can remember days when the church was filled.

“In the 50s this addition was built on because we needed space for Sunday school and it was the men of the church that got together and did it,” Gonter said.

They still have their coffee and donut social hour there on the last Sunday of the month, but the extra space for classes is no longer needed.

“This church is my life,” Gonter said. “Jesus is my savior and I want to be active in the church and help get his word out to people. I hope people see in me that I love Jesus.”

She is very thankful the church is still there, even with its dwindling congregation.

“They are in a transition period right now, but we are only going to dwell on the positive,” Mencer said. “We are hoping this is something that can get people coming back and wanting to be part of the church and helping it grow.”

Gonter doesn’t like to think about her community without a church.

“I want His (God’s) word here in our community,” she said. “It would break my heart to have to lock the church doors after all these years. It feels like home when you are here and everyone here is like family and precious to me.”



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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