I don’t know whether Dad ever delivered these words to a congregation at Trinity. They were among several hand-written manuscripts discovered among his things after his death. It would appear that this may have been a short message delivered to the congregation at Western Reserve United Methodist Church.
- History – Stewardship – Humor
We owe our theology, structure, and enthusiasm to our founder John Wesley, a priest in the church of England.
Throughout his boyhood, his student years and on into his priesthood, he focused his life rigorously on trying to satisfy the demands of religion as he understood them. This led to an ultimate sense of despair, failure, and anxiety about his relationship with God.
In 1736 and 1737, the Wesley‘s were in Georgia in the colonies, pastoring in the wilderness. It was a dismal failure. Charles left and went back to civilized England after only five months with the Georgian settlers. He did not understand the “colonials“ and their spiritual needs. He ended up as secretary to Georgia’s Governor James Oglethorpe. After spending a full day writing letters for the governor instead of spreading the gospel, Charles Wesley wrote, “I would not spend six days more in the same manner for all of Georgia.“ And home he went.
John Wesley stayed in Georgia ministering to the Indians until December 1737 – and then literally fled home to England. His mission to the Indians was a dismal failure. They were too busy fighting to stop long enough to listen to his sermons. He thought they would be “…humble as little children, eager to learn, willing to do the will of God.“ But before he left he wrote, “They are, except for perhaps the Choctaws, gluttons, thieves, disbelievers, and liars.“
The Weslyan religious format of constant meetings, innumerable rules of conduct, prayers, confessionals, penances, and other strict practices were not understood by the colonists who escaped from England to find religious freedom, among other things. For a time they thought he was a Catholic. His sermons were dry and long – and very Anglican. His congregations grew smaller each week. Finally even his friends shrugged their shoulders and left his meetings.
But then came that evening prayer meeting in Aldersgate Street in London on May 24, 1738. He discovered what Saul of Tarsus, later to become the apostle Paul, and Martin Luther learned before him that a new relationship with God comes through faith in Jesus Christ, not by our own efforts. He was born again when he experienced the absolute assurance when his heart was strangely warmed when he realize that God had taken away his sins and saved him from the law of sin and death. And the rest is history.
- Our Beginnings…What Does The Church Mean to Me?
In my case it’s the Methodist Church – I don’t know any other denomination or church other than Trinity in downtown Youngstown/ My parents took me as a little child. Trinity‘s reputation is as a wealthy church. The Beeghly’s, the Crandall‘s, the Blisses, the Collins etc.
As a child Trinity made a mild impression. The Children’s Church was headed by Mrs. Hammacher. I only remember hitting my head on a shelf while being chased by one of the Beeghley boys. I was one of the children in the children’s pageant, where Mr. Bliss played King Herod.
As a teenager I well remember Epworth League, the girls, the youth choir, the girls, picnics in Mill Creek Park, the girls!
Then came World War II. Before I went to the service I worked for the contractor who was building the new Trinity, but I left before it was finished. I came home to a totally different Trinity. It was new. It was different. It still had a lot of members, the Chancel Choir, the Youth Choir, the Children’s Choir, big Sunday school classes, boys and girls classes, the Mar-Sing class. I sang in the choir at the 1947 general conference in Boston.
Trinity has always been the “mother church” of churches around the Youngstown area. Richard Brown Memorial has helped outlying churches grow. Poland UMC, Boardman UMC, Canfield UMC. But today we have people coming from Pennsylvania, Columbiana, Trumbull County – a metropolitan church drawing people from all over.
But – what does this church – this pile of stone in in downtown Youngstown mean to me? Nothing. But the people do. And that’s the way it should be. It’s the body of saints in the church that makes the church. Today the people who led Trinity 50, 60, 70 years ago would not recognize her today. We are a much smaller congregation, just under 700 souls. But we are a caring community. Trinity today is a warm, caring church. We all hurt when one of our number hurts. We cry in sorrow, we rejoice in happiness with one another.
We are growing – trying to go on to perfection as John Wesley our founder would have us do – but – more importantly what our Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ would have us do. We have become a loving congregation.
However, we read Jesus words concerning stewardship in the sixth chapter of Matthew the 20th and 21st verses. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.“ And in chapter 21, “For where your treasure is there is where your heart be also.“
Take the 21st verse and turn it around – “for where your heart is there is where your treasure be also.” When the church members at Western Reserve United Methodist Church or Trinity or any church become involved in the church and its ministry, stewardship of time, talent and money is usually not a problem.
The every member canvas has to collect your pledge for the next year. Tell them about the church and its ministry. Ask them to come to church – to get involved. Get to know the people and when they do that, they begin to understand the need for the members time, talent and money, and how they can further the ministry of Western Reserve United Methodist church and God‘s kingdom.
- A Little Church Humor…Yes, it’s OK to laugh in Church!
During a very large ecumenical gathering, somebody rushed into the huge auditorium and screamed, “Fire! Fire! The building’s on fire!”
- The Presbyterians gathered in a corner and prayed.
- The Baptists cried, “Where’s the water?”
- The Christian Scientists agreed among themselves that there was no fire.
- The Fundamentalists shouted, “It’s the vengeance of’ God!”
- The Lutherans posted a notice on the door declaring the fire was evil.
- The Quakers quietly praised God for the blessings that fire brings.
- The Jews posted symbols on the doors, hoping the fire would pass over them.
- The Roman Catholics passed the collection plate.
- The Episcopalians formed a procession and marched out in grand style.
- The Congregationalists called out, “Every man for himself!”
- and the Methodists? They appointed a chairperson who was to appoint a committee to look into the matter!
- Did you know the Disciples rode around in a Honda? It says right in the Scriptures that they were all of one Accord.
- Did you know the Bible was actually the first book on baseball? Right there in the first chapter of the book is says, “In the big inning…”
There are times when a Church bulletin should never have seen the light of day. The reason why is evident in this collection of church bulletin announcements sent to my Dad by the Rev. Stanley H. Conover of St. Louis Park, Minn. He came across the collection, unaccredited to any source, in a local nursing-home newsletter. So we can’t vouch that everything was mis-announced as shown. But does it matter?
- This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the Church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
- The Service will close with “Little Drops of Water.” One of the ladies will start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in.
- Today a special collection will be taken to defray the expenses of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the carpet please come forward and get a piece of paper.
- The ladies ot the church have cast off clothing of every kind, and they may be seen in the church basement on Friday afternoon.
- Thursday at 5:00 P.M. there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become little mothers will please meet the minister in his study.
- Wednesday the Ladies Literary Society will meet. Mrs. Johnson will sing “Put Me in My Little Bed” accompanied by the preacher.
- From the Western Morning News of England:
“Alan Nance, the pioneer of spiritual medicine from St. Austell, has died after tripping over his healing stool.”