LETART — When the year 1912 comes to mind, many think of the Titanic’s disastrous maiden voyage, but the members of the Graham United Methodist Church know it as the year their place of worship was born.
Sometimes called the “Block Church,” the Graham United Methodist Church was completed in July of 1912, and a celebration is planned for this weekend. Beginning at noon on Saturday, July 21, there will be a community pot luck picnic on the church’s grounds, with the church providing hotdogs with sauce, pop, water, and cake, followed by performances from Truly Saved, John Bumgarner, Cindy Barnette, and Graham’s Pop-Up Choir.
Starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 22, Jack Russell, a Missionary to Bolivia will be speaking, followed by performances from New Song and Graham’s Pop-Up Choir. Lunch will follow on Sunday as well. During the celebration, there will be church artifacts and pictures from the last 100 years on display.
Over the course of 100 years, the church of course has accumulated its portion of history and memories. It was reported the church was first conceived by Rev. W.T. Sheppard of Huntington and then built by the Foreman Brothers. The name of the church originates from a former railroad station where the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad once stopped, called the Graham Station. During the construction, a large decorative window was donated by original member Alice Clarke Wells, in honor of her brother, Albert Clark, and the land for the church was donated by Mr. and Mrs. A.A. Board.
In addition to the initial construction in 1912, there have been a few additions over the years as well. It was reported the original bell tower had blown off the building before it was finished and had to be replaced. A basement was also added around 1946. Also, the Allen Fellowship Hall at the church was added in 1987 and named for lifetime members Ada Clarke and Anna Allen.
Lifetime member Alice Weiss also spoke to the Point Pleasant Register on the special occasion, and said she and her family have been very active over the church’s history. In addition to attending the church for her entire life, which is 50 years, she has played piano at the church since she was 12 years old, as well as filling in as the secretary and Sunday school teacher.
Weiss’s parents were also heavily involved in the church. Her father, Albert T. Roush, Sr., served as the Superintendent for over 35 years, and her mother served as a teacher and the treasurer for the Graham United Methodist Women. Weiss stated the superintendent of the church was a leader who assists in leading the service by introducing the preacher and the songs sang during the service, in addition to several other duties. Weiss’s son Brian, age 19, is currently serving as the superintendent and has been for four years. Weiss’s husband, Bill, is also active in the church by assisting with building’s maintenance and lawn care.
“I think it’s a wonderful small community church,” Weiss said. “We have some of the best and faithful church members that are very dedicated to the hard work of planning this celebration and to achieve our main goal, which is to see more people dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ.”
It was reported that all are invited to share in this celebration, and for those who are unable to attend are encouraged to share their memories surrounding this century old church by sending a memory letter or email to GrahamUMChurch@hotmail.com.