60th Anniversary!

photo 260 Fun Facts – Celebrating 60 years of Ministry – May 18, 1952 – May 18, 2012

#1:    The first meeting of Lexington Methodist Church occurred at the Unitarian Church in May, 1951.

#2:    Lexington Methodist Church held its founding conference on May 18, 1952 with 67 charter members.

#3:    The congregation was the first new congregation in 30 years in the New England Conference.  Worship was held in the Masonic Hall in Lexington until the completion of the new sanctuary.

#4:    In the fall of 1952, Rev. Earl D. Haywood was appointed pastor and held his first worship service on September 28, 1952.

#5:    Rev. Haywood led the congregation in the purchase of its present site (an apple orchard) in 1954.  Groundbreaking followed in 1955 for the construction of the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall.

#6:    The original building cost $185,000 and 25 members of the congregation signed a personal obligation for $1,000 to secure a bank loan.

#7:    Our church received welcoming gifts of 80 folding chairs from Hancock Congregational Church; choir robes from the Baptist Church and $3000 from the Belmont Methodist Church to purchase altar and chancel furniture.

#8:    The first worship service held in the new sanctuary was in February 1957.   The church building did not yet have a steeple.

#9:    The church organ was purchased from the Dahlstrom family of Connecticut. It was sold to the church for much less than its market value at the time. The $1,000 purchase price of the room sized organ and pipes was quietly donated by a Dahlstrom family member to be given to the owner.  It was dedicated in 1957.  The organ is now valued at over $200,000.

#10:  Membership grew to 427 in 1958 (from 67 charter members in 1952).

#11:  A Boy Scout troop was chartered and sponsored by the Men’s Group in 1957.  While LUMC does not currently sponsor a scoot troop, several girl and boy scout troops hold their meetings in the church building during the school year.

#12:  Rev. Earl D. Haywood served from 1952 – 1958.  Rev. T. Landon Lindsay was appointed in 1958 and served until 1966.

#13:  Rev. Lindsay was a civil rights, prison ministry, and capital punishment activist.  During a civil rights protest trip to North Carolina during Holy Week 1964, he was arrested while dining in public with some black friends.  He was released on Good Friday.

#14:  Beginning in 1959 and throughout most of the 1960s, the church supported Rev. Edward Barber and his wife, who were missionaries in Bolivia.  Rev. Barber transported a piano in the back of a pick-up truck to the remote areas of his missionary work.

#15:  In 1961, the first floor of the education wing was added to the original church structure.  This first addition comprised 6 classrooms and restrooms.  The cost of the addition was approximately $50,000.

#16:  The Methodist Weekday School was formed on November 28, 1961 as a nonprofit, nonsectarian school, open to the community.  It welcomed 77 students in 1962 and its annual budget was $13,250.00.  The school’s capacity is now 115 students.  It has educated over 3500 children in its 50 years.

#17:  Midge Williams was the first director of the Methodist Weekday School.  The second director was Charlotte Klaubert during whose tenure the relationship changed between the church and the school from tenant to mission
of LUMC. Barbara Moore served as director from 1980 – 1999.  Pat McClure and Ruth Carlson have co-directed the school since 1999.

#18:  A second story to the education wing was added in 1964 including eight new classrooms, a pastor’s study and a new office for the church (6,000 square feet).  The cost of the addition was approximately $57,000.

#19:  A photo reprinted in a November 2011 edition of the Lexington Minuteman shows Rev. Landon Lindsay shaking hands with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Lexington High School where he gave a speech.  The photo was originally published in the Minuteman on February 14, 1963.

#20:  Rev. Richard E. Harding was third pastor and served from 1966 to 1969.  He continued to lead the church in strong social action efforts.

#21:  In 1968, Lexington Methodist Church became Lexington United Methodist Church through the merger of the Methodist and Evangelical Brethren denominations.

#22:  In anticipation of LUMC’s 15th Anniversary in November 1967, founding member Tillie Khiralla arranged for the loan of the beautiful oriental carpet in the Narthex.  At the time, the oversized carpet was valued at $1775.  Arthur Gregorian discounted the price to $1200 as a favor to Tillie.  It was agreed that the cost would be covered by $691 from the Memorial Fund and $509 of combined member donations.  The carpet is still gracing the Narthex today.

#23:  Church members George and Maggie Winburn served as missionaries in Liberia from 1968 through the late 70s.  George was known as “the flying doctor” and villagers would wave a flag to alert him to their needs as he flew overhead.  George Clemow rounded up spare airplane parts for repairs.  Bill Santelmann and his son Stuart collected two-way radio components to replace the flag system.

#24:  Rev. John Lilly was the fourth pastor and served from 1969 – 1970.  Rev. Lilly wrote in the 1969 Annual Report, “One cannot help but comment on what may be described as differing expectations on the part of the various persons and groups in the church.  This is increasingly true of many churches across America.  It presents a new challenge.  Can we build a life together in the church which meets the differing needs of people?  It is not likely that we will all agree on the issues before us as a church.  Is it possible for us to evolve toward a pluralistic church where diversity is recognized and affirmed?”

#25:  The Maintenance budget for the church in 1969 was $4474.00.  Janitorial services cost $4100 in 1969.  The total expenses for the United Methodist Church Corporation in Lexington (Corporation/trustees) in 2011 was approximately $148,000.  This includes all building-related costs (utilities, repairs, maintenance, janitorial, capital improvements).

#26:  During the 1960s and early ‘70s, attendance was at its peak.  There were two worship services and Sunday School was held in every available nook and cranny.  There were even classes held in the kitchen and in stairwells!

#27:  LUMC Lay Leader, Carlton Lehr, was inspired to answer the call of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to band  together with the Sanitation workers of Memphis, TN, in spring of 1968.  Dr. King gave his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech on April 3, 1968.    Impassioned by his plea, Carl joined hundreds, black and white, to march the streets in unity.  Many parishioners supported Carl’s valor and courage from afar.  It would be Dr. King’s last speech as he was assassinated on April 5, 1968.

#28:  In recognition of Lexington’s bicentennial (1975), parishioners were invited to attend worship on Sunday, April 20, 1975 in colonial attire.  At the time, several female members acted as tour guides at Buckman Tavern, the meeting place of the Minute Men.  Some LUMC men were part of the Company of Lexington Minute Men Re-enactors. Others improvised their colonial garb for the day.  The service was fashioned “in the old style” and included hymns that would have been sung in 1775.

#29: Rev. Wayne S. Moody was the fifth pastor and served from 1970 – 1971.  Rev. J. Allen Broyles was the sixth pastor and served from 1972 – 1977.  They served during a time when social ethics was a central conversation in the Methodist Church throughout the region.

#30:  Rev. Michael S.K. Hahm was the seventh pastor and served from 1977 – 1981.  Rev. Hahm was sought out for a position on the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries based in New York.  He was moved to accept the role to have a broader impact on the church as a whole.

#31:  Founding member Tillie Khiralla had her heart set on erecting a steeple on the church building during her lifetime.  She made it her quest to appeal to any and all members, past and present, to raise the funds needed.  On November 4, 1988, her dream was realized when the steeple was mounted to its perch atop the building.  Tillie smiled with tears in her eyes and was happy to tell the story for the remaining years of her life.

#32:  In 1981, LUMC began sharing spaces with St. John’s Korean UMC as a landlord/tenant relationship.  In 1984, both churches began to take steps to create a more equitable and permanent arrangement.  In 1987, the church building was expanded and renovated to accommodate both congregations including the addition of the atrium corridor outside of Martin Hall, an elevator and the office wing.  Total cost was $970,000.

#33:  The United Methodist Church Corporation in Lexington was formed in 1987 to take ownership of the newly renovated building with Lexington UMC and St. John’s Korean UMC as owners.  The “Corporation” meets bi-monthly to discuss building-related matters.  The presidency of the trustees alternates each year between Lexington UMC and St. John’s Korean UMC.

#34:  Rev. Jin Tae Kwon was the pastor of St. John’s Korean UMC until 2004.  Rev. Young Bok Rha served as interim pastor from 2004 – 2005.  Rev. Sang Yean Cho has been pastor since 2005.  St. John’s Korean UMC celebrated its 35th anniversary on March 15, 2009.

#35:  The quilt in the Sanctuary was created by Master Quilter Pat Garland along with a small group of church volunteers.  Pat created the design and taught her eager assistants the art of machine quilting.  Every LUMC family or individual was invited to bring a representative fabric square to church on September 12, 1999.  The pieces were quilted together and signed.  The quilt was lovingly assembled by Pat and her team and dedicated on Sunday, November 14, 1999.

#36:  Seven ministerial candidates have come from Lexington UMC: Cynthia Good, Chungh Wan Kim, Judy Kohatsu, Ruth Douglas Merriam, Mi Jung Park, Hee Sob Sohng and Jack Witherspoon.

#37:  The Sanctuary has a capacity of 408 with additional seating in the balcony.  During our peak attendance years, there were two Sunday worship services and seating was at a premium.  It was widely known amongst parishioners that if one cared to sit during the candlelight Christmas Eve service, early arrival was a must!

#38:  Rev. David Myers was the eighth pastor and served from 1981 – 1992.  David Myers served twice, first working with the youth in the late 70s and then as pastor.  During his pastorate, we expanded the building to the layout we now enjoy and developed our close and affirming partnership with St. John’s Korean UMC.

#39:  Our fellowship hall is named in memory of Thomas and Flora Martin. Originally called Wesley Hall, the “big room” as it is known by the Weekday School children, was dedicated Martin Hall in November of 1982. It was so named because a bequest by the Martin Family provided the funds for an extensive renovation. The space was previously more basement than function hall.

#40:  LUMC’s cookbook, Loaves, Fishes and Other Dishes, was compiled of favorite recipes from faithful congregants. Many specialties have appeared at church potluck dinners or arrived on the doorstep when caring support is needed. Incidentally, the congregation was invited to submit names for the cookbook. The chosen title was written by Otis Anderson, an LUMC member at the time. Which recipes are your favorites?

#41:  A Wesley Christmas was our first foray into dinner theatre in 1991. It was a fully staged and period-costumed musical production of John Wesley’s family story and the origins of Methodism. An enjoyable evening was had by all.

#42:  In addition to the district, regional, and national United Methodist “Special Sunday” offerings (e.g., One Great Hour of Sharing and World Communion Sunday), LUMC has steadfastly participated in other outreach projects for many years by donating time, resources, or material goods. Examples include: Roxbury Food Cupboard for more than 25 years; Lexington Food Pantry since its opening in 1990; Amnesty International letter signing for more than 20 years; and Alternative Christmas Market for 11 years.

#43:  Rev. Robert J. Mollar was the ninth pastor and served from 1992 – 1995. He retired from LUMC to become pastor of two Waldensian churches in the Veneto region of Italy, fulfilling his lifelong dream.  The Waldensian church is an indigenous Protestant denomination affiliated with the Methodist Church.  LUMC wished him well with a retirement party resplendent in Italian street décor, music and an abundance of Italian-inspired foods!

#44:  Rev. Susan J. Morrison was LUMC’s tenth pastor and served from 1995 – 2005.  During her pastorate, LUMC struggled through the long process of self reflection toward the goal of becoming a reconciling community.  On June 4, 2000 at an All Church Conference, LUMC voted to adopt the LUMC Reconciling Statement and thus, committed hearts and minds to becoming one of the first United Methodist churches to publicly identify as an inclusive and reconciling congregation.

#45:  “A Service of Music, Prayer and reflection on the Occasion of our National Tragedy” was the title of the church service on September 16 in response to the events of September 11, 2001.  Worship featured Rev. Susan Morrison’s sermon, A Love Letter from Jesus, and John Kramer’s anthem, Grant us Peace in our Time.  John composed this choral work the same afternoon of the attacks.  Its soaring melodies, rich harmonies and poignant verse helped many to process their loss.  It was one of several compositions John wrote for the choir during the times he shared his talents with LUMC as organist and choir director.

#46:  LUMC celebrated its 50th Anniversary on May 18, 2002 with a banquet and weekend full of events on May 3 – 5.  Past ministers and clergy friends concelebrated the May 5, 2002 worship service.  Present that morning were Reverends Lindsay, Harding, Myers and Morrison and colleagues Reverends Kwon, Good, Witherspoon, D.S. Fernandez and Bishop Hassinger.  Lasting mementos to mark the occasion include the Prayer Garden with its Deer Isle granite benches, a flowering dogwood tree, the congregational portrait which hangs in the Atrium Hall, our 2002 pictorial directory and the 50th Anniversary Our History booklet (from which many of these facts are taken).

#47:  There is a LUMC 50th Anniversary Time Capsule to open in 2052.  Map: 1) North 42 degrees 26.809 minutes; West 71 degrees 15.116 minutes +/- 24 feet 2) 16.5 feet North East of front left corner of the church as of 2002.  Do you know what is in the time capsule?

#48:  The Social Justice Endowment Fund was established in 2002 in conjunction with LUMC’s 50th Anniversary.  The first grants were made in that year and grants have been awarded every year since.  The Social Justice Endowment Fund seeks to support programs which promote and enhance the dignity and welfare of people in unjust circumstances.  It also addresses underlying systematic inequities and causes of injustice.  In 2011, grants were awarded to The Outdoor Church (Cambridge, MA), GI-Café (Kaiserslautern, Germany) and New England Climate Summer (MA).

#49:  In June 2002, the Outreach Committee, with support of Administrative Council and the NE Conference Board of Church and Society, offered a resolution to the New England Annual Conference encouraging the use of Fair Trade Coffee for all local congregations and their affiliated organizations.  Ken Kreutziger and Bob Miner prepared and presented the resolution.  Bill Santelmann provided essential support.  The resolution passed overwhelmingly.  LUMC serves Equal Exchange coffee at Fellowship time every Sunday and also offers direct sales of its products to parishioners several times a year.

#50:  The LUMC Book club formed in September, 2003.  Its first selection was The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  The group has read and discussed scores of sacred, secular, fiction, non-fiction, serious and comedic books in its 10 year history.  Participants include members and friends from the community.  Meetings are filled with lively discussions about the books and life experiences.  The Book Club’s current choice is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

#51:  In June 2005, LUMC joined in a united front to defend and support Lexingtonians targeted by the Westboro Baptist Church.  Our members attended special training provided by No Place For Hate to learn methods to withstand the vitriolic rants of the Phelps aggressors.  Our defenders joined hands with residents of every faith in front of LUMC and stood strong throughout the barrage of hatred.  The group returned to Lexington in March, 2009 and June, 2010.

#52:  Rev. Hope N. Luckie was  LUMC’s 11th pastor.  Rev. Luckie served from 2005 – 2007.  During her pastorate, LUMC celebrated a Festival of Faith, a revival in the southern tradition from April  27 – 29, 2007.  The Friday evening service with gospel singing and soloist Gisela Johnson kicked off the weekend.  Saturday centered on the creation of school and health kits for UMCOR international relief.  Rev. Effie McLain preached on Sunday.  Jeanne Lucas and her bluegrass group, Sweet the Sound added harmony to the service and  the Middleborough Dance Troupe performed liturgical dance.

#53:  In 2006, the Lexington Choir Festival began.  This annual February event brings together choirs from all faiths and houses of worship to make a joyful noise.  Through this connection, the LUMC choir has been asked to perform at Lexington churches and temples on special occasions.  In the same way that singing joins people together, LICA, the Lexington Interfaith Clergy Association has been a bridge between the leaders of our different faiths.  The newest cross-faith organization is the Lexington Interfaith Garden which supplies fresh produce to local food pantries and hunger relief programs.  Our connections make us stronger as a community.

#54:  After 20 years, Lexington UMC ended its Covenant in Nicaragua in 2011.  The partner church covenant with Dios es Amor church in La Borgona began in 1992.  Countless hours and funds went into this partnership including trips to La Borgona, digging a well, support of the elementary school, college scholarships, sewing program and other programs.

#55:  Dr. Richard W. Capron was LUMC’s 12th pastor.  Dr. Capron served from 2007 until his retirement in 2011.  Richard contributed to LUMC’s history of active participation of seeking justice for the marginalized.  He had the distinction of being the only pastor who was also a choir member.  Richard received the auspicious Wilbur C. Ziegler Award for Excellence in Preaching at the 2011 New England Conference of the United Methodist Church held at Gordon College on June 10, 2011.

#56:  Music is an essential part of LUMC’s sacred experience in worship.  The choir has been accompanied and led by many fine musicians over the years.  Please note that the following list is not complete: Joseph Stanley (first organist), James R. Houghton, Helen Ball, Ruth Colwell, Portia Miles-Smith, Joan Reddy, Kerry Krebill, Bob Spivak, Carolyn Good, Christine Conley, Brad Chase, John Kramer, Dan Roihl, Jeanne Lucas, Bruce Baker, Ian Woods and Sarah Hager.

#57:  Christian Education has been a priority for LUMC since its charter.  Children and youth have participated in worship as acolytes, readers, singers and communion servers.  During Sunday School, our young people have followed standard curriculum as well as lessons from other disciplines.  LUMC has followed the Godly Play curriculum since September 2001.  Other children and youth programs include:  Youth Group, Children’ Choir, sponsorship of Surekha and Sunitha, Christmas pageants, VBS, confirmation classes, Habitat for Humanity projects, field trips and work projects.

#58:  Rev. Leigh Dry is LUMC’s 13th pastor and was appointed as of July 1, 2011.  Leigh continues the Lexington legacy of progressive preaching, focusing on the areas of human rights, peace, poverty and justice in the United Methodist Church. She is co-chair of Reconciling Ministries in the New England Annual Conference, Program Council Representative for MFSA National and is a member of the Connectional Table for Church Within A Church.

#59:  LUMC has offered hundreds of continuing education opportunities for adults throughout its 60 year history.  The varied interests include immigration, non-violence, eco-theology, social justice, faith practices, interreligious studies, racism, understanding personality, media in society, movie screenings, intimacy and relationships, Christian symbolism, nuclear power, family values, economic justice, healing, healthy lifestyles and of course, Bible study.  Different fellowship groups include UMW, Strivers, Sister’s Circle, Bibles and Bagels, Soup and Scripture, Gourmands Dinner Group, Craft Group, Men’s Group, Tea Time, Jazz Time and Book Club.

#60:  LUMC’s 60 year history is a kaleidoscope of nurture, outreach and witness programs and events that have been possible because of the contributions of hundreds of parishioners over the years.  Only a few names have been cited in these 60 Fun Facts but there are dozens and dozens of people who have attended LUMC and have made it the church that it is today.  Thank you for your time, your talents and your gifts!