History of the Churches
Methodist Episcopal Church/Wesley Methodists
The Ordway Methodist Church came into this community with the earliest settlers. A Sunday School was organized in the summer of 1891 in the little frame Public School building on the same property as the present school building. In the fall of 1891 Elder Rev. D. L. Rader urged the formation of a church, with H. M. Roberts as Supt. and several religious denominations represented, among the officers, teachers and scholars. On New Years Day 1892, the Rev. C. A. Edwards was appointed by the Methodist Episcopal Church and was received heartily by the people as their first pastor.
The first church services were held in a little frame building erected for a butcher shop. At the Second Quarterly Conference held March 20, 1894, plans were submitted and approved for a church building 24 by 50 feet, with a class room. Soon a building lot was donated by the Land and Water Company, and the new building was started May 20, 1894 and completed and formally opened by Chancellor William Fraser McDowell of Univ. of Denver on November 18, 1894. The building is now occupied by the Country Rose and is the former H. B. Curtiss Trading Co. and Ordway Hardware & Furniture Company.
In 1897 a parsonage was built on the corner now occupied by the house owned by Paul McDonell’s. It was a small frame house in an L shape on a low foundation, with a small porch on the front. Those who occupied it said that even with its several additions and improvements, it never grew beyond four rooms and a lean-to kitchen. This parsonage was said to have served a purpose, but not very adequately.
The little church on Main Street was soon too small to accommodate the growing congregation. A May 6, 1904 edition of the Ordway New Era states that the framework for a new church was in place and work would be rushed from then on until completion which was in the fall of the same year.
In 1914 the fine new parsonage was built just to the east of the church building, which greatly added to the attractiveness of the property and the efficiency of the church.
On May 10, 1929, the three branches of Methodism; Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal South, and Methodist Protestant became one, the Methodist Church. This new united Methodism has a total membership of approximately 8,000,000. The name of the local church was officially changed to the Wesley Methodist Church in the summer of 1941.
In 1949 under the pastorship of Fred A. Napier, a fellowship hall and kitchen were added to the sanctuary. The story goes that Rev. Napier was not pleased with the dimensions of this addition, and that in the night, he changed all the stakes to make it somewhat larger! He knew what he was doing! This building is now the home of the Senior Citizens’ group and still serves the community in many ways.
In 1964/65 both the church sanctuary and the parsonage kitchen would see a complete remodeling.
Methodist Episcopal/Wesley Methodist Pastors
1892--'93 C. A. Edwards 1929--'30 D. S. Jones
1893--'96 I. J. Keator and F. N. Sandifur
1896--'97 J. W. Gilluly 1930 Burke R. Lawton
1897--'98 Geo. A. Spence 1930--'32 Wm. E. Walker
1898--'99 J. J. Post 1933--'35 Clyde H. Inman
1899--1900 C. W. Harned 1935--'37 John Jordan
1900--'03 F. I. Stevens 1938– ‘39
1903--'04 W. S. Young 1940--'42 Brunson C. Wallace
1904--'06 Richard Oats 1942--'43
1906--'07 O. F. Merrill 1943--'44 Rev. Townsend
1907--'09 A. W. Rice 1944--'45 Allen N. Talla
1909--'10 B. F. Ross 1946--'47 Rev. Merklel
1910--'12 Clyde H. Inman 1949--'53 F. A. Napier
1912--'15 O. E. Barker 1953--'58 Paul Shields
and G. W. Corey 1958--'60 Rev. Ellis
1915--'20 F. W. Pimlott 1959-'60
1921--'24 A. J. Smith 1961--'62 W. Woitasek
1924--'26 Q. B. Barkebill 1962--'64 L. Sammons
1926--'27 M. T. Habgood 1964--'70 Lynn M. Sparks
1927--'29 W. R. Williams
Evangelical Church at Ordway
Zion Evangelical United Brethren
1902 - 1967
According to information on hand several Evangelical Churches in Colorado had their inception at or near the turn of the 19th century. Among these is the Evangelical Church at Ordway, fifty miles east of Pueblo in the Arkansas Valley. In a letter written by the Rev. C. S. Steinmetz to his friend E. S. Evans about that time, the former was very much interested in beginning Evangelical missionary work in several places in this part of Colorado. He wrote or presented an appeal to the Kansas Conference for several years, 1899 to 1902, for permission to establish such mission appointments. Finally at the Conference session in the spring of 1902 permission was granted to establish the “Ordway and Colorado Mission” with C. S. Steinmetz being appointed as the missionary pastor to this vast field.
Late in March of this same year, 1902, Rev. Steinmetz succeeded in getting together a number of families in the vicinity of Ordway and organized the first Evangelical church with twenty charter members. Services were held in the homes of the members. By the next year the membership had nearly doubled in number.
A Sunday school was also organized with Mr. Fred Tiemann as the first Superintendent. To accommodate the growing Sunday School and church services the first unit of a new church was erected the following year in 1903 under the pastorate of the Rev. S. J. Luehring. Then in the year 1907, during the second pastorate of Rev. Steinmetz, the main auditorium of the church was built, thus providing a convenient church home for this rapidly expanding Evangelical work. The parsonage was also erected during this year, providing a pleasant home for the pastor and his family.
In the year 1920, with a membership of 130 at the time, the Ordway congregation at its own request was placed on the list of self-sustaining fields by the Kansas Conference. During this same year the Colorado Conference was organized, and the Ordway church was considered as one of the largest and strongest fields in this new Conference. The first Conference session, following the organization of the Conference was entertained by the Ordway congregation in 1921.
In 1946 the Evangelical churches would unite with the United Brethren churches and the Zion Evangelical United Brethren Church of Ordway would come into being.
Evangelical Church/Zion Evangelical United Brethren Pastors
1902-‘03 C. S. Steinmetz 1926-‘27 C. D. Nash
1903-‘04 S. J. Luehring 1927-‘30 S. Beese
1904-‘11 C. S. Steinmetz 1930-‘36 C. Lafoon
1911-‘12 C. F. Iwig 1936-‘37 L. D. Hale
1912-‘15 P. G. Nuffer 1937-‘41 V. W. Walter
1915-‘16 C. Meeder 1941-‘48 I. W. Gray
1916-‘17 H. A. Schnieder 1941-‘48 I. W. Gray
1917-‘23 C. F. Hartman 1948-‘53 M. L. Fiester
1923-‘25 P. G. Nuffer 1953-‘60 Isaac Willems
1925-‘26 C. F. Wenger 1960-‘68 P. W. Cline
United Methodist Church of Ordway
1968 - Present
During the years 1967-1968 the Zion Evangelical United Brethren Church and Wesley Methodist Church of Ordway united as the United Methodist Church of Ordway after a vote 42 to 1 in favor by EUB, and 48 to 1 by Wesley Methodists. Worship and Sunday School classes were combined and it all became official at general conference in April in Dallas, Texas when the action will form the United Methodist denomination. The two congregations came together and formally created the United Methodist Church of Ordway on Jan. 7, 1968 with a uniting service. The former EUB church had 125 members and Wesley had 242 members for total of 367 members. Rev. Philip Cline was EUB minister and Rev. Sparks the Methodist. EUB Bishop was Maynard W. Sparks and UMC Bishop was R. Martin Stuart for the Jan. 7, 1968 uniting of churches.
Methodist property included Sugar City church and parsonage as well as Ordway church and parsonage; EUB property included church and parsonage. The cabin at Templed Hills Camp was EUB property and became UMC property. It was sold to the Rocky Mtn. Conference UMC June 5, 1968 for $1400 plus taxes. On June 30, 1968 Claire Biddison made the motion seconded by Ione Ward to dismantle former EUB parsonage. Rev. Sparks moved to Utah May 20, 1970 and Rev. Virgil Lamm came from Sterling with the underlying purpose of building a new church facility.
With the coming of the Rev. Virgil Lamm in 1970, members began to consider the possibility of building a new facility, feeling this was the best way to be totally united. A building committee was chosen consisting of members of both former congregations. These people were: Jim Peters, Tom Lamm, Ione Ward, Barbara Johnson, Wesley Weimer, Alvin Carter, Mike Apker, Don Benortham, Rod Torgler, Zenetta Gregory, and of course, Rev. Virgil Lamm.
From 1968 to 1970 worship services were shared by the two church facilities with the congregations meeting in the EUB facility one month and the Methodist facility the next. In 1970-1972 the old EUB church was being used as a youth club called "The Place" and worship taking place in the old Methodist facility.
At the request of the building committee, a special All-Church Conference was called by Rev. Glenn Chambers, District Superintendent, with the Rev. James Barber, Administrative Coordinator of the Rocky Mountain Conference, presiding. This conference was held August 1, 1976, for the purpose of taking a final vote on the matter of building a new church. The result of the vote was “yes – 62," and “no – 34,” and 2 abstentions. Following this action, steps were taken to have the E. U. B. Church razed. This was accomplished in a manner befitting a house of God.
A ground breaking service was held on October 24, 1976. Rev. Lamm said, “To the Glory of God, in the presence of the congregation, I now direct this ground to be broken for the United Methodist Church.” Spades full of earth were turned by: Jim Peters, Building Committee Chairperson; Stan Pickerill, Youth member; Bob Johnson, Administrative Board; Bill Klingensmith, Trustee; and Val Laycock, Senior Member. Soon after, Killingsworth Construction of Dimmet, Texas, began the building of the new church at a cost of $188,975.80.
On April 17, 1977, a beautiful Sunday morning, members met at the Methodist Church where a short prayer service was held giving thanks for the many years the building had served the people to the glory of God. Then the congregation, each carrying a hymnal or two, made the one block long procession to their new church home.
One of the main focuses of the efforts was to attempt to pay off the remaining $100,000.00 debt owed to the Rocky Mountain Conference. Because of the previous generous contributions made by members, this was all that was borrowed. Through the dedicated efforts of the membership, this amount was paid off in 3 ½ years. A mortgage burning ceremony was held on May 31, 1981, under the pastorship of Rev. Jean Steiner. Balloons were released with prayers of thanks for our accomplishment. As is the custom with United Methodists, festivities concluded with a fellowship dinner.
Various programs flourished. Sunday school was strong with classes for children, youth and adults. A children’s choir was formed. The musical plays and Sunday morning specials were and are enjoyed by all. The choir was and is still flourishing, under the direction of Ellen Langhorst, followed by Kevin Beaber. Music has always been a vital part of our worship, enhanced by Winifred Hopkins at the organ. In recent years Winifred has been joined by Bonnie Neely on piano. Recently Kevin Beaber requested the purchase of a set of handbells, and this bell choir is an inspiring addition to our morning worship.
In 1983 the house (a doctor’s office) just to the north of the church would be purchased and used as office space, work space, classroom space, and where the church copier, computer, and supplies would be located. The day these machines and their “operators” were moved out of the choir room was a day of celebration.
It would also be in 1983 that discussions would begin on a bell tower which would eventually be built in 1986 with Carillons being added to the bell tower in 1987 in memory of Ruth Ellsaesser Forcher. These musical notes continue to ring forth each day and are a joy to the entire community.
A new kitchen and store room were added on in July 1994, with part of the money left to the church by Arlie Ward. Numerous funeral and fellowship dinners have been prepared here by an active United Methodist Women’s (UMW) group. A traditional election day dinner that began in the Methodist Church in 1921 continues through the efforts of the UMW.
United Methodist Pastors
1966--'70 Lynn M. Sparks
1979--'80 Ron Kowalsky
1980--'82 Jean Steiner
1982--'83 Shuey Fujishiro
1983--'85 Olon Lindemood
1985--'86 Shuey Fujishiro
1986--'87 Gene Hagerman
1987--'90 Timothy Goettel