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Martell church observes 150th Anniversary Sunday

Submitted photo

MARTELL -- The New Centerville United Methodist Church (NC UMC) will observe its 150th anniversary this Sunday.

NC UMC history goes back to Nils Christopherson, who lived in the Martell area in the 1850s and had been converted to the Methodist faith. In 1857, he was authorized to hold Christian meetings in the area. As a result, the church society was formed in New Centerville, with William Egbert as pastor from 1859 to 1860.

In the early days of the New Centerville Methodist Church, worship was held in homes. During the first 30 years, the New Centerville Church shared pastors with either Pleasant Valley or Deer Park. In 1890, George Smith became pastor, and from then on (except during 1921 and 1922), the New Centerville Church shared pastors with the Hammond Church. It is important to note these first services held by NC UMC were conducted solely in Norwegian. The first trustees for the New Centerville Methodist Episcopal Church were appointed in 1890 by Rev. George Smith. They were: Louis Guiser, George Wilhelm, John Snoke, James Canning, Benjamin Phillips, A.S. Rudesill and B.R. Woods.

By this time, the English-speaking Methodists were meeting separately from the Norwegian Methodists and were paying rent for the use of the church building. They were soon to decide on the need for a new church building for themselves. In 1892, the present church building was built. Those on the building committee were the Rev. Lyman McKibben, Louis Guiser and A.S. Rudeill. Ed Hanson had the contract for the outside work. The Rev. McKibben supervised the inside work. The construction cost of the new church building was $1,800. The church was dedicated on July 9, 1893. The church bell arrived several years later and was hung in April 1896.

The first woman serving as pastor at NC UMC was Laura Jones, a deaconess who served in 1907 for a very short time. Later, Ethel Nulton served as pastor for four years beginning in 1951.

In 1953, the social room addition was built. In 1973, a basketball, tennis and volleyball court was constructed on the lot adjacent to the church, which had been given to the church by a church member. A handicap ramp was added to the south side of the building in 2004. Together with the St. Croix County Town of Rush River, in 2005, a park was built with a picnic table, grill, sandbox, play equipment and a couple of basketball hoops. In 2007, a memory garden was built and outside lights added.

The schedule of events for the Anniversary Sunday will be:

--10 a.m. An Outdoor Worship Service, (under a tent), includes music and prayer, past and present pastors sharing, and praise band performances.

--11:30 a.m., potluck lunch and fellowship.

To get to the New Centerville UMC from Ellsworth, take Hwy. 63 north to CTH YY. Turn west on CTH YY and go to CTH Y. Turn left on CTH Y to the church.

All friends, current and former members are invited to attend.