The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Churches of the Heartland

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher-Owner

It's God and only God that gives us Hope, pastor Tom Wright will tell you, a true minister of The Word.

The folks at La Harpe get the fine tuned message, Wright chuckles as he delivers his sermon for the 3rd and final time each Sunday after preaching at Terre Haute, and La Harpe United Methodist Churches.

The church has quite a history according to La Harpe's 1986 Sesquicentennial History book. It's beginning was in 1836 when Rev. John Logan was the first minister when it was established, five years after it was first introduced in Chicago. In those days, folks eagerly awaited the circuit riders who brought "preaching and teaching" according to Marta Logan's account. The site cost $35 and the church was built and free of debt, dedicated in 1854. A stone below the church sign commemorates Abraham Lincoln speaking in the church in 1858 during the Lincoln-Douglas debates for U.S. Senate.

The present brick structure was built in 1968-69 and the congregation has survived good times and bad, lean and prosperous years, sadness and joys, but Marta said it all depended on "the true believers of Methodism. They loved one another and were determined to see His Word spread to others." She said, "We love because He first loved us."

Around 65 or so ministers have served the church over its 173 year history and it continues today to be an active force in the community.

One of its oldest members, Florence Cortelyou, 89 is now a resident of the La Harpe Davier Nursing Home, and remains President of the United Methodist Women's two circles. They support mission to Cunningham Children's Home in Urbana and Leslie Bates Home in East St. Louis which help in the black poverty area. The women have an evening and afternoon groups that meet once a month on Tuesdays and include a Bible Study and Devotion. Dorothy Plank is Treasurer of U.M.W.

The church helps folk improve mind, body, and spirit with Joyce Bennett bringing Yoga twice a week, and others leading a weekly Men's Bible Study at 6 a.m., a Prayer meeting at 7 p.m., a Ladies Bible study at 9 a.m. along with Sunday School at 10 a.m.

The church is busy getting ready for the Festival Of Trees they host for the community on the week after Thanksgiving. Once a month on a Wednesday, Clyde Collins makes his famous noodles and women cook them with chicken and broth and all the trimmings as men set up for a dinner which is served to the entire community for a donation which helps support the church.

They enjoy musical groups on occasion such as "Headin' Home Quartet" of Des Moines, IA which made your heart comforted with southern gospel harmony. They go wherever the Lord calls, they said.

Members and guests of all ages were enjoying the good ole gospel singers at the La Harpe United Methodist Church 11 a.m. Worship Service Sunday. Special groups often provide the gospel in song throughout the year.