Ebbert Memorial United Methodist Church

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Ebbert Memorial United Methodist Church
Building Description
Architectdesigned by Albert J. Crandall and built by T. J. McCracken
Original OwnerEbbert Memorial United Methodist Church
Initial UseReligious
Square Footage
Address530 'C' St.
Zip Code97477
Historical Importance Distinctions
Historical church


[edit] History

[edit] Foundation

The first church to organize in the Springfield area was the McKenzie Forks Baptist Church, which met in the Bogart Schoolhouse. The congregation moved its meeting place to the city in 1869, and renamed itself the First Baptist Church. Two years later they erected the first church building in Springfield. The church that was to become Ebbert Memorial United Methodist was organized in 1868, with John H. Adams as the first pastor. This group did not construct a church building until 1885. The 1860 census lists a “preacher” living in Springfield precinct by the name of J.M. Dick of the “M-P” denomination (U.S. Census Office 1860).

[edit] Traditions and Milestones

[edit] Traditions

While most of te principal events and traditions described in this history are included in other sections there are a few that can be included only in a description od the congregation as a whole.

From as early as 1882 week long revival meetings, usually with outside speakers, became yearly events. They were characteristically quite emotional and included services of "healing." One church member recalls the time the author of "The Old Rugged Cross," Rev. George Bennard, was the evangelist. He gave each one a copy of this hymn. In the 1940s the emphasis and structure of the meetings began to change. In 1952 a mass Evangelist Mission was held for Methodists in the Eugene area and in 1954 Rev. Lloyd Holloway conducted a Preaching Mission at Ebbert. While the tone and approach changed, each year brought a form of renewal meetings such as the Family Life Conferences, Christian Renewal Mission, Lay Witness, and Prayer Workshop in 1966-1967. In 1985-1986 the "Ten Brave Christians" and "The Key Events" (preaching events on t he four major aspects of the life of Christ-Advent, Crucifixation, Resurrection, and Pentecost) were additional types of renewal programs.

Many traditions can not be traced to their origins but the following were begun many years ago:

The candlelight Christmas Eve sevice is first mentioned in the records for 1950, Advent Craft Night for 1969, and the Maundy Thursday Silent Meal for 1962.

All church picnics each summer, with some exceptions, were held traditionally at the vacation home up the McKenzie River of Dr. and Mrs. Pollard in the 1940s and before. The story is told that one year when the river was particularly high Dr. Pollard went to the basement to get his wife's canned kraut to go with the usual German weiners, he found the quart jars floating on the water. How he retrieved them is not clear. Later in the 1950s the annual picnic was held at Armitage Park. Lloyd and Jane Thomas have hosted this affair from 1965 on into the 1980s at their Wayside Loop home.

Other traditions have been frequent family nights, One Great Hour of Sharing, Great Day of Singing, 24 hour prayer vigils, Layman's Sunday, and near to budget making time, every member canvasses such as Loyalty Dinners, Circuit Riders, Pony Express, etc.

One very valuable educational happening each year for as long as most can remember has been the yearly all church mission studies, usually held one night per week for one month. Members of the congretation have an opportunity to become qcquainted with other cultures around the world and to understand the problems and issues related to both foreign and home mission fields.

Communion service at the worship series on the first Sunday of each month has been traditional since 1968 or before.

Financial support beyond the local church has always been the norm. UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) has been the most prominent in recent years.

On January 7, 1962 two Sunday morning worship services were scheduled for 9:45 and 11:00 a.m. but were later changed to 8:30 and 11:00. They remain that way to this day.

The church and parsonage were designed by Albert J. Crandall and built by T. J. McCracken. The church features Povey Brothers leaded glass windows.

[edit] Milestones

September 25 to October 1, 1917. The Oregon Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Sixty-fifth Session, was held in Springfield. Rev. S.A. Danforth, D.D. was pastor. The presiding bishop was Matthew Simpson Hughes, D.D., L.L.D.

July 25, 1955. Homecoming and Sharing of Heritage was observed at the morning service which was followed by a potluck in the church basement.

June 12, 1966. The Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the erection of the Ebbert Memorial Methodist Church building was marked by a dinner held for church members past and present. Several members from earlier days who had moved away were able to attend. The Rev. John C. Radmore preached the sermon. The Rev. Ross Knotts was pastor and Naomi Davis was chairman of the planning committee.

1968. Speakers for the Centennial Events in celebration of the 100th year since the Methodist congregation was organized were: The Rev. Ross Knotts, The Rev. Harold Shellhart, and the Rev. Roy Finch. Dortha Fullerton was selected to be historian for the year. The Rev. Carl Mason was the pastor.

1981. The Springfield Historical Society requested permission to designate the Ebbert Memorial United Methodist Church building as an historic building.

June, 1981 to 1984. The Rev. Austin Ray was appointed Associate Minister. He was the first black minister to be appointed in a predominately white church. The congregation grew in its understanding of people from other backgrounds and viewpoints and experienced a sharing relationship.

October 7, 1984. The Bi-Centennial Celebration of the founding of the Methodist Church in the United States was held at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene. Nineteen Wesley related churches of Lane County cooperated in the event. Ebbert's adult choir as well as the Bell Choir participated in the program.

June 9, 1985. On Robin Rokey Sunday the congregation honored the organist for his exceptional talent with a love offering of more than $1,000.

[edit] Buildings, Properties, and Memorials

[edit] Buildings

Prior to 1868, one can only speculate by whom and how a meager groundwork was laid for Methodism in the Springfield area. We do know, however, there were sixteen members and four probationers enrolled in 1868 at the time John H Adams was appointed pastor to serve the vast Springfield Circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The size of the circuit varied somewhat from time to time. For example in 1871, Springfield, Goshen, Lowell, Fall Creek, Unity, Camp Creek, Mohawk, Coburg and possibly others in private homes were included in one circuit. The arrangement of the circuit could vary; i.e. Creswell became its own circuit at one time, then returned to the Springfield circuit. Springfield was at one time part of the Eugene circuit.

The services in Springfield in 1868 were held in a small school house on Mill Street between D Street and E Street- the same location where the present Springfield School District Administration Building stands. Homes, schools, store buildings were sometimes used for services in areas around the circuit. The first parsonage was built at about this same time for $500. Information is not readily available as to where it was located nor whether it was the same one which was located next to the church built in 1885. Quarterly conference records for 1886 mention church and parsonage.

In 1871, the Methodists were invited to share the Baptist Church building at Second and C Streets. They were permitted to use the building at times when it was not in use otherwise. This amicable relationship continued for about ten years. Then difficulties began to arise. As a consequence in 1881 the Methodists acquired a store building on Main Street between Second and Third Streets for their services.

In 1885 an important milestone was reached when they built their own "new white" church on the south-east corner of Second and B Streets. Along with the parsonage that stood beside it, this church building housed the activities of the Springfield Methodists and facilitated the steady growth of the congregation. Preaching services were held at varying frequencies, i.e. in 1894 the pastor preached in Springfield twice per month, and in Coburg, Mohawk, Camp Creek, Walterville and Leaburg once per month. The Springfield congregation became self-supporting in 1905 and two years later it was separated from the circuit and was made a station permanently. It had been made a station in 1891 but was returned to the circuit three years later. There were now 135 full members and thirteen probationers. The church building was valued at $800.

Growth of the congregation continued steadily. In 1909 an "L" addition was added to the church building almost doubling its seating capacity. In 1910 improvements were made on the parsonage. These buildings served the Springfield Methodists until the new and present church and parsonage (now the Youth House) were built in 1916. Subsequenttly, two homes were built on the lot on which the first church stood. Mrs. Frank Logan bought and lived in the old parsonage for many years. Several years ago the State of Oregon purchased the parsonage, which they razed to make room for its new State Building.

When Rev. J.T. Moore became the pastor in 1913 the membership had grown to 213 and by 1916 it was 304. Benevolences had increased greatly, the financial status was solvent and the organization structure of the church was operating smoothly.

January 17, 1916 marked a turning point for this thriving church. It was on this day that Miss Margaret Morris approached Rev. Moore with an offer of $15,000 toward the erection of a church building in memory of her uncle, James Armstrong Ebbert who had died September 2, 1915 naming Miss Morris the beneficiary of his estate. she specified that the building should cost no less than $25,000 and would be known as the James A. Ebbert Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church. The offer was accepted and arrangements were made to begin work at once. Land was purchased on the corner of Sixth and C Streets, which was part of the Kelly Addition and included lots 7 and 8 and the east 12 feet of lot 6 in Block 6. Both a new magnificent church building and a modern parsonage were constructed on this land. It is estimated that the total cost was approximately $40,000.

Ground was broken on March 12, 1916 and the corner stone was laid in May. It was completed and dedicated on December 3, 1916.

Dedication day, Sunday December 3, 1916 was a day of great celebration. Throngs were at the services, presided over by Dr. James Moore, the pastor. Bishop Hughes delivered the morning sermon followed by a "persuasive" plea from Dr. Doney to liquidate the debt. The total of $10,0000 was pledged at the two services. Dr. Youngon spoke at the Epworth League and Dr. Doney preached in the evening.

The church of 1916 was tied to the earlier "white" church by one item, the church bell. It is understood that this bell was brought from the older church and was hung in the southeast tower of the present building.

Six years almost to the day after the memorable occasion of the dedication the church was officially incorporated. The papers were signed December 1, 1922 by incorporators W.H. Pollard and seven others. Assets were listed as $37,000.

[edit] Pacific Christian Advocate Article

The following description of the building is a quote from the Pacific Christian Advocate dated December 6, 1916:

[edit] Layout

"Albert Iowa Crandall of Lebanon was the architect for the church and parsonage, and it is to his credit that he has given to the Methodists of Springfield two buildings that have no superiors in the whole conference. He was architect also of our church erected only a few years ago at Lebanon, the general plan of which was followed in the Springfield edifice, but on a more modified scale, yet with a greatly increased seating capacity.

The church is located on the northeast corner of Sixth and "C" Streets, and is 66x99 feet in size with full cement basement. The main edifice is pink-grrey brick veneer over a wood frame. The basement is designed for social and Sunday School work. In it are a fuel and furnace room 16 by 40 feet; a kitchen fully equipped and thoroughly modern, 14 by 23 feet; dining-room 40 by 34 feet, and ladies' parlor 36 by 20 feet. This ladies parlor is subdivided into three class rooms by Wilson rolling partitions. On the east of the dining-room are four additional class rooms. By the use of these rolling particions nearly the entire area of the basement is converted into one great reception hall. On the southwest of the ladies' parlor is the ladies' cloak room and the extreme northeast corner is the gentlemen's cloak room. A large store room is provided between the kitchen and hall, communicating with the east basement entrance. The main auditoriium is 50 by 54 feet, seating about 450 persons. In the north is the recess for the pipe organ and choir. At the right of the pulpit is the pastor's study and at the left is the choir room. These rooms are 16 by 22 feet. Immediately above are S unday School rooms of like size. Opposite the pulpit and over the prayer room is a balcony equipped with 208 opera chairs. The Epworth League rooms are separated from the main auditoriium by Wilson rolling partitions. The ceiling is beamed and the inclined floor is covered with an especially good quality oak, with built-up elm bottoms and compound curved backs, all finished in golden oak.

The church is lighted by nineteen windows in the basement, sixteen on the main floor, and fourteen on the third elevation, thirty of these being art glass and costing $2,573. The electrical lighting consists of nearly 100 frosted globes suspended from the ceiling and sides.

The heating arrangement is of steam, supplemented by three fire-laces, one in the pastor's study, one in the League room and another in the ladies' parlor.

The two main entrances are in the towers, the larger and more imposing being that on the southeast corner, while the smaller is on the southwest corner.

To the west of the church is the new parsonage, which forms a fitting companion for so graceful and beautiful a temple. It consists of eight rooms, besides a sun parlor, two sleeping porches, concrete basement, furnace and every convenience and comfort that are today found in modern homes.

[edit] The Windows

The two large windows on the main floor of the auditorium were donated by Miss Morris. One is in memory of her uncle and aunt, James Armstrong Ebbert and Elizabeth Brattain Ebbert, while the other bears the words "Gift of Margaret Adaline Morris." The scene pictures on the memorial window is that of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane during his hour of trial, when He said "Not my will but Thine be done," and the other window shows Christ as the Shephard, with the inscription, "I am the good Shepherd."

Although strongly importuned to have his name inscribed on one of the large art windows which he donated, John Mason, onf of the real friends of the church, persistently refused but instead provided that the large half circle window on the front of the church bear the inscription "to the Glory of God and in honor of Rev. James t. Moore and wife who served as pastor during the erection of this church, in 1916." The window portrays the Risen Christ, with the angel standing near, telling the apostles, "I ascend unto your Father and my Father."

Another of the art windows was presented by the Ladies Aid Society and bears an inscription to this effect.

[edit] Properties

The next major property obtained by the now named James A. Ebbert Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church was a quarter block on the north-east corner of 5th and "C" Streets. It was purchased in 1923 for $2,000 with the intent to provide space for recrreational needs of the community. The lot was later sold.

While not directly related to the church's history of properties it is interesting to note that the first baby to live in the parsonage erected in 1916 was the oldest son of the Rev. and Mrs. C.J. Pike. The baby was born during the years 1928-31 while the Pikes were in Springfield.

From time to time improvements and major repairs were made to the church building by people who were proud of this outstanding structure and proud to be a part of this loving and caring congregaton. All music lovers can be grateful to another music lover who was an active, loving and considerate member of the church- Janie Cruzan. Mrs. Cruzan, who lived to be nearly eighty years old, left the church $1,250 in her will to be used toward the purchase and installation of an organ. Through other donations and small indebtedness a Reuter Electric Pneumatic Pipe Organ was secured for a total cost of $2,600 including donated labor and materials. The grill was given by Leland Davidson. The Cruzan Memorial Organ was inaugurated May 22, 1935 with an organ recital by John Stark Evans, organist, and George B. Bishop, baritone. Years later in 1961 chies were added to the organ by the Potter family in memory of Stephen and Arthur Potter. In 1967 another rank and trumpet stop were added in memory of Mrs. John Klar.

One of the major improvements to the sanctuary was made in 1939. Velvet curtains were placed across the front of the entire balcony. Their main purpose was to improve the acoustics and to save heat.

In the 1940s Church School membership and attendance continued to grow and it became apparent that the basement facilities would not be adequate for long. The official board began to discuss plans for a new educational unit. Their original plans called for a three story unit to eextend from the main building almost to the property line on the west. Because it seemed beyond the capability of the congregation to finance the entire addition at one time- one half of the original plan was decided upon. In 1951 the first section of the unit was ubilt at a cost of $47,500. On the first floor were two classrooms plus a church school office and rest rooms. The second and third floors each contained three classrooms plus rest rooms. John E Stafford was the architect.

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