Remembering The Revere Community Church
“It was one of the saddest days of my life!” stated Mary Elwell former member of the Revere Community Church, which recently sold.
Mary continued, “We all knew that it was coming as there was just so few of us attending that it simply wasn’t feasible to keep operating, but that didn’t make the outcome any less bitter to bear. I at first said that I wouldn’t be able to watch our church sell at the auction, but then I got curious and I had to go, but it was difficult.”
The loss of any organization or business in a small community really is a terrible thing, but to lose a church and all it’s history and ties with the community is especially tragic. Although, the church was down to just a precious few members there was a time when it was not so.
According to a 1954 article giving an account of the church’s movement to become non-denominational. “The Revere Church was built in 1890 and was affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination. On June 5, 1921 it became the Revere Community Presbyterian Church – a step toward its final name. On August 12, 1921 it did become the Revere Community Church with denomination dropped
The article continued, “These have been the pastors and original denominations in which they were trained- attesting to the fact that it is non-denominational: the Rev. David L. Piper – Presbyterian, Rev. Mr. Thomas – no denomination, Rev. Mr. Atterberg – Presbyterian, Rev. Mr. Lennhouts – Baptist, Rev. S.S. Isa – no denomination, Student Pastor A.C. Abrams – Christian, Student Pastor Bob Allard – Christian, Rev. Monte Peterson – Baptist, Rev. Robert Levine – no denomination, Rev. Harold McGowan – Swedish Lutheran, Rev. Raymond Sharp – Presbyterian, and Virgil P. Caulk – Presbyterian, pastor since 1949.
The members of the board of trustees and governing body in 1954 were: Archie Cochran – President, Lewis King – Vice president, Mrs. Earl Blakely – secretary and members Paul Sowers, Richard South, Mrs. George Curtis and Mrs. Romaine Brewer. At that time the average at Sunday School was 100.
So those are the facts on the church in 1954, but to get an insight of what the church meant to it’s members, Mary Elwell spoke of her remembrances of the church. “I can remember very vividly when there were three churches in Revere. Those churches were the Methodist Church, Baptist Church, and our church. Where the Methodist Church stood was given to the Garden Club for a park honoring two of our young men who were killed in the war. I also remember a time when the basement had to be built up and my mother came up with a great big team of Belgian horses and a drag. I started going to Revere Community Church when I was either in the 1st or 2nd grade, so I have seen lots and lots of beautiful ceremonies, Christmas programs, weddings, and Bible Schools. And there would be a great many people attending, because I recall a time that every road you took out of Revere there were families with children and all those children came to Sunday School. And now when you travel our back roads the families are gone. I also remember as a little girl that there was a big chain fence around the church where people tied their horses. I also have a vivid recollection of going to a Christmas program with my Momma and two brothers in a surrey with the fringe on top pulled by two beautiful Belgian horses.
Our last service in the church was held in March of this year. Our pastor, Steve Wilhelm, came in one Sunday with tears in his eyes and said he just could not continue. It was inevitable, as we were only having 8-10 people for service. But there is a lot of history in that beautiful old church. I played the piano for years when they needed a pianist and Helen Beaird played the organ every Sunday. I taught Sunday School for many years, which were the 4-6 year-olds. Among the children that I taught were children of Gale Schreiber, Dean Schreiber, and Paul Harrison just to name a few. I just loved those kids to pieces. I took time off from teaching and one day they came and asked me to teach Jr. High students and that was a lot different and I had to think about that before I said yes, but in the end I did say yes. But, without a doubt my favorite memories in that church were the Christmas program. When my brother and I grew up, there wasn’t much that you did, so the school and church Christmas programs were the highlight of the year. And Sunday School would be the young people’s social life. One of my Sunday School teachers that I remember so well was Marie Seward. She was awful good to us kids and would take us skating. As far as my favorite pastor, that would be a tough call, but I will say we have been very fortunate to have some spirit filled pastors. Certainly Rev. Virgil Caulk would have to be among my favorite as was our last pastor Steve Wilhelm. They were all special as was our church, and now it’s gone.
So now when I drive by the church it just makes me so sad. It’s just so depressing that it will no longer be a house of worship.”