REPORTS OF PRESIDING ELDERS
We desire to gratefully acknowledge God's
goodness in the mercies of the year. No death in any parsonage; no
serious sickness in any preacher's home, save that of O. R. Beebe
at Wilber, who was stricken with paralysis in June. With some
assistance, however, he was able to finish out his year, and hopes
after a period of rest to report for duty again.
This district now contains thirty-one pastoral charges and fifty-seven preaching places. Most of the pastors have pressed the battle hard throughout the year, few changes taking place. In February, Brother G. L. Hosford resigned the work at Diller, and J. A. Branson, of the Des Moines Conference, was secured for the place. He is a fine fit. In May, W. N. Simpson, of Vesta, was transferred to Colorado, and S. C. Johnson, of the Liberty High school, was promoted to the vacancy. He did acceptable work until a week ago, when he left to learn theology in Boston. Failing health compelled N. J. Chrysler, of Daykin, to resign about August 1. E. O. Johnson, of Illinois, was secured for the place, and the charge desires him to remain the coming year. About the same time Dr. I. L. Lowe, having been elected president of George R. Smith College, Sedalia, Mo., resigned his work at Odell. The pulpit at that place has been supplied from week to week. About the first of March, E. A. Totten was secured for Liberty and Barneston, which charge had been practically abandoned. He has done magnificent work. The membership at Liberty has been almost doubled and the debts lifted from both of the churches.
The revival work through the year has been fairly successful. Alexandria, W. H. Turrell, pastor, reports ninety conversions, sixty-five probationers. Beatrice, Centenary, D. L. Thomas, pastor, reports seventy-four conversions, seventy-four probationers. LaSalle St., E. L. Barch, pastor, reports eleven conversions, seven probationers. Belvidere, M. S. Foutcb, pastor, five weeks of meetings and thirteen probationers. Blue Springs, I. W. Kenagy, pastor, two weeks of meetings, fifteen probationers. Burchard, J. W. Lewis, pastor, fifteen probationers. Crab Orchard, Frank Mills, pastor, reports thirty-four conversions and twenty-two probationers. Daykin, N. J. Chrysler, pastor, five probationers. Chester, F. M. Esterbrook, pastor, reports three probationers. DeWitt, J. T. Roberts, pastor, five probationers. Diller, J. A Branson, pastor, three probationers. Du Bois, W. W. Hull, pastor, five probationers. Fairbury, W. M. Balch, pastor, reports four weeks' meetings, fifty con-
versions, forty-eight probationers. Filley, E. F. S. Darby,
pastor, four probationers. Hebron, J. W. Embree, pastor, reports
four weeks' meetings, seventeen probationers. Holmesville, P. C.
Johnson, pastor, reports five probationers. Hubbell and Reynolds,
Charles Burns, pastor, reports forty conversions and forty
probationers. Odell, I. L. Lowe, pastor, eight probationers.
Ohiowa, F. W. Bean, pastor, reports thirty-five conversions,
twenty-five probationers. Pawnee City, J. W. Stewart, pastor,
reports twenty-seven probationers. Powells, L. D. Willard, pastor,
reports seven conversions and seven probationers. Steel City, H.
L. Case, pastor, reports forty-nine probationers. Swanton, J. D.
Hammel, pastor, reports four probationers. Strang, L. M. Fleming,
pastor, thirty-two conversions, twenty-three probationers. Tobias,
E. M. Furman, pastor, reports eight probationers. Wilber, O. R.
Beebe, pastor, three probationers. Vesta, W. N. Simpson, pastor,
six probationers. Wymore, L. G. Parker, pastor, two weeks'
meetings, eight conversons (sic). Western, G. M. Morey, pastor,
twenty-five conversions and twenty-three probationers. Martell and
Hallam, on the Rock Island, between DeWitt and Lincoln, is a new
work opened in May, W. W. Gettys in charge. A week of tent
meetings in July resulted in thirty-five conversions. This is in a
territory at least fifteen miles square, where there was not a
single English speaking service of any kind. It is an important
field. In all, between five and six hundred persons have been
received on probation during the year.
We are truly grateful to Almighty God for these results, and yet we fall on our faces in humble penitence and prayer for pardon, because they are not greater. We fear that revivals are too cheaply sought. The efforts are too spasmodic and too infrequent. Not enough people are converted at our regular services, and there is not sufficient effort for such conversion. We are so permeated by the spirit of commercialism that we want revivals made to order and delivered in answer to a telephone message. Too little prayer and fasting. Too little sweating of brain and heart. Too little self-sacrificing service and effort upon the part of pastors and people. Too little waiting upon the Lord.
We have about five thousand members in the Sunday schools of this district. We ought to receive into the Church more than five hundred a year from that source alone, or as many as we ordinarily receive from all sources. Our Sunday schools are not wisely evangelistic enough. I am convinced that the world will never be saved except by a spirit of continuous revival and missionary zeal, and the Sunday school should be recognized as the most fertile field for work.
About $2,000 has been paid on church debts,
leaving but two church buildings in the entire district against
which there is any debt. Parsonages, seven. The entire
indebtedness on all church property is now less than $2,000 and at
least $900 of that is fully provided for.
Improvements have been made on the property
at Swanton, Western, Ohiowa, Hebron, Crab Orchard, Pawnee City,
Holmesville, LaSalle St., Centenary, Fairbury, Alexandria, Daykin,
Dubois and Wymore. An aggregate of more than $4,500. Of this
amount, Wymore is credited with about $900 on the church and $900
on their splendid parsonage, which is the only new property on the
district this year. This is a fine achievement for Wymore.
The pastors' salaries, in the aggregate, were fixed higher than last year, and generally speaking are paid in full. Nevertheless, this band of faithful, toiling, sacrificing men are paid altogether too poorly. It is our endeavor to bring every charge up to the point where none will pay less than $600 and parsonage, or $700 without parsonage.
The benevolences will show a good increase. The missionary collection will be about $500 in advance of last year. The collection for Conference Claimants about $100 advance. The collection for the Nebraska Wesleyan University will be more than $100 above the apportionment. No benevolent cause has suffered loss.
The District Ministerial Institute was held
in Blue Springs May 6 and 7. It was largely attended, and a
The Woman's Foreign Missionary Society held an enthusiastic convention in DeWitt in May.
The Woman's Home Missionary Society hold their annual district meeting in Crab Orchard. It was a good meeting.
Probably the best district meeting of the year was the Epworth League convention at Fairbury, June 16-18. The meeting was largely attended by both pastors and young people. About 150 delegates were present. The echoes from the meeting and praises for Fairbury are still heard throughout the district.
For the productiveness of this field, and for
the pleasure and profit and progress of the year, great credit is
due to our predecessor, Dr. G. W. Isham, for his splendid work and
We desire to express our personal gratitude to all the brethren of the district for their sympathy, their consideration, and the hospitality of their homes. These preachers are splendid men. May the coming year be one of greater improvement, of better giving, of richer blessing, and larger ingathering of the lost. This is my hope and prayer.
J. R. GETTYS.
We have had an excellent year on the Hastings
district. Our boundary lines are the same as last year, but we
have one more charge to report than we had then. It was thought
wise to organize the Prosser charge.
We secured B. N. Kunkel, a young local preacher, for the
charge, and he has done excellent work.
Several charges had to be supplied at the close of last Conference. For these we secured earnest and faithful men. J. A. Rousey was appointed to Hardy, Howard P. Young to Kenesaw, and W. T. Taylor to Lawrence. All of these are young men still in their studies. P. H. Smith resigned his work at Trumbull early in the year, and B. F. Summers of South Kansas Conference was transferred to fill his place. For Inavale and Oak we secured two local preachers who have faithfully served the charges. Two of the preachers were transferred from us during the year, C. L. Hamilton and J. E. McKenney. Their places are well filled by M. P. Dixon, who was transferred from the Oregon Conference, and M. C. Brooks who was transferred from the Ohio Conference.
Improvements have been made on several churches and parsonages. The interior of the church at Blue Hill has been papered and painted and a new furnace has been put in. The parsonage has been papered and the lots fenced in, and the barn has been painted. Total cost, $225.00. At Nelson the church has been papered, and a new bell has been put in place.
Amount expended, $170.00. At Trumbull a furnace has been put in the church at a cost of $200. An addition to the parsonage has been made, costing $200. At Grafton the parsonage has been greatly improved at an expense of $200.00, and at Asbury on the same charge $170.00 has been expended on the church. At Juniata the church has been painted outside, and papered and painted inside and minor improvements have been made at parsonage for which the people have contributed $100.00. At Harvard the church has been papered and a fine new furnace put in at a cost of $240.00. The parsonage property at Fairfield is improved by a new well and pump, and by repairing, and the church has been beautified and improved by repapering, recarpeting, painting and by new doors. The total outlay was $216.00. Improvements at a cost of $70.00 have been made on the church and parsonage at Edgar. Carleton has expended $75.00 in improving church. Davenport has put $30.00 into her parsonage property. Superior has made her church more superior by an expenditure of $150.00. Red Cloud has made good improvements at an outlay of $51.00. The Bladen church has a new belfry and bell and new window screens. Total cost, $152.00. Kenesaw church and parsonage look beautiful since repainting and to make them look so, with some other improvements, the people have paid $95.00. The Lawrence people are well pleased with the investment of $31.00 in improvements. Twenty-four dollars have been laid out in papering the church at Prosser. A tower has been built to the church at Mt. Zion on the Roseland charge, and a new platform put in, for which the people have paid $128. Hastings has made the interior of her church look beautiful at an expense of about $200.00. Fifteen of the charges in the district report that they paid no debts during the year because they had none to pay. Nine charges report having
paid on indebtedness. Six of these now owe no man anything.
Debts still remain on the property of nine charges. On seven of
our churches we have loans from the Church Extension society.
These churches are all in the district that has suffered severely
from the drouth. Kenesaw has a subscription covering all
indebtedness and by the first of November her people will be free.
The other churches expect to make an effort this fall, or winter,
and we are hoping and praying they may have good success. The
greatest problem we have is at Oak. Our people there built a
church they were not able to pay for, and soon after the members
began to leave, and now there are very few remaining, and these
have been discouraged. The field is however one of the best, and
during the year a large congregation has been gathered, and
conditions are becoming more hopeful.
The people of Byron, on the Hardy charge, propose to build a church, which is greatly needed. It is likely that before another Conference the church will be erected. The charges in general have had prosperity during the year.
The greatest success has come to Geneva. They report 104 conversions, 48 accessions by letter, and 72 on probation, 61 of whom have been received into full membership. Early in the year it was found that the old church could no longer meet the demands of the growing congregation. The trustees decided to build, and the pastor secured a subscription of about $10,000. The subscription list was headed by Brother and Sister Tyson, honored members of the church, who promised $1,500.00 This was an inspiration which helped to make the new church a possibility. The workmen have been greatly hindered by the heavy rains, but the work is advancing rapidly, and it is expected before the year 1902 closes it will be dedicated for worship.
The brethren of the district have reported 625 conversions during the year. Of these about 410 were received on probation. There were 365 accessions by letter. There has been no extraordinary work of grace but we have been encouraged by a steady growth.
We have 36 Epworth Leagues in the district. Many of these are doing grand work. We had an interesting and profitable convention in the spring. The attendance was fair, and the discussions indicated that our young people are alive to the work. A plan is on foot to have local conventions. The district has been divided into six groups and a convention will be held in each. These will be in October. We are looking for a great impulse to our leagues. Great interest is manifest in Junior League work on some of the charges and several conversions are reported. The annual camp-meeting was held on the district camp-ground at Deweese. The attendance was not large on account of the rainy season, but the meeting was an inspiration to those who attended. There were a few conversions. The camp-meeting association gave this year $30.00 to the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, $30.00 to the Womans' Home Mis
sionary Society, and $30.00 towards building a church at
Manila, in the Philippine Islands.
The preachers and people have worked together in blessed harmony during the year. The friction which has disturbed some of the charges in past years has not been manifest this year. The lives of the preachers .and their families have been preserved, and there has been but little sickness. Two of the preachers had the smallpox, however, and in one of the homes every member of the family was afflicted.
We submit this report with gratitude to Almighty God for His preserving care and His sustaining grace, and we wish to record our appreciation of the noble work done by the pastors of the district, our fellow-workers with Jesus Christ.
Dear Fathers and Brethren: -- Lincoln
district has just closed a year of faithful labor, in which peace
has prevailed among both ministers and laymen, and a good degree
of prosperity has been obtained. Dr. H. T. Davis did much toward
aiding a new Presiding Elder in starting by leaving the district
well equipped with a noble, faithful, self-sacrificing set of
preachers. Only one charge was left to be supplied. God has very
mercifully preserved the lives and health of our preachers and
their families, only one death having occurred in the families of
our pastors. Brother A. S. Bull and wife are sorely bereaved in
the loss of their first born child. Rev. J. L. Fort, a
superannuated preacher for many years, died May 22 at University
Place. He was very feeble all winter. His faith in God was strong.
He loved the Church and its work, and gave many years to its
ministry. His body was laid to rest at Palmyra. Mrs. Catharine
Watson, a preacher's widow and mother of the Watson sisters, noted
for missionary zeal, died this year, after a life of great
devotion to God's cause. Father C. G. Lathrop, some eighty-six
years of age, is quite feeble in health, at his home in University
Alvo has been well served by Rev. C. A. Hale, whose wisdom and ability have been of great value. This church occupies a position of great influence in a most delightful community.
Ashland, Geo. M. Jones, pastor, is holding its own and planning substantial improvements in the church property. Brother Jones closes his third year in this charge. They will be glad to have him continue.
Bennet has been ably served by H. F. Huntington, who in connection with his school work in the Nebraska Wesleyan University, has preached twice each Sunday to this people. The work has gone well.
Cedar Bluffs charge is in fine condition. They are in love with J. W. Royse, who has served them for three years. His return is expected.
Ceresco has had a good year under the labors of A. S. Bull, who is in great favor because of his persistent, faithful work. Thirty conversions
are reported. His return is requested, but Brother Bull has
accepted an appointment in the Kalispell Mission in North
Crete is one of our best stations, and is doing excellent work under the ministry of H. G. Wilcox, who held one of the best revivals on the district this year, resulting in forty conversions. Four rooms have been finished in the basement for Sunday school purposes, at a cost of $400, and all paid for, as a personal offering by the very efficient Sunday school superintendent, Brother A. L. Johnson.
Denton has been served by W. H. Jackson, a student who gives promise of making an excellent preacher.
Dorchester has had a good year. Twenty-six conversions are reported. Here we have a strong church and large congregation. Brother Lenfest is a good preacher and looks after all the interests of the Church.
Eagle is prospering. Various departments of the Church are cared for and good reports are expected from Brother J. G. Walker.
Elmwood, Brother A. M. Perry, pastor, closes his third year in this charge. Everything is in good shape. Here we held last April a very interesting and profitable ministerial association, with twenty-six preachers present. With Victoria added, Elmwood has become one of our strong charges.
Friend. Pastor J. K. Maxfield was in ill health early in the year and submitted to a very severe surgical operation at our Omaha Methodist Hospital. He has recovered and has promise of better health than for years. He is a devoted pastor, and has served this faithful people for two years. We have here a splendid church and one of the best parsonages in the Conference.
Greenwood. Rev. J. A. Nichols has been pastor of this Church the past two years. He is faithful and loyal to Methodist doctrine and discipline, a good preacher and loves the work of the ministry.
Havelock. Rev. T. S. Fowler, a true and fruitful worker, serving his second year, found his health failing in the early spring, as a result of injuries received during the war, and asked to be released that he might rest and recuperate. His resignation was accepted on May 4. His health has greatly improved, and he reports ready for more battles in the great war against sin. The pulpit has been constantly supplied by various ministers until the present. During the summer an indebtedness of about $735 has been raised and paid off, largely through a plan presented by Rev. W. H. Prescott, and through his efforts. He was pastor of this society when the church and parsonage were built. This leaves Havelock in better condition for growth than ever before.
Ithaca has had a good year under the preacher of their choice, William M. Worley. Iliff appointment supports a native missionary in India.
LINCOLN, Asbury. A. B. Grossman served this charge acceptably until June 1, when he was appointed to fill out the year at Normal. J. R.
Martin was appointed to fill the vacancy. The society is small,
but a few faithful souls are there who are trying to maintain the
Emmanuel. Brother L. F. Smith has done excellent work. The Church is gaining in spiritual power and looking for a glorious revival. Finances are well in hand. The Sunday school and Epworth League are both in fine condition. Brother Smith's return is desired.
Epworth has had the best year of its history. J. W. Warfield has led on to success. The church has been enlarged and greatly improved to the amount of $1,100, almost doubling the seating capacity. This Church has a fine field for labor.
Grace. Dr. P. P. Carroll has had a successful year. One hundred and seventy persons received on probation and by letter. Every department is well organized.
North Lincoln and Arbor. J. H. Fowler served this charge, (a mission field) for two months when he was released to accept another appointment in another district. Rev. H. B. Seymour was appointed and has served to the end of the year very acceptably. At last the old and troublesome debt has been provided for and the money sent on to pay off the Church Extension mortgage.
St. Paul. Dr. Fletcher L. Wharton, pastor, has attracted all eyes this year. On November 17th, the new and beautiful church erected to take the place of the church burned three years ago was dedicated to the worship of God, Dr. C. B. Wilcox of Colorado Springs, Colorado, preaching both morning and evening. Mr. Powell managed the finances. During the day $33,000 were subscribed to pay off the indebtedness. The entire property cost about $80,000. For beauty, seating capacity and convenience it is supposed to excel any church in the West. The McKinley memorial chimes are a great attraction and add a peculiar charm to the church itself. Dr. Wharton preaches to vast audiences, and is justly popular. The Quarterly Conference by unanimous resolution asks his return for another year.
Trinity. Rev. N. A. Martin, pastor. This is in one of the best residence portions of the city. An indebtedness of $3,500 has been provided and some $2,100 of it paid. A good revival, with Rev. Shawhan of Kansas City as leader, resulted in thirty-five conversions, and a great uplift to the Church.
Mead. M. E. Gilbert has greatly endeared himself to the people both at Mead and Otoe Creek. The charge has made rapid advances on all lines during his two years here. The parsonage has been enlarged and improved. The pastor's new wife is a splendid worker.
Normal. The society at Normal had worshiped in the schoolhouse until March 2nd, when their pretty gem of a church was dedicated by the Presiding Elder. Cost of the property $3,000. H. O. Perry, a student preacher, did excellent work and aided materially in the building enterprise.
He was very reluctantly released June 1st, to enter work in the
Kalispell mission. A. B. Grossman has filled out the year. The
outlook for this charge is good.
Raymond. J. G. Stanard, the pastor, is greatly loved by his people. He reports fifteen conversions and the work well in hand. His return is desired.
Roca, was left to be supplied. Dr. N. M. Enyeart of the Oklahoma Conference has very acceptably supplied this charge during the year.
Prairie Home. A. J. Hollingworth served this charge faithfully and well until June 1st, when he resigned and moved to Oregon, where he will continue his ministry.
Sharon, is a nice country charge, with comfortable parsonage. A. J. Armstrong was returned to this charge for a second year and did faithful work until June 30th, when he was transferred to Arnold, West Nebraska Conference, by Bishop Fowler. I secured N. W. Gaines to supply for the remainder of the year.
University Place. This charge is coming to be one of our most important charges. Until the present this people have worshipped in the chapel of the university. A church building has long been needed. Brother L. C. Lemon has led this devoted people in a building enterprise which has brought nearly to completion the basement story of a church which will be, when finished, the second church in the Nebraska Conference. The basement will seat 1,000 persons and the audience room when completed will seat 1,500. Pastor Lemon is greatly loved and appreciated for his faithful preaching and care of God's cause. The benevolences are full and some far ahead.
Valparaiso, led by Pastor W. H. Shoaf, is doing well. We have here a good church and parsonage, and a noble people.
Wahoo, under the leadership of Pastor C. E. Giwits, is moving forward. Two revivals have been held; one a union meeting led by Rev. Oliver, greatly stirred the town.
Waverly. J. W. Seabrook has greatly pleased the people with his able sermons. The Church is for the first time in many years out of debt. They have repaired the church, and purchased a new organ.
Weston. R. H. White has labored earnestly in connection with his school work. Eleven persons profess conversion.
Malcolm was served until February 3rd, by Rev. J. G. Day. On April 17th, H. E. Bromwell was appointed and has supplied the charge until Conference.
Dr. G. W. Martin was appointed as moral instructor in the state penitentiary, where he reports a list of twenty-seven Methodists. He is greatly in love with his work and is the only man I have found who actually requests to be allowed to spend a longer term in the penitentiary.
The Nebraska Wesleyan University has had the best year of its history. The old and perplexing debt has been cancelled. Confidence in the future of our university is restored. Excellent work in the various.
departments. A chancellor whom everybody loves, and who seems
not to grow old, just settled in his own home at University Place.
Six hundred students this year and every indication that eight
hundred will attend the coming year. Great demand for houses. Two
score of houses built or being built are among the encouraging
features of our university. We already have one Presiding Elder
and a host of pastors, some of them in our leading pulpits, who
are graduates of the Nebraska Wesleyan University. Many have gone
to other Conferences and many into other professions and into
business until the Nebraska Wesleyan is becoming known
The Nebraska Holiness Association held a remarkably successful camp meeting at Lincoln Park, in June. Although undenominational it is composed largely of ministers and members of the Methodist church and was a great blessing to our people. Rev. L. F. Smith is the president.
The Nebraska Epworth Assembly is a growing institution of great and uplifting influence both for Methodism and Christianity. The sixth session under the very efficient management of President L. O. Jones was a great success in every way. For profound religious impression, careful instruction and high class entertainment it has never been excelled.
The ministers and people on Lincoln district have been very kind to the new Presiding Elder. God's blessing has rested upon us, as we have tried faithfully to attend to the duties of the office. Peace and a good share of prosperity have prevailed during the year. The pastors are a noble, unselfish, heroic band of ministers, loved by the people for their good works. Many on very small salaries have done a very large amount of work. I have been surprised that some of these preachers have been able to live through the year, and in some cases support a family and keep out of debt, and all on a salary of $400, or less. But they have done it and besides that, Mr. Bishop, they have saved enough money to buy a new suit of clothes, and have come up here to Conference and you can't tell them from a three-thousand dollar preacher.
The reports of the brethren will I think make a good showing for most of the charges on the benevolences. Several hundred souls have been converted and many members have died in the triumphs of faith. Many have grown in grace and in Christian experience. A great host are endeavoring to do God's will.
With devout thanksgiving to God for all his blessing, we submit this our first report of Lincoln district.
J. F. KEMPER.
NEBRASKA CITY DISTRICT.
The Nebraska City district makes its
forty-second report to the Annual Conference with hearty
thanksgiving to God our Heavenly Father for His abounding mercies
and blessings. Our people generally have been blessed
with good health, refreshing rains, and bountiful crops,
notwithstanding floods and frosts, with a large measure of
Our pastors and their families with few exceptions have enjoyed good health and plenty of hard work, have witnessed some of the fruits of their labors and none of them have been taken away by death. Of the thirty ministers including four supplies assigned by the last Conference to work in this district, twenty-six of them have filled out the full measure of the year. Shortly after Conference J. H. N. Cobb was appointed to Humboldt in the place of T. A. Hull who was excused because of poor health. About the middle of the year E. F. Gates was appointed to Peru in place of W. W. McGwire who was relieved of that charge and appointed to Brock with the privilege of serving the Church at Brock alone or the charge of Brock, Highland and Glenrock from which H. G. Claycomb had been excused because of the ill health of his wife. W. W. McGwire not accepting his appointment, G. H. Moulton was appointed to Brock and W. W. Scammon to Highland and Glenrock. J. H. Fowler has served Salem, and Shubert left to be supplied. About the first of June F. P. Blakemore took the place of A. B. Whitmer at Tecumseh by an exchange transfer from the Kansas Conference. Their Quarterly Conferences concurring, D. B. Lake and George Shuman were permitted to secure some assistance on their respective charges.
The reports from the several charges will give the record in part but statistics are unable to report in full. Earnest, faithful, self-sacrificing work for Christ can not be fully measured by prints of cold type. Earnestness, faithfulness and self-sacrificing loyalty to Christ and His Church has so generally characterized the work of the year that it would be invidious to detail the record of anyone in particular and extend this report unduly to attempt the records of all. The work of the year has been multitudinous. The prime mission of our holy ministry, to feed the flock of Christ and to seek and to save the lost, has been kept most prominent in view. The opportunity to reach human hearts by the gospel message has generally been regarded as sacred. Emphasis anew has been placed upon prayer and class meetings in the Churches and upon family worship and practical religion in the homes. The Sunday school and Epworth League work has in the main been faithfully performed. Our Annual District Epworth League meeting was in connection with the Epworth Assembly. The Week of Prayer has been very generally observed and in some places watch-night services held. Revival meetings have been held in most of the Churches and the gleanings, while not always in proportion to the labor put forth and the expense incurred, have been considerable. The organization of the Churches has been carefully considered. Class leaders have been appointed where for years there had been none and prayer meetings established where they had long been neglected and there is more work of like kind to do. Trustees in several places have been elected where there was no record of any for years. The
title to all our Church property has been looked up and
corrections made where needed when possible.
The material interests of the work very generally have been fostered and advanced. In a few instances old parsonages have been renovated from foundation to roof. Some of our preachers, in addition to their own work, have repaired, shingled, papered, painted and transformed buildings that were simply uninhabitable into comfortable, respectable parsonages.
During the year one new parsonage has been finished and is occupied. At present one new one is being erected to take the place of an old one, and two others are in process of erection where they are greatly needed. Many of the churches also have been repaired, papered, frescoed and painted, and in some instances carpeted, so that the neglected ones are very few indeed.
The new church at Plattsmouth is nearly completed and is occupied by the congregation for all the services. The new church at Adams is approaching completion. And the greatly enlarged and renovated church at Weeping Water, that when completed will be better than most new ones, is expected to be ready for watch-night services.
There are four Churches on the district that were left out of the appointments of last year as abandoned. They are all Methodist Episcopal Churches, and are all free from debt. One of them is used by another denomination, one of them is occasionally used by about anybody who cares to, and the other two are not occupied at all. Trustees have been elected this year for all of them, but their future depends upon conditions to be determined, the principal of which is missionary enterprise. It there is any missionary blood present, a brotherly hand would be glad to feel the throbbing pulse.
At the beginning of the year Church debts presented a formidable problem. Five Churches were greatly embarrassed by these debts. One society seriously proposed ecclesiastical suicide as the only means of escape from the trouble. Fortunately these debts were all owed to the Board of Church Extension, for no other creditor would have carried them half so long. The solution of this debt problem was attempted by undertaking to pay them all in full this Conference year. The plan adopted was to place the whole indebtedness together, to appeal first to the people of each locality where there was a Church debt, and then to the generosity of people throughout the district. After securing the magnanimity of the Board of Church Extension in agreeing to cancel all the interest, nearly $800, on the condition that the principal should be paid in full by September 1, 1902, and making earnest supplication to God for the favor of the people touching the undertaking, the work was begun. In two cases the local debt was by the people of the community, and in all other cases the debts all paid by first securing as much as possible in each local community, and then getting the balance from persons over the district who
could afford to give and who gave willingly. While the task was
no easy one, there were some very pleasant surprises. For example,
one brother in handing over the $5 he had verbally promised, added
$15 more, saying, "If you don't need it all to pay Church debts,
put it where it will do the most good." The Church debts were all
paid and still the money came till a parsonage debt also was
helped out, and no debts remain on Church or parsonage property on
the district, and there is a small missionary fund left in the
Our Church records have all been carefully examined and revised wherever needful. At nearly all the Fourth Quarterly Conferences the pastor read the list of membership and the members of the Quarterly Conference witnessed their correctness or assisted in their corrections. If there is a shortness of the list of the membership in the district reported it will not indicate either losses or lack of gains but that our records have been corrected.
Special attention has been paid to the enrollment as probationers and the disciplinary care of our baptized children and special emphasis laid upon the importance of consecrating our children to God in infant baptism and the bringing them up as members of the body of Christ.
All our Church benevolences have been placed upon the hearts of the people, and the excellency and superiority of our church periodicals and literature brought pointedly to their attention.
The cause of missions has been set before the people generally. This latter work has been greatly promoted among our Epworth Leaguers by a month's Student Missionary Campaign service by Brother Arthur Billing.
The annual district conventions of the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Societies have increased missionary interest in some of the Churches.
The cause of Christian education is likewise coming more directly to the attention of our people. Our people may be regarded in the attitude of meditation and thoughtfulness on the subject and if we keep out of debt and keep before the public such educational characters as our present chancellor we will continue to win until the triumphs of our Methodist University shall make glad the household of Methodism. Every preacher on the district is the agent of our university to secure public confidence, financial support and student patronage.
The cause of Christian temperance has been loyally sustained by both preachers and people generally. While the saloon power is just as deceptive, and just as aggressive, and just as defiant, and just as ruinous to the business, social and religious interest of the people in general and of the Church in particular as ever before, there is a growing public sentiment against it to which our pastors and people have made large contributions.
And now as we face the future for the coming year what suggestive thoughts present themselves to the workers in this field in common with
the others. First to the laity: The business affairs of the
Church are indispensable and are best conducted when conducted on
business principles, keeping out of debt. The finances are managed
best when all the members of the Church contribute according to
their ability. The free-will offerings of the people are God's
appointed means to carry on this work and no substitution is
admissible. Methodist Episcopal Churches succeed best when, being
most loyal to Jesus Christ, they are unfalteringly loyal to our
Church literature and educational institutions and to our Church
doctrines and discipline.
Then to the Ministry: Ours is an high and holy calling requiring life's full time and full powers. As preachers of the full gospel of Christ, as pastors of the flock of Christ, as missionary evangelists to lead the people to Christ, what kind of men ought we to be? None of this work can be delegated to others without corresponding loss to the cause of Christ. Then to laity and ministry alike. The cause of soul saving is ours. The cause of uplifting all the Churches is ours. The cause of the best literature is ours. The cause of all our Church benevolences is ours. The cause of Christian education is especially ours. The cause of Christian temperance more especially is ours; and we are Christ's and Christ is ours.
J. S. W. DEAN.
Dear Fathers and Brethren: -- York district has experienced another year of general prosperity, for which we joyfully praise our God.
PASTORS. Our last Conference closed with a pastor assigned to each charge except Linwood, and these pastors continue at their posts. Linwood has been supplied over four months by C. L. Smith and R. D. Waterman. As a whole our pastors are spiritual, intelligent and consecrated men, quick to perceive an opportunity and aggressive to use it for Christ and the Church. All are loyal to Methodism, responsive to leadership and kindly helpful to me. Several of them have suffered with sickness during the year, but all are now in good health except E. J. Randall, whose health is improved. Considerable sickness has occurred in the families of the ministry, and Jimmie Wesley Wilt, a bright, strong and sweet child, was taken in a sudden, sad way to the heavenly home, but sustaining grace was given the bereaved parents by the Holy One. Pastors Mayo and Crisp rejoice over the birth in their homes of possible future pastors.
effort has been earnest and general, resulting in over six hundred
professed conversions, enlarging the faith and influence of many
societies, and the reception of four hundred and forty-eight
probationers. The pastor of Platte Valley conducted the revival
work without evangelistic help, and seventy-five professed
united with the Church on probation, and the spiritual life of
the Church was greatly intensified. This was the most notable
revival success of the year. A careful survey of the Fairview
revival will cause faith in God to grow exceedingly and dispel
fear of failure from those that supremely depend upon the Holy
Spirit for wisdom and power in their work.
The most widespread revival occurred on the Surprise circuit, resulting in ninety-five conversions, over eighty probationers; wonderful manifestations of the presence and power of the Holy Ghost marked the meeting, and the spiritual life of the Church was increased greatly. Evangelist Prescott assisted the pastor in this great work and held some other meetings in the district.
MEMBERSHIP. For the third consecutive year the district will gain in membership, although numerous removals from the district greatly exceeding accessions by certificate seemed liable to cause a severe loss in total membership. The largest gain in membership is at David City, where the outlook for future growth is full of promise. A larger per cent of the probationers than usual has been received into full membership, indicating increased efficiency in pastoral supervision.
EPWORTH LEAGUES. There are thirty Senior, one Intermediate and nineteen Junior Leagues in the district. The Junior League work has increased in quantity and quality, and the Waco League is worthy of commendation for the thoroughness and success of its work. The Intermediate League has about eighty members, is located at York, and is prosperous. The Senior Leagues are gradually taking up the larger activities, and are more progressive this year than last. The District League Convention at Shelby incited to wider thought and broader aim in the work.
SUNDAY-SCHOOLS. Most of our Sunday schools are in a flourishing condition. The Home Department has been added at Seward and David City, and is now an important factor in five schools. The largest per cent of growth in membership and attendance has been at Fairview (Polk county) and at David City. York school has a membership of 624 (including the Home Department of 147 scholars), with an average attendance of 315 at the public session. Thirty of its scholars joined the Church during the year. One hundred dollars were given to missions and $16 to the Children's Fund.
CLASS MEETINGS. Class meetings are held in all but a few appointments without any appreciable gain in attendance, but with profit to the participants.
PRAYER MEETINGS have grown in power and size at Surprise, Platte Valley, Garrison, David City and Ulysses, and are generally well maintained.
salaries, including house rent, three years ago averaged $531, two
years ago $562, one year ago, $609, and this year will average
642, or an average gain of $111 per pastor in the district in
years. Ulysses, Hampton, McCool, Shelby, David City, Waco and Bradshaw made the most noteworthy advances in salary.
Extension debts of long standing have heen (sic) paid at Beaver
Crossing and Pleasant Hill. The sale of the Germantown church has
been completed and the proceeds, $312, paid to the Board of Church
Pastor Keiser, with no visible prospect of success, undertook to raise $250 to buy our Church property at Hampton from the Board of Church Extension. Some years ago this property bad been deeded to the said board and the appointment abandoned. For three years now there has been effort to start things upward, but with little success as Methodism seemed to be in poor repute at Hampton. Rev. Keiser served the charge this year with great acceptability, by indomitable perseverance got the $250 subscribed and mostly collected, and Methodism is now at par at Hampton.
Pastor Burres is tackling the debt at Brainard with good prospects of success, having all but $30 subscribed.
Benedict has continued its stride forward by payment of $425, the last half of the purchase price of the parsonage. The $25 balance of Keckley Chapel sale proceeds were paid to Benedict as directed by the last Conference. Church debts also still remain at Stromsburg and Linwood, and parsonage debts at Gresham, Waco and Ware.
IMPROVEMENTS. David City has procured a new
pipe organ and made improvements, costing over $1,400, all paid
for, and has contracted to put a new $500 hot air plant in the
church this fall. Utica has removed the church to the corner of
the block, built an addition and tower, seated the auditorium with
250 opera chairs, and will soon be ready to dedicate. Nearly
$1,000 has been expended in this improvement. Seward has added a
large barn, built a kitchen and pantry, put in a new well and made
other minor improvements. Gresham has completed its parsonage and
added a substantial barn. Bellwood expended $230 in improving the
church and parsonage. Ulysses has purchased a good piano and
painted the church. Rising City has painted the church and
parsonage and built a porch for the parsonage. Improvements have
been made on the Garrison, Surprise, Thayer, North Blue, Aurora,
Arborville and Waco property costing upward of $100 at each place.
Wesley Chapel on the Shelby charge has subscribed $2,800 toward
the building of a church 32x38 feet auditorium, 14x28 feet lecture
room, pulpit recess and tower additional. One-half of the
subscription is paid and the building is being erected. Rev.
Wilson is taking a subscription for a new church at Stockham with
a fine prospect of success. York has sold its parsonage property
and will use the proceeds together with additional amount needed
in erecting a commodious parsonage adjoining the church. Valuable
improvements costing less than $100 each, have been made by other
Beautiful communion sets were donated the Aurora and Osceola churches by their respective Junior Leagues.
BENEVOLENCES. That cheerful giving is deemed by our lay members to be a means of grace is proven by the surpassingly great report of our benevolences, the best report in the history of the district. Our missionary collection exceeds our apportionment, being $20.30. Our Conference Claimant collection will exceed $650, an advance of $170 over our large collection of last year. Large gains are reported for the Episcopal Fund, Church Extension, Sunday School Union, Tract, Freedmen's Aid, and Children's Fund, while some $8,000 is reported for Education.
TEMPERANCE. Some notable victories have been won for no license during the year. Utica, long celebrated for saloonism, is having its first year without a saloon. Bellwood and Waco joined the no license ranks, and Aurora won a hard fought battle for continued no license. The Anti-saloon League has been a helpful factor in our district. The public conscience is becoming aroused, but each victory won for temperance makes more determined and insidious the efforts for perpetuation of the liquor traffic. Too slowly but surely the Church is moving toward saloon suppression.
WOMAN'S WORK. There are thirty-three Ladies' Aid Societies in the district, efficient helpers to the Church financially and socially. We have but fifteen missionary societies, and we hope a few more will be organized the coming year. These few societies are doing great good, however, The Mothers' Jewels Home continues its successful service in behalf of needy children, caring for about ninety and educating them in the secular and in the Sabbath school.
DISTRICT CONFERENCE. We find our district Conference sessions practical, helpful to preachers and laity, and worthy of perpetuation. Our session at Bellwood was a blessing to the charge and profitable to the ministers and lay members attending.
ITEMS. Aurora, Beaver
Crossing, Bradshaw, David City, Exeter, Garrison, Marquette,
McCool, Osceola, Platte Valley, Seward, Shelby, Stromsburg,
Surprise, Waco and York are to be commended for their advance in
benevolences. Several of these charges make the largest benevolent
report in all their history. Some unnamed charges have done well
their part. Benedict has raised $1,200 in cash for church purposes
this year aside from $100 for temperance, a great financial report
considering its strength and its generous giving of last year.
Osceola has for several consecutive years been compelled to report
a diminishing membership because of excessive removals, but this
year the tide has turned and a large gain in membership has
occurred. York continues to thrive and reports large gains in all
departments of work. At present a successful union meeting under
the leadership of M. B. Williams is underway. For a pastor to
serve Waco two years and be asked to return is a strange
feature, occurring this year for the first time. Space will not
permit a narration of much heroic work.
For the goodness and help of God, the faithful work and sympathetic consideration of the pastors and their wives, and the generous loyalty of the laity, I am profoundly thankful. To be permitted to have a small share in the labors so fruitful of expansion in the Master's kingdom is a great reward. The future is as bright as the promises of God. Let us, as pastors and people with a faith made perfect by works keep close to our Supreme Leader, and greater progress shall be made by the Methodism of York district in years to come.
GEORGE I. WRIGHT.
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