Our Church History What a rich heritage we have! Long ago this little railroad depot town used to be known as “Sweet Home, Indiana”. (We’re not kidding!) Over the years since 1901, we have seen our spiritual forebears, in their love for the Lord and desire to serve Him, respond to unprecedented social changes with a courage and willingness to change of their own.We have seen name changes, a new building (in 1953), new educational wing with offices, chancel redesign, handicap access elevator, air conditioning, new instruments & handbells, a prayer garden… all in an effort to meet the needs of our membership and reach out to attract newcomers with the Good News of God’s love through Jesus Christ.We are located at the heart of Warren Township, with thousands of residents within a short drive up Edison or Quince Road. Come visit one of our community events or worship services. Invite your friends to the friendliest church around. “Welcome Home.”
The History of Lydick United Methodist Church
Lydick United Methodist Church had its beginnings when some members of a small community, then known as Lindley, felt the need to assemble to study the Word of God. In 1901 a few residents met in the building across from Noen’s Grocery owned by Mr. and Mrs. Pierce (the old barber shop/pool room), for the purpose of organizing the Warren Union Sunday School.
On December 29, 1902, the following officers were elected:
Superintendent – Mrs. A. Lindley (owner of the grocery store)
Assistant Superintendent – Mrs. C Watkins (Elaine Watkins’ grandmother)
Secretary – Mrs. G.F. Davenport (mother of Ethel Lusk)
Assistant Secretary – Mabel Witter (cousin of Claude Witter Sr.)
Treasurer – Mrs. Cora Witter (mother of Mabel Witter)
Librarian – May Pippen (mother of Earl Hullinger)
Organist – Edith Pierce (sister of Beth Kempf)
Assistant Organist – Mrs. Belle Trumble (mother of Marvin Trumble)
Appointed as teachers were: Mrs. Witter, Mrs. Davenport, Mrs. Paul, Mr. Pierce and Mr. Bowen (an African-American who resided in the community). We mention Mr. Bowen's race only as an indication of the progressive and inclusive spirit of the church even in a time we now view as a culturally repressed in our country's history.
Sunday School was held each Sunday at 10:00 AM, with a total enrollment of 79, and an average attendance of 40-50. The average offering taken was 25 to 50 cents. The budget included such items as: supplies – five dollars per quarter; oil bills - 6 to 23 cents; the purchase of a new organ – forty dollars. The service was closed each Sunday by reciting the Lord’s Prayer in concert. Nearly all members of this first Sunday School have descendents now attending our present church, or residing in the Lydick/South Bend area.
Even though this church group met for only about two years, it was a good start. Sunday School was no longer being held, so on December 2, 1903, the officers met at the home of Mrs. Lindley for the purpose of disposing of the organ which they had purchased. It was unanimously agreed that the organ should be given to the Jolly Sewing Circle, as most of the money earned for its purchase came from this group. (This early history was furnished by Ethel Lusk, with information from the records of the Secretary, Mrs. G.F. Davenport.)
On June 7, 1908, 21 persons from the community assembled at the Woodman Hall (later known as Peterson’s Grocery), reorganized under the name of Union Sunday School. Mr. Griffith Dunahoo was elected Superintendent. Average attendance for the first year was 42, and the average offering was $1.04. On October 18th of that year, Reverend F.F. McClure of Grace Church agreed to preach occasionally. In 1909 Reverend L. Newman, also of Grace Church, was hired to preach every other Sunday evening. These ministers traveled from South Bend on the old Northern Indiana Interurban, and received the handsome sum of 25 cents per service.
In March of 1910 an invitation was extended to all interested persons of the community to meet in the home of Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Warner for the purpose of organizing a mission Church. The meeting, presided over by Reverend N.F. Platz of Grace Church, was well-attended, and all present agreed on organizing the church. The first six members of the church were John Warner, Sophia Warner, Flora Feasenhizer, S.A. Ross, Ellen Ross and Beth Pierce (Kempf).
At the Annual Conference of the Evangelical Church, held in Wabash, Indiana, Reverend Platz was assigned as the first pastor of the newly-formed Lydick Bethel Evangelical Church. Elected to serve as officers were:
Class Leader – Ellen Ross
Trustees – John Warner, Griffith Dunahoo and S.A. Ross.
Services were still held in the Woodman Hall, however this small group of Christians had a vision of a special building for the House of God. Though few in number, definite plans were made for the fulfillment of their dream. A parcel of land on the corner of Quince and Edison Roads was donated by Mr. and Mrs. S.A. Ross (parents of Mrs. Walter (Mae) Plumbeck, Mrs. Elmer (Daisy) Whitsel and Mrs. Roy (Myrtle) Peterson) for the new church. Research done in 1960 disclosed that the value of that first parcel of land was $3.20.
A building fund was started in 1911. In March of that year the Ladies Aid held an ice cream social that raised $4.75 for the fund. Appealing to James Whitcomb Riley, the prominent Indiana poet, for a 10 cent donation to the building fund, Mr. John Warner received a letter from Mr. Riley’s secretary stating that he was ill, but had instructed her to forward ten dimes, or $1.00.
The concrete block church was built between 1913 and 1914 under the leadership of Reverend Platz. The building was 24 by 40 feet with a full basement, which had a coal bin in one corner and a small kitchen in the other. Charles Myers of Lydick made and laid the concrete blocks for the basement. The original plans called for a wooden structure, but it was decided that a block structure would be better. Ed. Maciejewski made the blocks for the upper parts of the church. Joseph Ullery, Mr. Watkins’ uncle, served as foreman for the project, and labor was donated by members of the community. This modest block structure was completed and occupied for the first time on May 13, 1914. Total cost, including construction, furnace, wiring and furnishings, was $2,055.00.
The very first lights were gasoline, but later on Mr. Frank Plumbeck donated kerosene lanterns mounted on posts to serve as outside lighting. In these horse and buggy days, each member was required to bring his own hitching post.
In 1922 the Lydick Church was placed on a circuit with Coalbush Evangelical Church of Mishawaka. The Reverend E.F. Snyder served both churches, preaching at Coalbush in the morning and Lydick in the evening. He had a difficult task since the Coalbush Church was about four miles south of Mishawaka, roads were often muddy, and almost impassable in winter even in a Model T Ford.
That same year the first parsonage was built, which served as the residence for pastors and their families for over 60 years. Prior to that Reverend Snyder and his family lived in the house across from Noen’s Grocery. Total cost was $3,000, with a new electric stove donated by the Ladies Aid of the Coalbush Church.
By 1926-1927 the Lydick community was growing, and the need for an expansion program was seen. Under the ministry of Reverend M. Herner a building fund was started. Then along came the Depression, and the church struggled to pay its bills. It was impossible to pay the pastor all of his salary and buy fuel for the church. Members, neighbors and friends in the community donated food or whatever they might have to the pastor and his family in lieu of a salary. Farmers cut and delivered wood to the church and parsonage.
Everyone worked together to survive these hard times. When Reverend Smith, pastor at the time, prepared his report to the Annual Conference, he marked his salary “Paid in Full” even though a balance was still due. He said his family had been neither hungry nor cold, therefore he was very thankful. Lydick’s first Easter Sunrise Service was held during his ministry. The drama "The Challenge of the Cross" was presented by the Christian Endeavor, the youth fellowship of that time.
In 1939 Reverend Norman E. Detroy was assigned as a full-time minister. The small, modest church served the community well, and with a full-time minister devoting all his time to the local community the fellowship grew. As many as 200 would crowd into the sanctuary on Sunday for worship. The Junior Department of the Sunday School met in the basement. It was full and overflowing with teachers and leaders and as many as 100 children, who joined together to sing "Jesus Loves Me" and "In the Temple". Many of the present leaders and members of the church received their early Sunday School training in this crowded basement.
During these years membership continued to increase, and the Annual Conference felt that Lydick should be self-supporting and, therefore, cease to be a mission church. It was felt by members that a new and larger church building could better enable the church to serve God, and began thinking about the possibility of a more adequate building.
Even though a larger church building was needed, the parsonage was also in bad need of remodeling. In 1945 the parsonage was modernized by installing an electric water pump, a water system, and bathroom fixtures in a room built for that purpose in 1922. Built-in cupboards were installed in the kitchen. Total cost of the remodeling was $745.64.
In 1946 the Evangelical Church merged with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, and our local church became known as Lydick Evangelical United Brethren Church.
After modernizing the parsonage, the building fund became the number one priority. The last Sunday of the month was designated “Building Fund Sunday” and all offerings were deposited into the building fund. Auction sales, box socials, youth penny drives and other types of fund-raising promotions were held to raise money, along with, of course, Ladies Aid Suppers. By October of 1946 there was a total of $2,682.46 in the building fund.
By 1948-1949 definite plans were being made for the expansion, including purchase of the land, appointment of the Building Committee and blueprints were drawn. Reverend Arthur Givens, pastor at the time, strongly urged that the members launch the building program, but the Administrative Board felt there were not sufficient funds at that time. After much prayer and approximately $10,000 in the Building Fund, the Administrative Board voted in 1949 to accept a bid of $25,290 for the basement unit, which did not include plumbing, plumbing fixtures and sewage.
On October 2, 1949, construction began and ground-breaking services were held by Reverend Paul Epply, pastor at the time. The following were contractors and suppliers:
Steward – Mrs. C. Watkins
General Contractor – Walter Skiles of Lakeville
Material – Lydick Lumber Company
Grading and Excavating – J.W. Baker and Harris Tayler
Water System – Donated by Lydick Hardware
Well – Donated by C.E. Snellenberger
Work progressed rapidly and the basement unit was completed at a cost of $28,618.78. On February 26, 1950, Bishop G.E. Epp presided at the service of dedication. The basement debt was paid in full and a note burning service was held on October 14, 1951, just 20 months after the dedication. Special thanks went to the Evangelical United Brethren Indiana Conference, and the Department of Church Extension of the General Board of Missions for grants totaling $8,500, low-interest loans and, of course, all help given by members and friends of the Church and community.
Worship services were held in the basement unit, the present small Fellowship Hall .One of the most beautiful Sunrise Services was held in this building when the front of the sanctuary was decorated as a flower garden with a replica of a stone rolled away from the grave of the Lord. Mr. and Mrs. Harry McCreary presented the church with an electric organ in memory of their son Mark, who gave his life for his country in Korea.
Fellowship and attendance in the new unit was great, despite the uncomfortable folding chairs. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit was guiding and all were looking forward to the new Sanctuary. The Building Committee continued their hard work and after much research and examination of bids, Reverend Epply found himself in the middle of his second building project since being appointed to Lydick. Construction of the sanctuary began in April of 1954 with the following crew:
General Contractor – Harry H. Verkler
Construction Superintendent – Arthur Oder
Foreman – Harlan Lusk
Heating Contractor – Louis Seago
Even though the basement unit was complete, the old concrete block church was still used for Sunday School classrooms. A walkway was built between the old church and the new basement so classes could pass back and forth. The Children’s Department was growing very rapidly and each Sunday they would bring their pennies for the Building Fund and drop them into a glass jar. When it was time to lay the first row of bricks around the new sanctuary, the superintendent of the Junior Department, teachers and children all went outside, formed a circle completely around the building, joined hands and sang "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow".
In approximately six months the sanctuary was complete, and all classes met in the new church for the first time on October 3, 1954. Total cost of the upper unit was $64,207.02, bringing the total cost of the completed church to $92, 285.80. The dedication service was held on November 28, 1954 with Bishop J. Balmer Showers presenting the message. Children, friends, neighbors and church members prayed, sacrificed and worked tirelessly to provide this new house of worship for the community The Ladies Aid, the oldest organization in the church, contributed thousands of dollars to the project in addition to their hard work.
Reverend Paul Carmany was assigned to Lydick in 1955, and during his ministry a second worship service was added. This first service was at 8:30 AM and the second at 10:40 AM, and the combined total average attendance was 250. Lydick Church was in debt, and new goals needed to be set.. It was evident that serious consideration would have to be made to another expansion program, as more space was needed for classrooms. All available space was being used, including the sanctuary, storerooms, kitchen and even the parsonage. A building program was launched on August 6, 1959 with the appointment of a Building Committee under the direction of Reverend Walter L. Mayer. For two years the committee studied plans for a proposed addition that would meet both present and future needs.
On November 22, 1959, a note burning service was conducted by District Superintendent Dr. Wilson Parks, celebrating payment of the debt on the sanctuary in full. The church was now debt free.
Membership and attendance continued to increase under the leadership of Reverend Mayer. Membership was 132 in 1948, and increased to 313 by 1959. Many activities were added to the church program to promote closer fellowship among the members of the church and community. A Men’s Chorus was organized, and their singing added much to the worship service. Softball teams were set up for men and boys. Men and women’s bowling teams were established.
Reverend Mayer was awarded a special honor when he was invited to attend Oxford University in England for a thirteen week course. The Board granted him leave to accept the honor, and the laity worked with Reverend Mayer to arrange replacements for worship services during his absence. Visiting pastors delivered the sermons and young men from the congregation served as lay leaders. The membership was proud of both their pastor and the many young men who assumed the responsibility of conducting the morning worship those thirteen weeks.
Mr. Forrest West, of South Bend, who had been engaged as the architect for the educational unit,
presented his preliminary plans in November of 1960.
A professional fundraiser was hired in March of 1961 to spearhead the campaign to raise money for the new educational unit. When the Expansion Fund Committee learned of the method to be used to raise these funds, objections were raised, and at a special meeting voted to dismiss the fund raiser. They decided to organize and promote the expansion program with local leadership and members. That same month the Conference Board of Missions approved the preliminary plans for the new building.
The Committee conducted a fund drive in April of 1961, and $60,000 was pledged over a three year period. Ob July 1, 1962, ground was broken for the new unit with Bishop G.E. Epp bringing the message. At the time the church had $31,000 in hand for the project. Contractors for the Educational Unit were as follows:
General Contractor – Harry Verkler Company
Electrical Contractor – Scanlon Electric
Heating and Plumbing – United
Architect – Forrest West
Construction started immediately and progressed rapidly. The addition contained fourteen rooms, including a large fellowship hall, offices for the pastor and secretary, a nursery, library and classrooms. Total cost was $123,885. Dedication services were held in the new fellowship hall on January 13, 1963, with Bishop Reuben H. Mueller officiating.
With the merger of the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist denominations in 1968, the church name was changed to Lydick United Methodist Church. Reverend Robert E. Seitz was pastor at that time. During the ministry of Reverend Seitz a Lay Mission was held in our church, and the entire membership received a spiritual blessing. Mrs. Helen Seitz organized and directed the first week-day nursery school for the community, which was located in the Educational Unit.
Under the leadership of the Reverend Paul Steele, the $85,000 mortgage on the Educational Unit was paid in full on April 29, 1973. The note burning service was presided over by District Superintendent Reverend Gerald H. Jones. In just fourteen short years, Lydick Church progressed from a small concrete block church, which served the community from 1913 to 1949, to a brick Sanctuary and Educational Unit, all paid in full.
The 1922 parsonage was badly in need of replacement. In the spring of 1973, under the leadership of Reverend Steele and the Building Committee, construction began on a new parsonage. A parcel of land was donated by Roy Peterson, and Hartman Brothers Builders were hired as contractors. Ritschard Brothers donated time and equipment for the excavation. Total cost for the new parsonage, including floor covering, drapes, fixtures and fireplace equipment was $35,460. The new parsonage was first occupied in October, 1973, with dedication services presided over by Superintendent Jones on November 4, 1974.
The organ used in the worship services was in need of much repair. In 1978 the Council appointed an Organ Committee to investigate the advisability of repairing it, or purchasing a new one. Due to the age of the organ and the high cost of repair, a beautiful new Baldwin organ was dedicated by Reverend Don Crabill on March, 1979. The new organ was financed primarily by memorial contributions.
Another day of rejoicing was reached when on August 19, 1983, Pastor E. Robert Heckman and former Pastor Paul Steele presided at the note burning ceremony for the parsonage. In 1988 Room #5 was remodeled into an adult Social Room complete with kitchenette, through donations made by Mearl and Lenora Dustin. Also in 1988, a hip roof was added to the Educational Unit, made possible by an interest-free loan from Homer Fitterling.
In 1990 under Director Nancy Dudka, the backyard playground area for the Pre-School Program was fenced in. Pre-School Classes were expanded to four, with over 60 children enrolled. A new ceiling was put in the small Fellowship Hall by Ray Milliken Contruction, and many of the unfinished rooms and hallways were painted while Reverend Kent Biller was pastor. Community outreach included the “Friendship Company,” an after-school kids club, a teleministry project with New Carlisle and Maple Grove churches and the continued sponsoring of scouting programs for boys and girls.
Lydick’s goals have been achieved through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the grace of a loving Father, and the labor of all ministers and families who have served, and continue to serve, so faithfully. Starting with that first small group that met in 1901, ours is a rich heritage left to us by those who have come before us. For that we are most grateful.
May we pass on to future generations the love and faith we have inherited. In the words of a former pastor: “As we continue to labor for the Kingdom of God, let us remember that we are co-workers with God. Without his sustaining Spirit we could do nothing of lasting value, and with His Spirit we can do all things.”
Pastors Who have Served Lydick Church
From 1901 to present, 33 Pastors have served our church and community.
1920 W.H. Flurkey
1921 E. Zollar
1922 E. H. Snyder
1924 F.D. Stemen
1926 M. Herner
1928 Elmer Smith
1933 R.G. Faust
1936 C.J. Coverstone
1937 E. Knight Worth
1939 Norman E. Detroy
1945 Arthur Givens
1949 Paul Epply
1955 Paul Carmany
1957 Walter Mayer
1966 Harry O. Huffman
1968 Robert E. Seitz
1972 Paul Steele
1975 Don Crabill
1981 E. Robert Heckman
1988 Kent G. Biller
1994 Kevin J. Buckley
2002 Andy Martin
2003 Jennifer Johns-Gooding
2009 Jim Toole
2013 Jungbum Kim
2018 Cindy Uhrich (current Pastor)