Merrick County website
Central City Friends Meeting
Centennial Celebration, 1899-1999
Central City Monthly Meeting of Friends
June 13, 1999
To all those good souls who helped to make this project possible, thank you!
Kay and Neil Mesner wrote most of the Meeting history, after several trips to the Nebraska State Historical Society in Lincoln, where the permanent Meeting records are kept.
June Webb searched through minutes and prepared the USFW history. She included many notes from Erma Mesner covering the period through 1948.
Mildred Mesner prepared the extensive exhibit of posters portraying many facets of the Meeting's life.
Josephine McConnell contributed from her trove of clippings about the Meeting.
"Everyone" helped find pictures and stories for the pictorial history. Clifford Mesner and his secretary, Cris Larson, scanned the pictures and helped format them.
We couldn't have completed the project without each person's contribution.
Thanks again!Selma Mesner
100th Anniversary CommitteeSelma Mesner, Chair
Kay and Neil Mesner
June and Weson (sic) Webb
Table of Contents (not in original)
History (Section A - following, see below)
Calendar of History (Section B)
United Society of Friends Women (Section C)
Pastors (Section D)
Members (Section D, con't)
Nebraska Central College (Section E)
Photo Index - 3 tables (includes photos of buildings, and of people without bios in the booklet, some group photos that may be Central College classes. If you can identify any of the unknowns, please contact us.
Ted & Carole Miller)
CENTRAL CITY MONTHLY MEETING OF FRIENDS
"If you build it, they will come." That was the vision of Herbert J. Mott when he arrived in Central City in the fall of 1898. Herbert Mott was an evangelist and Church Extension leader who was the moving spirit in the unusual project of building a Meeting House before there was a Monthly Meeting or any members. In fact there was only one Quaker family in town! But the field was ripe for planting seeds. James Stephens, one of the early "lights" in the community sold a run-down college building the Methodists had abandoned to a group of Quakers who had a vision of a "School of the Prophets". There were Friends Meetings near, in Clarks, Aida, Loup City with several in between, but no Meeting at Central City. The decision to establish a Friends College made it logical to plan for a Friends Meeting also.
A lot was purchased from Joseph Phelps on which to build. Herbert Mott headed the volunteer crew who built the building. People in the community were astonished to see a preacher put hand to tools and build his own church. So they were curious and came to hear such a preacher. The Central City "Democrat" of November 1898, contains the following item. The lumber has been contracted and the work will begin immediately. The Christian Community as well as the business men welcome this new enterprise and pray God's richest blessing upon it."' Actually, the business men contributed $1300 of the $1,650 required to build the church. Turner Abel, a Friends Minister from Clarks Meeting., turned over his bank account to Herbert Mott, telling him to draw on it until the Meeting House was completed. By January 15, 1899, the building was completed and ready for use.
The Meeting House was a simple structure, 40 x 40 feet, with 200 substantial assembly chairs and drop seats around three walls. Well lighted, heated and furnished, it had carpeted aisles, organ, fire tongs and shovel. Over the door outside there were the words, "Friends Meeting House".
The dedication service was set for Saturday and Sunday, January 14 and 15, 1899. President Rosenberger of Penn College came to give the dedicatory sermon Saturday evening. Zenas L. Martin had the Sunday service. Every foot of space was filled and there were a number who could not even get in the door. There were many in attendance who had not been in a sanctuary for years. A series of Gospel meetings were held under the leadership of Herbert Mott, and there were many applications for membership.
A preliminary Monthly Meeting was organized on March 16, 1899. The Presiding Clerk chosen was B.S. Abel; Asst. Clerk was Harriett Knight; Correspondent was Ida Phelps; the Recorder was Bertha Wadsworth; and the Treasurer was Joseph Phelps. There were forty-six in attendance. Charter members were: Newton and Anna Potter and Harvey; Mary Ida Moore; William E. and Nellie Solt; William Shelton; Joseph
Phelps and wife and daughter; John Thompson, James and Orissa K. Stephen; Hugh and Lizzie Littleton; Mr. Lewis and children; Bertha Wadsworth; Seth and Olive Compton; Herbert and Lillie Mott, Wilfred and Hazel; Mamie Mott; Joseph and Mary J. Reeder; Lettie Willoughby; William Williamson; Benjamin Abel and family; Elwood Knight and family; William Roberts and family; Gertrude Goodrich. Friends approved that Monthly Meeting for Business be held the first fifth day at 2 p.m., and that the church year would begin September 1 and end August 31. Herbert J. Mott was named pastor until the end of the calendar year or until other arrangements could be made. On June 8, 1899, the treasury balance was $25. Offering was to be taken once a month. On July 6, 1899, nine members were appointed to Platte Valley Quarterly Meeting at Clarks. The full Monthly Meeting was established August 2, 1899.
Early on, the spirit of community spirit was shown. When the Baptists were remodeling their church, in their second Monthly Meeting, Friends offered their building for use on Sunday evenings.
The membership growth was quite rapid in the early years. In the first year they had one hundred members. New members were named each month. Families of birthright Friends settled here to be near the college, and many convinced Friends joined by request. It is also quite noticeable that members came and went with great frequency. As children completed school, families tended to move back to previous communities. The up and down economy of that era also affected many families. They moved to where they could make a living.
The original building has undergone many changes since its original construction. The building was moved slightly in 1903 to make room for the new parsonage. It was a one story house with 5-6 rooms, built at a cost of $800 to $850. James Stephen moved the church building for $35. He built a new chimney for $2 and charged 75 cents for refraining the roof. In 1908, it was decided to remodel and enlarge the church. At this time, the parsonage was moved across the street to the east. In July 1910, the trustees were empowered to have the Meeting House wired for electricity. Other changes include a new gas furnace installed in 1948, and a sump pump in 1954. The telephone was added in 1961, having previously failed approval. The public address system came in 1971. The present pulpit was crafted by Henry Schutz in 1969. The upstairs kitchenette was completed in 1984. For most of its years, the Meeting House was painted white. In 1987 it became gray with white trim.
Other Friends Meetings were established in the area in addition to Central City. Most of these did not have long lives and tended to ebb and flow during their existence. Some of these included Belgrade, Community Friends in the Archer/Palmer area and another one near Fullerton. There was even a request to start a Meeting in Fremont, NE. In each case, Central City Friends usually absorbed the membership that was left in order to provide those Friends with a Quaker identity.
For the first fifty years, the activities and membership of Central City Monthly Meeting were greatly intertwined with Nebraska Central College. Faculty and students provided many active members and leadership for the Meeting. In return, the Meeting gave a lot of support and was greatly involved with college activities. A number of pastors over the years taught classes at the college, also. Theodore and Estell Foxworthy were active leaders at both the college and in the Meeting. In 1921, Ora W. Carrell and GoIda O. R. Carrell came as pastors and Ora Carrell taught in the Bible department at the college. Golda Carrell was a trained vocalist and found more opportunities in the college music department, as well as in speech and drama. Ora Carrell later became president of the college for many years.
Finances were a never-ending problem for the Meeting, especially in the depression years of 1926-1935. Various methods were tried over the years to raise needed monies. Members were asked to pledge so much a year. It is fascinating to see in the minutes that those pledges ranged from 50 cents to $3 a year. Special appeals and offerings seemed to be another good source of income in crucial times. In the early '30's, the women decided they could raise money by having chicken pot pie suppers for the community at large. And they were successful at it. Another source of income for the women was quilting. They charged by the amount of thread used, and $54 a year raised by quilting does not seem so significant now. It was, at that time! The men did their part by helping with upkeep and doing many necessary repairs themselves. They donated wood for the wood stoves, and every year they went to a member's home and tree lot and had work days to provide wood for the winter months. They remodeled and painted and put new shingles on the roof ... all projects that we now hire out to be done. From 1936 - 1938 Dan Neifert served the Meeting as pastor for only $50 a month and use of the parsonage.
Membership continued to flourish in spite of hard times. At its peak, the Meeting recorded 357 members. When Nebraska Central College closed in 1952, it was predicted that the Meeting would close down also. While the Meeting has decreased in size since then, there have remained a core of faithful and dedicated members who carry on a myriad of projects and concerns and are committed to a "Quakerly" way of life.
Some of the highlights from 1899 to 1909 included sending $25.25 to Rufus M. Jones to be distributed among Indian sufferers, June, 1900. In December of that year Emma Coffin came from Spencer, IA to hold evangelistic meetings. The August 1901 minutes list a membership of 151; number who use tobacco - 11; number who sell tobacco - 1; and the number of families to do daily devotions - 12. Also that year there were women ushers. The Endeavor Society began in 1902. Queries answered in August 1902 reveal that "we believe that a few parents neglect to instruct their children as queried, often leaving this duty largely to Church and Sunday School." A Thanksgiving offering in April of 1903 netted $2.37 to be given to Tabitha Home for Invalids in Lincoln. In April 1904 Friends approved discussing the feasibility of placing book racks on the backs of church chairs. By October of that year the book racks were ready to be
installed at a cost of $6.40. In 1905 the screen door committee was instructed to continue until enough money was raised for screen doors. In November 1905 there was approval for new hymn books as soon as money could be raised. Evangelistic meetings were held in cooperation with the Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist churches. A "tabernacle" was erected for the meetings. When money was needed in 1908, the Meeting purchased property which they rented out to cover the cost of interest on a bank loan. Family names joining the Meeting in this decade included Mesner, Corsbie, Myers, Reeves, Clara Wilder, Gibson, Emry and Hull. An interesting note in 1909 tells that the Hymn Book committee could not agree on a new hymnal; they referred it back to the Meeting; the Meeting gave the job back to them and told them to find a book "they could agree upon".
March 1910 finds S. L. Hull as Presiding Clerk. In December 1911, Mattie M. Headley and Charles Mesner were recorded as ministers of the gospel. February 1912, the Building Committee proposed a new auditorium with central pew supports, a new stove at the south entrance and pew pockets, Membership was 194 in April, 1913. May, 1913 brought the following quote: "The spiritual condition of the membership, as indicated by what is being accomplished is susceptible of marked improvement through more diligent study of scriptures and private devotions. The attenders upon public worship though fairly good is not so constant as desireable and sometimes, seemingly, not from the highest motives." In December 1913 the Meeting attended the laying of the cornerstone of the new Presbyterian Church. A committee was appointed in February, 1914 to look into the change in Federal Court oaths. In December 1915 the Finance Committee was instructed to find ways to pay the deficit. A year later the deficit was cleared. In October 1916 the pastor was involved in the "dry amendment". Funds were being raised for a piano. April 1917 finds the note of unsanitary conditions in the parsonage, and the trustee are to repair them immediately. $48.25 was raised in September 1917 for the Friends Reconstruction Unit. Some family names in this decade were Barnes, Crites, Perisho, Jewell, Wright, Coppock, Puckett, Townsend, Johnston, Ferguson, Jones, Willoughby, Bennett, Milsap, Good and Carrell.
Richard R. Newby made an evangelical visit in May 1920. The Carrells were given a traveling minute May 1920 to attend an "All Friends Conference in London" and to travel in ministry in eastern yearly meetings. Also attending the London conference were Estella Foxworthy, Ruth Joyce, Leroy Waggener, John Mesner and Mary Way. July 1 Philip and Nancy Mesner hosted 175 people at an all church social. December 12, 1920, Community Friends Church was organized in the vicinity of Adams School House. In August 192 1, Central City Friends opened their Meeting House for those attending Chatauqua who wanted to observe an hour of prayer. June 10, 1926 minutes record, "Mrs. Grieve suggests that better means should be provided to care for our dishes, etc., in the basement. The caretaker is advised to keep the church doors locked between services". Family names in this decade include Watkins, Smith, Holding, Tilton, McMillan, Creech, Ellis, Engle, Watson, Neifert, Marsh, Schutz, Drinkall and Van Zant.
The minutes from March 6, 1930 record that a telegram was sent to Pres. Hoover and a cablegram to Sec. Stinson in regard to the London Naval Conference. Hot water was installed in the parsonage in April, 193 1. Central City Friends were looking at a deficit of $1200 - $1400 in April, 1932. "Either we did not see clearly the probable trend of financial affairs or we did not properly understand the financial ability of our membership." By 1933 The Friendly Class was holding chicken pie suppers to raise money. By November 1934 the parsonage was connected with the city sewer line. Eighteen men helped obtain the winter wood supply. It was determined that the west room of the basement was not adequately heated and the trustees were told to "take care of it". By May 1936 most of the back debt was repaid. There was a large revision of membership in 1937. March 1938 minutes tell us that the building was inspected and approved by the state fire marshall. In April 1938, ten out of forty members returned answers to the following questions for the State of Society Report: 1) Do you conscientiously feel that you have attended services as regularly as you could? 2) Do you sense your personal responsibility for the Meeting for worship and conscientiously prepare for it? 3) Have you done all you could to make the Meeting a real spiritual experience for those present? 4) Have you tried to help someone else to come nearer to God? 5) Are you more conscious of God's presence in your own life than you were a year ago? 6) Have you been searching for more light on personal and general problems? 7) Will you make a statement concerning your estimate of the spiritual vitality of the Meeting as a whole? Some of the family names in this decade were Eaton, Roberts, Miller, Reece, Currey, Halling.
In March of 1940, the Meeting installed a phone in the parsonage. A quote from the State of Society report in April 1941 is, "A task without a vision is drudgery; A vision without a task is a dream; But a task with a vision is victory". In June of 1941, Glenn Reece was released for one half time to also serve as Superintendent of Nebraska Yearly Meeting. In 1942 there was a focus on war and a letter from Syracuse, New York Friends about AFSC defense projects. A committee in Merrick County collected books for soldiers, The Monthly Meeting composed a minute of concern for those who must register for the draft. It also stated "the need for us as a Meeting and as individuals to give a clear constant witness to the testimony of Friends". September 3, 1942 a Clearness Committee approved marriage for Evelynn Mott and Henry Schutz at a Meeting for Business. The group then adjourned to the sanctuary where in the quiet words of Friends, Evelynn and Henry were united in marriage. Friends then returned to the parlor for the completion of Meeting for Business, after which the bridal couple served a nice lunch. December of 1942 found members of the Meeting sending packages and letters to those in the service. The Meeting had no financial liabilities on March 31, 1943. Total membership April 1944 was 244. On January 1945 Friends reported sending Christmas letters and cards to twenty members in the service. November of 1945 found newly installed toilets in the Meeting House. A Statement of Peace Purpose was drawn up to the effect that war is incompatible with the plain precepts of "our divine Lord and Lawgiver". Twenty-two members signed this over a period of two years. In October 1947 a floor furnace was installed in the west room upstairs, a heater downstairs, and a small heater in the north room upstairs. In December 1947 there was a letter from the
American Friends Service Committee about the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, with English Friends. April 6 of 1948 saw Raymond and Erma Mesner, Mile Crosbie, Millard Powell and Henry Schutz attending the first Meeting of Lincoln Friends. A new furnace was installed in September, 1948. Henry Schutz and John Ferguson encased the furnace ducts in February of 1949. The young people planted a Chinese elm at the back of the Meeting House. In November of 1949 John Ferguson and Mr. Fogland painted the Meeting House. Some family names noted in this decade were Gardner, Widman, Foley, McKinney and McConnell.
The Meeting called Lindley Cook from Maine to be pastor in May of 1950. Corona Rayle Cook also became a vital force in the life of the Meeting. Concern was raised that year about starting a Meeting in Grand Island. (This would be revisited several times over the next fifty years.) In February 1951 was a proposal to remodel the basement of the Meeting House to eliminate the old furnace and fuel storage room. August of 1951 saw the formation of a Friends Meeting in Omaha, with former members, Delbert Mesner and Opal Ferguson giving some leadership. Dorothy Mesner and Helen Mesner attended Friends World Conference in England. The sanctuary, parlor and hallways were painted about June 1953. Total membership April 1954 was 152. A boy scout troop was formed in October that year. Friends decided that phone installation was "Inadvisable" in October 1955. In July 1956 the Meeting considered the yearly meeting proposal that Rocky Mountain Yearly Meeting be set off. The following month, August, members approved retaining membership in Nebraska Yearly Meeting. There was a call in October 1956 for all singers to attend a community Messiah practice. The Meeting entertained youth from Yugoslavia and Russia September 1958. Donald Johnston attended a youth United Nations conference, the first of many of our young people for several years. July 1959 minutes tell of a work day for Archie and Viola Johnston when their crops and buildings were badly damaged in a severe rain and hail storm. Some family names noted were Hoback, Webb, Shaneyfelt and Olson and Cook.
In January of 1961 a letter was sent to president-elect Kennedy to establish a government department to deal with non-violent solutions to world problems. The Meeting also discussed a bill on capital punishment before the state legislature. They also considered how to help a new Hispanic family in the community. After due deliberation the Meeting finally approved installing a telephone in the Meeting House in March of '61. In April of that year, Don Reeves attended a legislative hearing on capital punishment. Minutes in August 1961 note that Herbert Watson refinished the front table in the sanctuary. During the early 60's several members of the Calvery Life community became members and were active in the Meeting. In April 1962 Henry Schutz made new cabinets for the kitchen. Lindley Cook remodeled the south entryway in January of 1965. A telephone extension to the basement was approved two months later, In April 1965 the Meeting took a public stand in the paper opposing businesses selling alcoholic drinks. In September the Meeting started running a series of "Quaker Quotes" in the local paper. The summer of 1966 several youth and Lindley Cook went to camp at Rockcleft near Colorado Springs. There was some dialogue with Iowa Yearly Meeting Conservative on whether they and Nebraska Yearly Meeting could join together. In
September of 1966 Lindley Cook presented plans for adding onto the Meeting House on the east and remodeling the interior. It was suggested that the Trustees study it, and that "wives should also attend the study meetings"! By December Friends decided against any extensive additions or remodeling at this time. However, they would consider partitioning off the front of the sanctuary for classrooms. Eugene Coffin from California came to conduct evangelistic meetings April 1967. July saw the completion of shingling on the Meeting House roof. In November 1967 University Friends were considering an associate membership with Nebraska Yearly Meeting. Friends discussed the suitability of using the basement of the Meeting House for community youth gatherings in April 1968. There was a determination in July of 1968 that Sunday School teachers should not curtail or soft-pedal basic Quaker beliefs, such as the peace testimony. These should be presented as they have been. By the end of 1968 a property exchange was in place. Vernie Johnston moved into the old parsonage at the east end of the street; Lindley Cook took ownership of her house on A Street; the Meeting acquired the house on the end of the block just east of the Meeting House. Also by December, the Meeting purchased a copy of the painting, "The Presence in the Midst" to hang in the front of the main room. The Friends Church in Alda was laid down in 1969, and there were no more Quarterly Meetings. Later that year was a discussion on the Vietnam war and mention was made of members involved in Rural Nebraskans for Peace. Some family names in this decade were Ostrander, Traver, Swanson, Soper, Ayres, Svitak, Findley and Reeves.
The 1970's saw several exchanges of visits with the Lincoln Friends Meeting. The Meeting went through the uncomfortable process of how do we "un-record" a member who has moved away without taking their membership away. September of 1970 found University Friends in Wichita exploring full membership in Nebraska Yearly Meeting, while retaining full membership in Kansas Yearly Meeting, Deer Trail began construction on their new Meeting House. The Meeting considered the idea of a "Friends Center" in this area. In December 1970 Central City Friends approved a minute granting full membership to University Friends Meeting. In May 1971 the Meeting approved the remodeling of the small room north of the parlor into a small kitchen. By September 1971 James and Elizabeth Newby were providing leadership and turning the parsonage into Friends House, a retreat for traveling Friends. In May of 1973, the Meeting rescinded the recording of Wayne Ostrander. His actions are no longer "Quakerly". In August 1973, June Webb and Ron Mattson attended a Friends World Committee conference in Australia. In 1974, Weston Webb traveled to Belize. Elfrida Vipont Foulds from England visited June 1974. Gordon Harris was appointed to be an observer and monitor for Native American trials in South Dakota. Several Friends attended a "gathering of Friends in the upper Missouri Valley basin" in South Dakota. September 1974 Clifford Mesner went to Washington DC as an intern for Friends Committee on National Legislation. Membership April 3, 1975 was 174. In September the Meeting helped purchase a used car for use on the Pine Ridge reservation. During the 70's the youth had many soup suppers, spaghetti suppers, ice cream socials and car washes to raise money for their UN trips. In March of 1976 we were treated to a harpsichord recital by Harvey Hinshaw of Lincoln Friends. Henry Schutz built new steps on the north side of the Meeting House. The Meeting approved giving the old German Bible from the college
to the Merrick County Historical Museum. Tom Mullen came in September 1976 to conduct a workshop. Early in 1977, Delano Cunningham came as a part time pastor/tent maker. He also worked part time for Fairhope Farm, Inc. In July of 1977 several members attended "The Friends of the Americas" in Wichita. In August of 1978 the Meeting approved the installation of a lift, using memorial money for the cost. It arrived in November. The Meeting started an ongoing dialogue of whether to buy new pews. In the meantime, cushions were made to put on some of the old pews. In 1979 the Trustees composed a priority list for improvements and changes to the Meeting House, The ceiling and north and west walls of the parlor were insulated. The 70's brought the Cunningham and Krause families.
1980 brought a discussion of what might have happened to the Meeting House sign on Highway 30. The trustees were directed to replace it. The April minutes sadly record the death of Janet Mesner and that Randy Reeves was charged with the crime. This unalterable fact was later to have positive repercussions in the Meeting as we supported one another and renewed our efforts against capital punishment. At the approval of the Meeting, Henry Schutz crafted a memorial plaque that could be added onto. Our high school and junior high youth were still attending camp of Rockcleft. It expanded into a yearly meeting effort which sometimes met in other locations. The Peace Pilgrim made a visit in September of that year. The home of June and Weston Webb home was greatly damaged in a tornado that went through Grand Island. Meeting members pitched in to help clear the debris. As part of a community effort, the Meeting helped a refuge family from southeast Asia relocate by offering the use of Friends House. The family later relocated in Omaha. In November the Meeting decided to hold a weekly noon discussion over a brown bag lunch. The outreach of the Meeting continued with a letter-to-the-editor in 1981 urging the community to be welcoming and gracious to Cuban refugees. We also prepared a minute opposing capital punishment that was read to the State Legislature Judiciary Committee, the first of many times individual members testified before that committee. A letter of support was written to Nebraskans for Peace for working on nuclear freeze. In 1982 we participated in AFSC's "shovel project", to purchase shovels for clearing mines and bomblets left in Laos. On a lighter note, the Meeting considered participating in a community bed race! The Monthly Meeting approved joining Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty. We worked for the passage of Amendment 300 which protected the family farm. 1983 saw Delano Cunningham ending his arrangement with Fairhope Farm and serving Methodist churches in the area part time. Consequently Meeting for Worship was moved to 11:30 a.m. In March of 1984 we met members of University Friends in Belville, KS for a "New Visions Workshop". Weston Webb participated in "Witness for Peace" in Nicaragua. The mid-80's farm crisis was addressed, and in 1987 the Meeting was a vital part of helping to administer a loan program for farmers from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. After years of fighting spring and summer flooding in the basement, the bathrooms were moved upstairs by remodeling the south room off the parlor, completed in December 1984. The Meeting continued to search for part-time leadership after the resignation of the Cunninghams. The Meeting drafted a letter regarding proper and improper United States involvement in Central America. We hosted the Penn College Choir in May, 1985. By then we had
hired Beth Zuehlke as "Interim Ministering Secretary", with individual members or guest speakers providing leadership for worship one or two Sundays a month. The Meeting started the custom of a "coffee hour" between Meeting for Worship and Sunday School. The doors between the sanctuary and parlor were repaired and improved. Total membership is 105. Beth Zuehlke's position was refined as "Ministering Secretary". In 1986 that was changed to "Lay Minister". The Meeting had experimented for several months with not passing the offering plate during Meeting for Worship. Friends then decided passing the plate and the accompanying music was also worshipful and "right". Several members participated in Nebraska Mid-Yearly Meetings, held at various places in Kansas. The Meeting searched for more ways to become visible in the community. A float in the annual Veteran's Day parade in 1987 was most visible! The Zuehlke family left in 1988 so Beth could pursue a degree at Earlham School of Religion. In February of 1989, the Meeting hired Lloyd Boyce, pastor of Chapman Baptist Church, to lead worship the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month. The painting of the Meeting House was completed by May. Being mindful of environmental harmony in August the Monthly Meeting approved not using paper plates and cups.
The Meeting continued its larger outreach to the community and the world in the 1990's. We decorated a store window downtown, and put an article in the paper in regard to a "prayer for peace in the Middle East". In 1991, Friends agreed to hold Meetings for Worship in the parlor during January and other particularly cold days. Lloyd Boyce was asked to continue leading worship on all Sundays of the month but the first one, representing us in the community and doing hospital and nursing home visitation, an arrangement that has worked very well. The Meeting approved having a "Prayer Vigil for Peace" on Mondays from 5-6 p.m. until Easter, open to the community at large. Grace McHargue moved to smaller quarters and graciously loaned her Quaker library to the Meeting. On March 3, 199 4, a minute of appreciation to Warren Mesner for 22-23 faithful years as Treasurer. In July we hosted the Sunday morning worship service for the community-wide Chatauqua. "Frederick Douglass" was the speaker. In 1992 the Meeting became involved in the new community recycling program. The Meeting also approved the purchase of a television and VCR. April 1993 saw us hosting the community Easter sunrise service. A lengthy discussion was held on whether Friends United Meeting should still be members of the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches. Total membership - 76. By December, new carpeting was installed on the north porch and steps. A successful church retreat was held at Covenent Cedars February 1996. A new cellar door was installed that year. The Meeting participated in the "Shoeboxes for Rumania" project. The Meeting approved buying additional Bibles like the ones given to the Meeting the year before. January 1997 brought participation in the "Souper Bowl" on Super Bowl Sunday. Each member was asked to donate a dollar to go to charity of choice. Our $48 went to the community food pantry. We made donations to Christian Peacemaker Teams, to those rebuilding burned churches and for flood victims in North Dakota. June and Weston Webb and Ruth Hull Bennett gave the Meeting the new Friends Hymnal. We participated in the 50th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to AFSC. We gave to the Friends Intercity School Endowment Fund. Mira Tanna came from AFSC in April 1998 to
educate us about Iraq and "Voices in the Wilderness". Plans were made to have the Meeting House painted this year, and plan for new shingles next year. A new sign was made for the Meeting House. We were blessed with a gift of "new" pews from the Deer Trail Church, now laid down as a Monthly Meeting. In the minutes there were several references over the past thirty years on whether we should obtain new pews, and/or cushions. This gift of pews effectively ended that discussion! In early 1999 we were focusing on plans for our 100th anniversary celebration. We also arranged for new shingles on the roof and new doors all around. Conflict resolution concerns were raised, with evidence of more violence in schools. We still seek to "make a better world".
Imagine sifting through a dozen or so books of minutes covering the past century, That is over 1000 Monthly Meetings. (a few meetings were canceled due to weather or other unusual events.) What to include, what to leave out.
It is hoped that what has been included will give a picture of the activities of Central City Friends .... what they did, how they did it, why they did it, who were the people involved. Maybe some inkling of what kind of people they were, and are. Also some of the conditions and situations they lived with, i.e. the physical ... imagine using outdoor toilets until 1945. Think of the dozens of other changes and maintenance work, large and small, that were done for this venerable old Meeting House, mostly voluntarily, to make it more livable and useful.
And consider the spiritual leadings that led them to sustain this community of worshipers. These leadings were followed faithfully and steadfastly through many struggles and successes for a century of worshipping together. It is a heritage worth honoring and remembering.
prepared by Nell and Kay Mesner
This reproduction from a copy supplied by
Selma Mesner, thank you!
© 2002 for NEGenWeb Project by Selma Mesner, Ted & Carole Miller