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James Calvin Rhodes

James Calvin Rhodes Click to enlarge

James Calvin Rhodes was born in the village of Kellersburg, Pennsylvania, on January 28, 1841. Of his personal religious experience he says: "I was gloriously converted in the old-fashioned way, and am now as sure of it as I am that the sun shines. It was the thirtieth day of August, 1857, at five o'clock in the afternoon at a camp meeting held by Josiah Flower at West Freedom, Pennsylvania, and I joined the Methodist class at the old Martha Furnace, in Clarion County." His call to the ministry, which came soon afterwards, was clear and definite.

He was received into the Erie Conference in 1872 at Akron, Ohio. In 1874 he was ordained Deacon, and 1876, Elder, each time by Bishop Peck. He served as an effective minister for almost thirty years and during this period of time had the joy of receiving eleven hundred members into the Church.

Of his educational qualifications, Brother Rhodes says: "I was educated at the Classical Institute, Pennsylvania. I have been a close student for more than sixty years." He was a devoted, careful and life-long student of the Bible and kindred lines of learning that aided him in the proclamation of the Gospel he loved so well and promulgated with "no uncertain sound."

He never doubted the great vital, fundamental, and experimental truths of apostolic and historic Christianity. These spiritual facts were experimental; they crimsoned with life his gospel ministry, which was incisive, doctrinal, evangelistic, and as already intimated, soul-saving. "He was a tireless worker, and brought to the pulpit and pastorate the best offerings of his virile anti consecrated Christian manhood." No wonder that many new-born joined the various churches which he served and rallied to the standard he lifted up. "Through his earnest leadership they knew and rejoiced in the fact and the meaning of experimental Christianity."
Rev. B. M Clark, D.D., pastor of First Methodist Episcopal Church. Gowanda, N. Y., where Brother Rhodes lived after his retirement says, "During the four years of the writer's pastorate, when health permitted, (Brother Rhodes was broken in health) he was a faithful and intelligent attendant upon the public services. He often led the devotional services in the Epworth League, and also the regular prayer meetings when necessary, notably during the extended periods, on account of the long illness and after the death of two of the pastors of First Church Gowanda. When lamenting to another pastor that he could do so little work for the Master, the reply was: "You are all the time doing something to help the Church." His last public appearance was on his last birthday, January 28, at the morning worship.

Brother Rhodes, because of a nervous breakdown, found it necessary to retire from the active work of the ministry, in 1901 but continued to render valuable service to the Church he so loved, as health and strength would permit, and his efforts were appreciated.

Brother Rhodes was twice married, and is survived by his second wife, Carrie Rhodes, and by brothers-in-law, nephews, and nieces. His familiar form will be missed in the Church. The "well done" of the Christ is the crown of his eternal rejoicing.

Brother Rhodes served the following appointments: Clarington,
Pa.; Corsica, Pa.; North Washington, Pa.; Croton Avenue, New Castle,
Pa.; Karns City, Pa.; Bismarck, North Dakota; West Monterey, Pa.;
Pleasantville, Pa.; Mahoning Church, New Castle, Pa.; East Randolph,
N. Y.; Frewsburg. N. Y.; Little Valley, N. Y.; Youngsville, Pa.; Kinzua, Pa., and Lander, Pa.

Funeral services were conducted at the home by the Rev. B. M. Clark, D.D., pastor of First Church, assisted by the Rev. H. L. Dunlavy, of the Erie Conference. Other ministers of our Conference probably would have been present, as Brother Rhodes was a brother beloved, had not the daily press made a mistake as to the time of the funeral. The interment was in Pine Hill Cemetery, Gowanda, N. Y.

By J. L. Stratton, Memoirs of Deceased Preachers, Erie Conference Journal and Yearbook, 1923, pages 820-822.


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