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Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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HISTORIC OCONTO COUNTY CHURCHES
Wisconsin


.Abrams German Methodist Episcopal Church .

Built 1883

Researched, written and contributed by Bob Reim



Original Abrams Methodist Episcopal Church 1910. (from Dennis Kohlman collection)    photo by Roy Hannan.   The photo indicates the pastor was Rev. Geo. A. Tennant, Abrams Photo Page

The German Methodist Episcopal Church of Abrams was  located two miles west of Abrams at the NE corner of the intersection of County D and what today is Sandalwood Road and Reim Road.   The location of a church at this site was identified on Oconto County plat maps of 1898, 1905 and 1912 on land that surrounded by  the Charles Schliep farm in Section 33 Township 27 Range 20.  The original church, built in 1883, was struck by lightning and burned to the ground in 1901, but was rebuilt.  Based on baptismal records of the Reim Family, the pastor in 1886 was Rev. Heinrich Karnopp and during the years 1918 – 1921, Rev J. F. Brandt served as pastor.  As the church served the German immigrant population, services were conducted in the German language.   Membership included family names of Feldt, Reim and Schliep among others.




Real Photo Post Card No. 126 Showing German Methodist Episcopal Church c: 1915.

In 1950 this building was moved and attached to the existing Abrams Methodist Church building becoming the sanctuary part of the new church building.
 
It is likely the church was white or off-white in color with reddish trim on the windows and frame.



 Showing German Methodist Episcopal Church c: 1920. 
Abrams German Methodist Episcopal Church With Congregation on a Wintery Day, c: 1920. Hulda Reim and Reinhold A Reim are the fourth and fifth persons right of the central figure on the step.  Note the differences relative to photo No.126 namely a closed steeple,  over-painted steeple roof and no downspout over the entry area.

In 1939, various Methodist Episcopal and Methodist Protestant denominations merged and the German Methodist Episcopal Church became known as the Country Methodist Church or Abrams Country Methodist Church.  Also by this time, the use of German had phased out.  In 1947, the members of the Country Methodist Church began consolidation with members of the Abrams Methodist Church and the Brookside Community Methodist Church.   Built in 1897 and located north of the corner of Brookside Road and Co. J, the Brookside Community Church had been closed, sold and moved.   The members had transferred to the Abrams Methodist Church.  In 1950,  the Country Methodist Church building was moved to Abrams and added to the existing Abrams Methodist Church building becoming the sanctuary part of the new church building (Abrams Methodist Church  Page).    The new structure retained some characteristics of each original structure; namely, the Gothic stained glass triple window of the German Methodist Episcopal Church and a modified bell tower and main structure of the Abrams Methodist Church. 




 Abrams Union Methodist Church on Elm Street 1951.
The original German Methodist Episcopal Church building, with gothic stained glass windows is on the left.

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 Abrams Union Methodist Church  c1960s. 
Churches Photo History Page

In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren denomination and the Methodist denomination merged and the church was renamed the Abrams United Methodist Church consistent with the new United Methodist Church.   Over the next decades, many building  improvements were made including a covered entry to the building and basement, enclosure of the bell tower, replacement of many large windows,  a cross on the front building,  landscaping and a memorial sign and planter. 

In early 2008, a Special Task Force Study recommended to discontinue the Abrams United Methodist Church due to changes in the culture and sociology of the area and increased mobility of  people.   Physical condition of the building and aging of the church community were additional  factors in the recommendation.  In April 2008, at a special  church conference,  a majority of the membership  voted to discontinue the church.  On June 29, 2008, at 10:00 AM,  the final service was held and the Abrams United Methodist Church was closed after more than 115 years of ministry in the Abrams area.  All church records were transferred to the United Methodist Church Conference at Sun Prairie, WI for archival.

References

1.  United Methodist Church Historical Archives, United Methodist Church Conference, Sun Prairie, WI


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