The Amherst Methodist Church

The Amherst Methodist Church
Centennial Observance
July 11 and 12, 1953


In the summer of 1853, "Old Father" Miller, Methodist minister, formed a class of 9 at Amherst. The following constituted this original class which marks the beginning of the Amherst Methodist church: Thomas and Rachel Fleming, William V. and Caroline Fleming, Harriet Fleming, Phoebe Fleming, Maria Fleming, E. T. Ryerson, and Parmelia Fleming Ryerson. At the time of the next annual conference, the Amherst Circuit was formed. It was in the Waupaca District. (We are now in the Appleton District.) The first Quarterly Conference held for the Amherst Circuit was held in the Fleming schoolhouse on November 26th and 27th, 1856.

The Sunday school report of July 10th and 11th, 1857, reads: "Teachers and Officers 8, Scholars 30, Volumes in Library 100; Scholars in infant class 3; Advocates 12."

The first parsonage was built in 1858. The church was built in 1863. The building was erected on "the land deeded to the Methodist Society by Robert Wilson, the father of . . . A. C. Wilson." During the year 1871-72, when T. M. Ross was minister, "some improvements were made upon the church, such as painting the interior of the building, finishing the windows and reseating it." During the pastorate of W. Rowbotham, 1886-90, the following improvements were made: "The young people . . . built a new platform in front of the church at a cost of fifteen dollars, shingled the roof at a cost of over seventy dollars, put new blinds to the windows at thirty dollars, built a wood house at the cost of twenty dollars, bought a new organ at fifty dollars insured the parsonage at a cost of three dollars . . .. The trustees have paid one hundred dollars indebtedness on the parsonage and built a new barn at cost of one hundred and thirty dollars . . . The church building was remodeled during the pastorate of C. E. Coon, 1918-1922. The church became quite strong at this time, both numerically and otherwise. Clarence Hanscom, Centennial guest speaker, served during the year 1927-1928. His emphasis, according to the record, was work among the young people. The first lady minister to serve the church was Margaret Osterhuis (now Margaret Wilkinson, Centennial guest speaker), who left a good record. During the pastorate of William P. Leek in 1939, many united with the church. The longest pastorate was that of George H. Willett, who served 7 years, beginning in 1942. John Kendall was the last pastor before the present one, Arnold H. Nielsen. Mr. Kendall and those who preceded him laid well the foundation for the work that followed, for during the succeeding two years the membership of the church has doubled, and the present building enterprise has been initiated and carried on.

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