Locust Ridge Methodist Church
HISTORY OF LOCUST RIDGE METHODIST CHURCH
Compiled by Rick Bodenschatz
From the History of the Methodist Church, Page 681:
Locust Ridge is located five miles southeast of Thornhurst. It is claimed that Methodism has existed in this place more than 70 years, although we are unable to give definite statements concerning the early days.
After agitating the building of a church several years a building committee was appointed in 1897 and $200 secured on subscription. Through a disagreement in the community concerning its being a union church the matter was dropped. In the summer of 1900 church building was again agitated, and the following appointed as building committee: Rev. J.N. Meaker, J.E. Bush, and Michael Argot.
The first meeting of this committee was held on October 10, 1900. It was resolved to proceed as rapidly as possible to build a Methodist Episcopal Church. “For,” said the pastor, “if the Methodists wish to build a church they have no apology to make to any other denomination. We shall waste no time in talking of a union church.”
During the winter a lot was purchased which was large enough for the church and a cemetery. In March 1901, the ground was broken, and on April 6 the cornerstone was laid by the pastor. The erection of this church was unique in the history of church building. A little before the corner stone was laid the school trustees served notice on the society that on account of necessary repairs to be made to the building the society could no longer have the use of the schoolhouse for services.
Men gathered for work, volunteering their services. In one day the heavy timbers were felled, scored, hewed, and drawn to the place of the building. On a second day some hemlock lumber was on the ground at night which in the morning had stood as trees. Michael Argot, J.E. Bush, and Nicholas Noll each gave three weeks of labor. A carpenter was secured who boarded a week with each of the above-named persons.
So vigorously was the work pushed that in three weeks and one day from the felling of the first timber the society took possession of the building. The plan used was No. 1, published by the Church Extension Society. The building is 22-feet 32-feet with 10-foot posts, and ceiled on the inside. Seats were extemporized so as to give immediate use of the building. During the summer some secondhand connected chair seats were purchased, cleaned, and varnished, and the building seated with these.
The building was painted on the outside and oiled on the inside by willing workers. The church was valued at $800. Materials were given valued at $80.62, and labor was donated to the amount of $181.73. The balance was provided for by subscription.
The church was dedicated on November 20, 1901, by Rev. J.F. Warner, who preached from 2 Corinthians iv,7.
The following originated in a Sunday services program of the Blakeslee Methodist Church, 1946, from a series covering the history of area Methodist churches:
It has been claimed that Methodism has existed in this community since about 1830, although we are unable to give definite statements concerning the early days.
Early services were conducted in a log school house located near a clump of wild plum trees now to be found along the road on “schoolhouse hill.” When this school was abandoned it is not known, but as far back as the Civil War days, church services were being held in a school which stood on the site of the present VanHorn house. Occasionally, great rallies were held out of doors which were the scenes of baptism, great preaching and inspiring singing.
There was a definite attempt to organize a church during the years 1885-88 at which time there was a unique quarterly conference held in a grove, now the property of Oscar Smith.
After agitating the building of a church, a committee was appointed in 1897 and $200 was secured in subscriptions. This movement can be traced to Jeanette Bush, Nicholas Noll and Michael Argot. Through a disagreement concerning its being a union Church, the matter was dropped until 1900, when Rev. J.N. Meaker instigated the building of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
A lot was purchased large enough for the church and a cemetery, and on April 6, 1901 the cornerstone was laid by the pastor. In three weeks and one day from the felling of the first timber, the Society took possession of the edifice. L.D. Tyler was the first to preach in the new church.
The church was dedicated on Nov. 20, 1901 by Rev. J.F. Warner whose text was II Corinthians 4:7.
The original connected chairs were replaced in February 1946 by pews obtained from Shiloh Methodist Church, Bangor.
“I love Thy Church, O God!”
Historical accounts record the church being part of the Thornhurst Charge until 1928. At that time a new charge was designated the Pocono Lake Charge, made up of the Methodist churches from Locust Ridge, Blakeslee and Pocono Lake.
Stated on P. 819 of Commemorative Biographical Record of Northeastern Pennsylvania (1909), Ely Utt established the first Sabbath-school at Locust Ridge, Tobyhanna Township, also at Thomkinsville (now Houser Mills)”. Ely Utt was from the Mountainhome-Cresco area, b.1832-d.1916.
In 2006, the church property and cemetery were purchased by Iglesia LaGrand Comision, Inc. The congregation is led by Pastor Angel Sotomayer, its founder. More than 20 members now worship the Gospel as a vibrant family. Prayer meetings are held on Fridays, and Sunday Services with Sunday School brings the group together for worship. Their day of worship often closes with a congregational supper. Many improvements have been made to the property with new siding, a new furnace and recently a new roof. Work continues to improve the cemetery grounds.