Old Stone United Methodist Church

Old Stone United Methodist Church
Old Stone United Methodist Church
553 South Main St.
Amherst, OH  44001

In the early days of the pioneers, missionary circuit riders were one of the only ways for the faithful to have worship. A missionary circuit riding preacher  named John Lutz organized the Lake Circuit of which North Amherst was a part in 1836. In 1837, the Salem Class was organized, which was the beginning of the present Old Stone United Methodist Church. This Salem Congregation was also the mother congregation of Huron, South Ridge, Brownhelm, and Lorain congregations. A log church building was erected in 1844. George Dute and Friedrick Friend reported in December 1855 that the brethren of Amherst Corners (North Amherst) saw fit to organize a class of their own. In 1861, they built a home for their circuit pastor and soon after a frame church was built at the corner of Cooper-Foster and Kolbe Roads. The congregation purchased an unused Brownhelm Township church in 1864, dismantled it, and rebuilt it on the site of the present church. Frederick French and J. K. Pontuis were the circuit pastors when the church was dedicated in November 1864.

Old Stone United Methodist Church, Amherst, OH

In 1881, the first stone church was begun using stone from the local quarries. It was completed in 1882. The year 1881 was inscribed on a block of sandstone set above the front window, and this stone is now the cornerstone in the modern Education Unit. The old style lettering of 1881 is preserved, even to the marks made when the stone cutter’s tool slipped.

In 1907, the language of the service was changed from German to English. The congregation was growing steadily, and it became necessary to construct a larger building. A congregational meeting was held on the parsonage lawn on June 12, 1919 and a building committee was elected, but due to the inflated prices following World War I, the matter was delayed. In 1922, Rev. Neumeister recommended the congregation start building the larger church. The last service was held in the old stone church June 8, 1924.

The contractors began razing the old building June 10, 1924. The cornerstone cut from the stone step of the old building was laid August 31, 1924. During the erection of the new building, the congregation worshipped in the Methodist church (now known as Park Avenue UMC in Amherst) which was rented. Dedication of the new sawed, buff sandstone building took place in 1925.

In 2001, the exterior of the sanctuary was badly in need of pointing and weatherproofing to preserve the historic structure. This was done at a cost of approximately $50,000. Old Stone has produced several ministers and minister’s wives and a missionary from its membership. A stone monument was erected on the church lawn dedicated to Kathryn Eyerick Giliani, who founded Italian missions in the Evangelical Church.

The arrangement of the sanctuary is known as the “Akron Plan” which included Sunday school classrooms just off the sanctuary on both floors. In the front of the sanctuary is a wooden hand-carved structure known as a reredos. This beautiful work of art was given to the church in 1989 in memory of several people.

The church had several name changes over the years as a result of shifting relationship. These names include: German Evangelical Church, First Evangelical Church, Evangelical United Brethren and now, Old Stone United Methodist Church.


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