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History of the
Annandale United Methodist Church
Presentation to the Annandale History Club
August 7, 2017
Jill Bishop
pdf version with photos     sources


Early History –The Building – Parsonages – Mergers – Women’s Group – Today – Pastors



The early history of the Annandale United Methodist Church is nearly synonymous with the early history of Annandale. Annandale was incorporated in 1888, and just one year later, in 1889, the church building went up in its current location at the corner of Oak Avenue and Park Street. We are fortunate to have John Buri’s detailed 1943 account of the church’s first 54 years. Buri (pronounced byoor-eye) was a young man in his 30s when he became Annandale’s first mayor and one of the first trustees of the newly formed Annandale Methodist Episcopal Church. Here is his description of how the townspeople of several protestant denominations came together to form the church:

The construction of [the school] building occupied the attention of the people that summer [of 1888] but when this was out of the way they began to talk about another building, a church building. Now the trouble was although we had members from nearly all protestant churches, there were not enough from any one church to go ahead to build a church. There were only two whole families of the Methodist Church and few others but in all less than ten members. There were nearly as many Baptists, a few Congregationalists, also a few Episcopals and some Lutherans. The writer [Buri] was the only Presbyterian. There were quite a number that were not affiliated with any church. They all expressed a willingness to help to build a church saying if this village will amount to anything it must have a church. They wanted to avoid and over churched village as some of the villages were at that time in the county. One church was the talk of the town and this church to be conducted on a broad and liberal enough basis to so that all could come and worship and feel at home and all help to support the church. This at once started the talk, Peoples Churches, Community Churches, and so on.

Once it was determined that Annandale needed a single protestant church rather than numerous smaller ones, there was one key person to convince the others it should be a Methodist Church, Rev. W.H. Wilson of Grace Methodist Church in Southside Township. Described by Buri as a “forcible and convincing speaker,” Wilson offered to both “raise every dollar to build it [and] …promised to help in the construction.” He said, “Have no doubts about me. I was a blacksmith before I started to preach and I can handle tools as well as the next one.” The church lot was purchased from James Pratt for $50, located just across the street south of his own home. The Pratt home belonged to the Picken family for many years, and in 2017 the Ferrell family razed it to build a new home.

John Buri was a very important figure in early history of both the church and the town. In addition to being Annandale’s first mayor, he served on the Village Council for 17 years, on the School Board for 9 years, was a founder of Annandale State Bank, purchased the Annandale Publishing Company (the future Annandale Advocate) with other businessmen, and ran Buri Hardware, Annandale’s first store, for over 50 years. In addition to being on the church’s first Board of Trustees, he taught Sunday School for 48 year and sang bass in the choir. The 1913 and 1935 Wright County histories called Buri “a forceful leader and public servant. No doubt his leadership helped Annandale become the thriving community it is today.” Recognizing Buri’s importance in those early years, his influence was likely to have been a factor in the decision to split the profits from Annandale’s first Fourth of July Parade evenly between the town and the church.


In 1903 the original 1889 building was moved back 12’ (or 16’ in a different account) and the red brick exterior, steeple and bell were added. While there were more additions to the church in later years, the distinctive appearance of the church was created at that time and became the community icon is today. Stone foundation from that 1902-1903 construction is still visible in a storage room.

In 1952 (during Rev.  Brudevold) the south wing was added. It housed two Sunday School rooms, an office, and a community room. Basement was dug under the original building for a kitchen, dining room and bathrooms. Later, in 1972, the space was converted to the Fireside Room

In 1968 (during Rev. Robert McClelland) the sanctuary was remodeled in the Colonial Style with white walls, red carpet, and a single aisle down the middle rather than aisles on the sides. The remodel was made possible by a $10,000 gift from Arthur Ransom, a $9,000 loan, and gifts from the Women’s Society of Christian Service and other members. Fifty years later the sanctuary still has that classic appearance.

In 1972 (during Rev. Robert McClelland) the south wing was remodeled to become the current Fireside Room and office.

In 1982 (during Rev. Rollie Robinson) a new west wing added the Fellowship Hall, kitchen, and bathrooms, with Sunday School rooms in the basement. The narthex was eliminated to add pews, bringing the seating capacity to 167. The addition cost $200,000 and was built without a mortgage. It is located in the former parking area, so now parking is only on the street.

NEW ORGANS: In 1950 a new Hammond Organ was purchased for $2,236 ($22,700 in 2017 dollars). In 1988 a new Roger organ with pipes was purchased for $30,000 ($62,000 in 2017 dollars).


In 1897 a parsonage was built facing Park Street. Prior to that time pastors stayed in parishioners’ homes.

In the early years the parsonage had a bathroom but the church did not. The son of pastor Rev. Blake remembered that “although the parsonage was modern, the church was not, and only those in good graces with the preacher’s wife were allowed to use the modern facilities. Others would have to use the combined outhouse-shed, in which no respectable worshipper would use, in spite of the fact it was hiding behind gorgeous sun flowers.” In 1949 the parsonage was remodeled but still had many cracks and no insulation.

In 1963 the old parsonage was demolished and that space became parking until the west wing addition in 1982. The new parsonage is located on Maple Avenue across the alley west of the church.


When several Methodist country churches closed in the early 1900s, many members of those churches moved to the Annandale church. In 1911 Grace Methodist Church in Southside Township closed, in 1912 the German Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Corinna Township closed, and in 1937 the Union Church in Southside  Township closed. There are still cemeteries by those church’s former locations. Several Annandale churches moved to town from earlier locations in the country, and they too still have cemeteries near their former location in the country. But since the Methodist Church was formed in its current location in the town’s infancy, many of the earliest members are buried in the city cemetery, Woodlawn Cemetery, that opened in the mid-1890s. Five Buri family members are buried there.

Denominational mergers didn’t have as significant an impact on the church’s membership, but there have been several name changes. The current name of our church is the Annandale United Methodist Church, but it has had other names along the way.

In 1889 the original name of the church was the Annandale Methodist Episcopal Church, also known as the M.E. Church, as seen on the stained glass above the front door. Fifty years later, in 1939, it was simplified to Methodist Church with the merger of several Methodist denominations. Then in 1968 the Annandale United Methodist Church was formed with the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren (E.U.B). The current Zion Methodist Church in South Haven was E.U.B., and after that 1968 merger for several years one pastor served three Methodist churches along Highway 55: Annandale, South Haven, and Kimball.


The women’s groups of the church have been a significant force since the very beginning. In the early years they carried much of the financial burden of the church. In 1889 records from the Ladies’ Aid Society (LAS) show their $10/month payments of the pastor’s salary. In 1903 they paid $75 for the stained glass window. Early 1900s records show their quarterly $20 payments on the church debt. They worked hard to raise funds, and many of their fund-raising activities were sewing. On April 26, 1898: “LAS met with Mrs. Thayer [of Thayer Hotel] to sew for her. We made 25 pillow cases, 9 sheets and 4 aprons. Receipts of the day was 35 cents.” On May 5, 1889: “LAS had a special meeting to sew for Mrs. Thayer. Made sheets and pillow cases. Received for the afternoon’s work 55 cents.” They also served dinners and published a cookbook in 1904 and again in the 1960s.

With the denominational mergers and name changes of the church came name changes of the women’s group. Originally the Ladies Aid Society (LAS), in 1940 they were the Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) until 1968 when they became the United Methodist Women (UMW).

John’s Buri’s 1943 account had much to say about the contribution of the women’s group. In addition paying the pastor’s salary and the church debt (until 1929), they paid for fire and wind insurance, a new furnace in the church, a furnace in the parsonage, and a bathroom in church in the 1920s when the village got sewer in and water. Buri said, “In my long career in church work, I cannot see or imagine how our church could have gotten along or accomplished what it did if it had not been for the Ladies Aid.”


The Annandale United Methodist Church began in 1889 when the early townspeople of many different protestant denominations came together to build the village’s first church. Today the church still exhibits an ecumenical ethos with numerous outreach programs in the community. The Share your Christmas program founded by two Methodist parishioners in 1982 continues today with participation of most other local churches. Methodists participate in Meals on Wheels and the Annandale Ministerial Association. Our Rev. Brudevold led the Ecumenical Good Friday Service back in 1950, and AUMC still participates in that annual tradition. Along with those early members from numerous protestant denominations, as John Buri told us, “There were quite a number that were not affiliated with any church.” Today our local funeral directors know to go to the Methodists when someone unaffiliated to any church needs to be buried. Our church door still opens wide.

The external appearance of the church has changed with two major additions, the south wing that now houses the Fireside Room and the office, and the West wing with the Fellowship Hall, kitchen, and bathrooms. But for over a century the same red brick Methodist Church and steeple on the corner has been an icon of the community.

Jill Bishop, 2017

METHODIST PASTORS – 1889 to 2017

Rev. W. H. Wilson


Andl & Grace

1989 1st building
Andl M. E. Church

Rev. Noah Lathrop


Andl & Grace


Rev. Frank E. Higgins


Andl & Grace


Rev. G. W. Kenniston


Andl & Grace

1903 red brick & steeple

Rev. G. E. Picard


Andl & Grace


Rev. W. H. Barkaloo


Andl & Grace


Rev. Rhoderick Murray


Andl & Grace


Rev. A. L. Fisher


Andl & Grace


Rev. Harry Nobbs


Andl & Grace


Rev. A. L. Spencer


Andl & Grace


Rev. F. W. Hill


Andl & Grace


Rev. J. M. Burns


Andl & Grace

Electricity in church

Rev. H. W. Knowles




Rev. E. Leadbeater




Rev. H. C. Kishpaugh




Rev. L. H. Allen



1929 mortgage pd off

Rev. J. E. Dowler




Rev. C. H. Blake




Rev. Everette Groves



Merger, to Methodist Ch

Rev. F. R. Jardine


First woman pastor

Florence Jardine

Rev. T. B. Clark




Rev. L. Paulson




Rev. K. O. Brudevold



1952 south wing added

Rev. Ed Bissel




No Pastor




Rev. G. Arneberg




Rev. Kettlewell




Rev. J. Parish




Rev. Robert Howard




Rev. D. Kinzer




Rev. J. White




Rev. W. Abdella




Rev. Robert McClelland


Andl, So Haven & Kimball

1968 Sanctuary remodel
1968 merge with EUB to become UMC
1972 Fireside Room

Rev. Roy Lockhart




Rev. George Toschak


1-pt charge.


Rev. Dr. Rolland Robinson



1982 Fellowship Hall

Rev. Mark R. Johnson




Rev. Ken Felska


1-pt charge


Rev. Greg Garmin


1-pt charge


Rev. Merilee Benson


1-pt charge


Rev. Ruth Hograbe


Andl and South Haven


Rev. Mary Keen


1-pt charge