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Corydon UMC celebrates its own 200th birthday

Corydon UMC celebrates its own 200th birthday Corydon UMC celebrates its own 200th birthday

It seems that as long as the old Capital has been here, so has the Corydon United Methodist Church, in one form or another. As many churches do, it first met in people’s homes and even in the ‘Old State House’ where an early pioneer, Mrs. Greene, reported she was converted in August of 1818.
All this is fun reading in a nicely compiled history by, among others, Edward Murr, who I will quote here as he had just finished a complete list of the preachers running back to the beginning. ‘I now have it correct and submit it and kindly request that many who read The Democrat cut this list out and paste it in the Family Bible where it will be preserved since no other such ‘crank’ as I happen to be may go to the trouble to dig such a record up for another hundred years, if ever.’ This Murr listing ended in 1926.
I sat with Elizabeth Cato in a very comfortable and homey setting that is just off the sanctuary in a nice cozy corner where you can enjoy the stained glass and calm quiet of a church with a long history. Cato became the quasi-historian in the early 1990s when 10 inches of water suddenly came up in the basement after a torrential rain overwhelmed town drainage.
‘I was trying to save these documents and just got started reading and enjoying them,’ Cato explained.
Cato moved here in 1954 when her husband, Ralph, took a teaching job at the junior high school. They moved in on a Saturday, and on Sunday morning she rousted her three children and husband up with a ‘Where do you think we will go to church?’ After the usual verbal protests, they arrived downtown for their first visit and got a tour of the church by Bliss Eskew. It was a mess of remodeling and confusion, but they have gone there ever since.
Now the church is celebrating, depending on how you interpret dates and events, its own 200th birthday which has encompassed lots of typical upheavals. The whole back wall fell in once on the old church. A stained-glass window donated by the Grand Army of the Republic, a group of Civil War Union veterans, in 1902 has an American Flag placed smack dab in the middle of the window. Controversy has come and gone. Covered by organ pipes for a long while, it is now in view and looks beautiful.
Cato said, ‘Even though the church itself changes, the reason for being never does.’
She finds that very comforting. And isn’t that what a place of worship is all about?
Leah Porter is at the Harrison County Public Library in Corydon the first and third Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.