‘100 Years of Serving Jesus’ at Church of Christ
“This is where I developed my spiritual life,” said long- time member Evelyn (Tyrrell) Adams, who turns 98 in October. “Coming to this church has given me a closer knowledge of God.”
Adams, who still makes it to services every Sunday, is planning to attend the church’s Centennial birthday celebration the weekend of July 27 and 28. “I wouldn’t miss it,” she said recently at her home in Staples.
A number of events are planned for the upcoming festivities; and both members and non-members are invited to attend.
“The theme of the weekend is ‘100 Years of Serving Jesus,’” said Pastor Barry Klein, the church’s leader since 1999.
He went on to say that the celebration actually begins with Vacation Bible School, scheduled for July 22 - 26. The theme of VBS is, ‘Joy in Serving Jesus.’
Yes, there’s a lot to celebrate, said Sandy Paskewitz, a member at Staples Church of Christ and chairperson for the upcoming event. “We are very blessed here. This is a gathering place of friends and family,” Sandy said, adding that she ( along with her husband, Bruce) has attended the Staples church for the past 30 years.
In addition to the church’s current members, Paskewitz said a number of former parishioners (and at least two former pastors) are expected to attend the Centennial celebration.
The event is free and open to the public, the pastor said, adding that people are encouraged to RSVP to the church. “It would be helpful...that way we know how much food to prepare, etc.” However, Pastor Klein continued, if someone hasn’t had the opportunity to RSVP, they are still welcome to attend the festivities.
Saturday, July 27
o The Centennial weekend kicks off Saturday morning with a golf tournament at The Vintage in Staples. o From 1 - 4 p.m., a ‘Kids Carnival’ will be held at the church. This all-family event features games, popcorn and cotton candy ( parents are asked to accompany their children). o An evening service will be held at 7 p. m. Former pastor Vern Harris (now serving at a church in Albert Lea) will be the speaker. Music will be led by the church’s worship band. o A pie and ice cream social will take place after the service.
Sunday, July 28
o Stop by the church at 9:30 a.m. for a time of fellowship. o Former pastor Mike Johnston will speak at the morning service, which begins at 10:30 a.m. Johnston is now serving at a church in Tracy. o Following the ser- vice, a noon dinner will be served in the fellowship hall. There is no charge for the meal, but, as stated earlier, people are encouraged to RSVP. o At 1 p.m., a ‘homespun’ concert will be held in the church sanctuary. “A number of past and present members will offer music...this will close out the weekend,” Pastor Klein said.
According to church history information compiled years ago by Lulu Clemans (past church member), the Church of Christ was the sixth church established in Staples.
“The church grew out of a series of evangelistic meetings held by William J. Carry and Hugh Cooper. Mr. Carry became the first minister. The church was organized in September of 1913,” Clemans wrote.
The church began as a Sunday school, meeting in the home of John Bryant. In 1915, they purchased a church building from the Minnesota Baptist State Convention. Erected in 1893, the building was priced at $800.
This first church building was located on Wisconsin Ave. in Staples. Prior to its purchase, the building was rented by both the Church of Christ and a Lutheran congregation. For many years, the Seventh Day Adventists also held Saturday services there.
The building was extensively remodeled in 1938; and as church attendance continued to increase over the years, in 1972, Pastor Lloyd Hanley (nephew of William Carry) encouraged the congregation to build a new church building.
In 1976, land for the church’s present site was purchased. Located just south of Staples off Hwy 210 at 490th Street, groundbreaking for the new building was held on June 19, 1977. Robert Peacock was pastor at that time. In her historical compilation, Clemans noted that the Wisconsin Ave. building was sold in 1978.
“Since this new church was built, it’s been added on to twice,” noted Pastor Klein.
The Staples Church of Christ also has deep roots with its sister churches in Batavia and Philbrook. When those churches closed, many of the members transferred to the Church of Christ in Staples. “In fact two of our members, Rudy and Lynnette (Goeden) Fellman, were the last to be married at the Philbrook church in 1983,” Pastor Klein shared.
Both Evelyn Adams and her sister-in-law Hazel (Adams) Bailey grew up attending the Church of Christ in Batavia. “I started going there in 1915,” Evelyn noted. “In my diary, I have written that the electric wiring was put into the Batavia church in 1941,” she went on.
Years later, Evelyn and Hazel (who turns 99 in August), are now the oldest members at the Staples Church of Christ; and both have deep roots in the church. “My son, Dale Adams, did all of the (electric) wiring at the new church,” Evelyn said, adding that her late husband, Elmer, also worked on it.
Both ladies are former school teachers and both taught Sunday School at the Staples Church of Christ. Hazel said that until recently, she had been a regular attender at the Staples church. “I love the old hymns,” Hazel went on. “My favorites are ‘When the Roll is Called Up Yonder’ and ‘I’ll Fly Away.’” They are songs she would like sung at her funeral, Hazel added.
No doubt a number of these old hymns, as well as contemporary worship songs, will be sung during the upcoming Centennial celebration.
“ We’ve been blessed with wonderful musicians here,” Pastor Klein noted, mentioning Lois Schroeder, who was a long-time pianist at the church. The pastor went on to note the faithfulness of the church’s elders over the years as well. These have included Lloyd Hanley, Vern Harris, Doran Johnson, Mike Johnston, Richard Louden, Robert Paskewitz, Charles Schroeder, Norm Schroeder, Dick Stolhanske, Dale Adams, Ken Howells, Bruce Paskewitz, Gary Thorman and Rick Kubitza.
As he reflected on his own 14 years of ministry at the Staples Church of Christ, Klein said, “It’s been wonderful. This is a very loving, skilled church family...ministry is deeply shared.”
Before coming to Staples, Pastor Klein and his wife, Cindy, had ministered at a church in Truman. “We raised our three kids here in Staples,” the pastor noted, mentioning Renee, Erick and Samuel, now all adults. Renee is married to Justin Domogalla, the Associate Pastor at Staples Church of Christ. “We now have three granddaughters here, which is wonderful,” Pastor Klein said.
“We’ve gone through a lot of heartaches and joys together, both on a local and national level,” the pastor said of his church family.
Pastor Klein hopes many people will stop by the church at some point during the weekend of July 27 and 28, to share memories and to celebrate “100 Years of Serving Jesus.”
Staples Church of Christ is located at 27343 490th St. in Staples. For more information about the Centennial Celebration, or to RSVP, call 218- 894-2609.