A History of The United Methodist Church of Little Falls
Edward T. Schneider
The Establishment and Early Growth of the Church
Methodist worship came to Little Falls in 1825, just sixty years after the first Methodist meeting in New York City. Legend suggests that the group first met under a large tree but soon held services in a small schoolhouse which was located on Main Street between Lincoln and Paterson Avenues. It is said that a portion of the school building was incorporated into the construction of the Parker Funeral Home. A circuit-riding minister served the Little Falls congregation as one of his four charges.
The Little Falls congregation grew in size and by 1840 was able to build a small one-room church. Erection of the building took place on the site where today's sanctuary stands. The land was a gift from the owners of the Beattie Mill, the town's major industry. In 1860, Little Falls became a pastoral charge and received it first full-time pastor.
Growth continued. In 1870 Sam Gilpin deeded three lots on Warren Street to the church and a parsonage was erected in 1871. This became known as the Warren Street Parsonage or Warren House and was used for over one hundred years. Increasing church membership mandated more space and in 1883 the sanctuary was enlarged and refurnished.
The turn of the century brought a major step forward. In 1900 and 1901 a new building was erected. Methodist churches at that time were usually built under plans furnished by the Bureau of Architecture of the national church. The style in vogue in 1900 was the so-called Akron plan. This Akron plan generally consisted of a square auditorium with a sloping floor and a center pulpit backed up by the choir and organ. The pews were curved and at the rear or side of the auditorium was a large folding door which, when opened, revealed an assembly space including classrooms. Dedication ceremonies were held during the week of July 21-28, 1901 and we refer to the structure now as the 1901 church. It was a wooden building designed in the traditional Methodist (Akron) style of that day. Basically a square structure, the plan included a tower or belfry at the northwest corner. Steps and a small porch took worshippers from Main Street to a small lobby within the tower and, in turn, to the rear of the sanctuary.
Above the lobby was the belfry and here was housed the large bell which called the congregation to worship. The peals of the bell could be heard clearly throughout the center of the township and was a welcome, traditional sound. Six stained glass windows, two large and four small, beautified the interior of the sanctuary. The altar area was traditional in style and included the raised dais and an altar rail. Organ pipes mounted above carved woodwork prov1ded the background for the pulp1ts. The organ and choir loft were located to the right of the altar. To the left a door provided entry to a small room which served as the pastor's office. Oaken pews fastened to a sloping floor provided seating for the congregation. There were four sections served by five aisles. The pews were slightly curved and installed so that the sight line focused on the altar. A feeling of warmth emanated from the quite plain, traditional decor of the sanctuary.
Continuing growth of the congregation mandated a larger building. In 1926 an addition was erected at the right side of the sanctuary—toward Warren street. The decor was strictly utilitarian in nature. It was, in fact, just a large room separated from the sanctuary by folding, sliding doors. There was a small kitchen used to prepare food for church dinners and a small room used to hang choir robes and to store music and other small items. Entrance from the outdoors was provided by a small porch or lobby leading from the driveway, and by a "back door" leading to the kitchen. The large room was first known as the Sunday School Room. Increasingly, however, the sliding doors were opened and worshippers attending church service were seated in folding chairs facing the sanctuary. The room gradually became known as the Chapel.
The traditional Methodist style of architecture had a real, basic flaw. The very heavy roof was supported only by the four cornerposts of the building's frame. In the 1950's it became evident, merely by visual inspection, that the cornerposts were starting to spread outward. Concern developed that in a strong windstorm or some other natural disturbance the posts might spread far enough to cause the roof to collapse into the sanctuary. With architectural advice and planning, metal tie rods equipped with turnbuckles were installed to connect the four corners, pull them a bit toward the normal position and keep them from spreading. Still today, however, there are parishioners who will tell of being at a service during periods of high winds outdoors and watching the tie rods bounce up and down. It was a bit unsettling and likely to move attention away from the point of the sermon. Surely this was a condition which helped to lead the members of the congregation to think about a new church complex.
There are some other little bits of the early history of the church worth telling. At one time, probably in the late 1800' s, there were carriage sheds at the rear of the church. Some members of the congregation came to church by horse and carriage. Prior to the start of construction in 1901, the old church building was moved to the rear of the church property, facing Warren Street. It was to be used for social and other functions. Unfortunately, on December 19, 1902 the old building was completely destroyed by fire. The carriage sheds were pulled down when the fire was first discovered. A church member used his team of horses and many chains to carry out this demolition. It was feared that the wooden sheds would carry the fire to the new church. Bucket brigades using, water from neighborhood wells protected the new church and only one of the nearby homes on Warren street was damaged by the fire.
The Education Building
The Reverend Alden T. Smith became pastor of the Little Falls Methodist Church early in 1948. He was immediately faced with problems of space for an ever growing congregation and Sunday School. Within a short time some adjustments and alterations were made to the 1901 church and chapel but these proved to be stopgap arrangements. Numbers continued to increase. Church membership grew from 225 in 1940 to almost 500 in 1954. Attendance at Church School expanded from 120 in 1940 to over 200 in 1954. There was no alternative but to build.
A Building Expansion Committee was appointed to study the existing and future needs of the church. An architect was engaged and plans were developed. In June of 1954 the members of the church voted to proceed with the project and to borrow funds for the purpose. A sum of $15,000 was on hand and a campaign to raise $50,000 was initiated.
Plans for the new Education Building called for a two-story brick structure adjoining the rear of the chapel, with an interior passageway between the new and the old. The first floor was to have classrooms for nursery, kindergarten and primary groups; also a church office and pastor's study, church parlor, and toilet rooms. The second floor provided an auditorium which would seat 250, a stage and two dressing rooms. These areas were to serve as classrooms for the Junior Department of the church school. A large modern kitchen was also planned on the upper floor adjacent to the auditorium. A vestibule provided access to both floors from the outside.
Early in May of 1955 the Reverend Dr. John R. McLaughlin came to Little Falls to conduct the worship service and to lay the cornerstone of the new building. Various significant documents and items related to the church and to the building expansion program were placed in the cornerstone. On January 29, 1956 Bishop Frederick B. Newell and District Superintendent Dr. Harold N. Smith came to Little Falls to participate in the service of consecration of the Education Building. An Open House was held later in the day. Church members and all residents of the area were invited to attend and to witness the new facility.
For more than forty years the building has served well its purpose of providing facilities for religious education, youth activities and family fellowship for the church congregation. It has been the scene for dramatic presentations, for countless group meetings, for church fairs, for rummage sales, and for the marvelous community dinners at the Methodist Church. The auditorium is happily referred to as Fellowship Hall. During the construction of the new sanctuary in 1968 and 1969 Sunday worship services were held in Fellowship Hall. Members of the congregation adjusted well to the arrangement. Many were pleased because before and after each service they could observe from the auditorium windows the work in progress on their new church home-to-be. Changes have been made. The building of the new sanctuary in 1968 made possible an interior corridor connecting the two buildings. The completion of the Administrative Wing in 1999 provided a second interior connection between the sanctuary and the Education Building. The installation of an elevator made the Education Building handicapped accessible. Also, placement of the church office and the pastor's office and study in the 1999 wing made additional space available for educational purposes. The Education Building remains a vital part of the church building complex.
Over the years, church officials representing the congregation proved to be quite adept at securing parcels of land to be used for church purposes. The original tract, the land upon which all of the church buildings have been erected, was obtained as a gift from the Beattie family. The Beatties were the owners of the Beattie Mill, a major industry located in Little Falls. The Beatties similarly gave tracts of land to other church groups in the town.
The land on which the first parsonage was built was also a gift. In 1870 Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Gilpin deeded to the church three lots located at the end of Warren Street. The parsonage was built in 1871.
Beattie land became church property on two other occasions—on a purchase basis, not as gifts. In 1946 a piece of property alongside the church was acquired. This ultimately provided space for the wide driveway and parking area. In 1957-58 the Beattie company sold the church a tract of land running from the parking area to Walnut Street. Part of this property became the site on which a new parsonage was built in 1980.
A private home known as the Simonson property was located on Main Street just east of the 1901 church. In 1962, prior to the building of the new sanctuary in 1968, the church purchased this property and demolished the house which stood there. The land was incorporated into the site for the new building project.
By 1975 the Warren House was in a serious state of disrepair. Rather than spend large sums of money to rehabilitate the building, the trustees elected to demolish the house. The basement was filled with earth and the property was landscaped. In 1986 an offer was made for the purchase of the land as a building site. An agreement was finalized in 1987 and the Warren House property—the Sam Gilpin gift—was sold for $93,000. The church trustees determined to invest the proceeds of the sale as an endowment fund and to use earned income to pay for repairs to church property.
One other bit of property—land and house—was owned by the church for a short time. A church family named Todd lived at 50 Walnut Street. In 1963 the Todds sold their home to the church for $28,000. The house served as the parsonage until 1980 when it was sold for $79,000. In 1981 these funds were used to build a new parsonage at 52 Walnut Street. This was on some of the land which had been purchased from the Beattie Company in 1958. The Reverend Richard C. Gilbert initiated the move for the new parsonage and he and his family were the first to enjoy this lovely modern dwelling.
The New Sanctuary
Concern about the bouncing tie rods and the potential hazard of the heavy roof became increasingly vocal in the late 1950's. The problem was recognized but an easy solution was not at hand. Members felt close to the 1901 sanctuary and at home within its walls. But they had also enjoyed the newness of the recently constructed Education Building. Size was a problem; church membership had grown to over 550. It seemed as though some action was necessary.
In 1959 the Reverend Hans Holborn urged the Board of Trustees to name a Long Range Planning Committee. This was done but no definitive recommendations were forthcoming. Two pastoral changes occurred: Reverend Holborn moved to California, his successor Dr. Everett Hallock resigned because of illness. The pastorate was assumed by the Reverend William McLean Twiddy in 1963 and his straight forward leadership brought action toward solving the problems of the 1901 sanctuary. Two other matters faced the trustees at this time. A home on Main Street adjacent to the church on the east side became available and was purchased. This added a plot of land 50 feet by 175 feet to the church property. The Warren House became almost unusable for the pastor's family and a new parsonage on Walnut Street was purchased.
It became clear that the only sensible solution to the sanctuary problems was the erection of a new worship center. There was a gradual trend among members toward acceptance of the inevitable. A positive move was made with the appointment of a Church Building Council in 1964. One of the group's early steps was the selection of Mrs. Ann Willis, an experienced church architect, to develop a master plan which would meet church needs of the present and future. Everyone realized that vital to the success of any building program would be its financing.
The initial master plan submitted by the architect suggested a three-phase building program. The first phase was to include the sanctuary which would seat 400, a choir loft to accommodate 40, a chapel also to seat 40, four classrooms which would later be converted to a choir room and a parlor. Phase two called for additional educational and administrative units; Phase three was to provide a large fellowship hall, a large kitchen and service facilities. The existing Education Building was included as part of the master plan.
There was no thought of attempting to implement the entire master plan. Such a move would have been beyond the financial ability of the congregation. Upon the recommendation of the Building Council, the membership voted to take steps toward the construction of Phase One of the plan. During October, November, and December of 1965 the initial financial campaign was conducted. The goal was to raise $135,000, approximately half of the estimated cost of Phase One. A professional fund raising company was engaged and provided the leadership for the endeavor.
The campaign was successful and the Council ordered the architect to proceed with working drawings. Facilities to be included were the sanctuary with the pulpit area and the choir loft, an extensive Narthex, the chapel and a convenient corridor leading to the Education Building. Work on the plans, making decisions on many details continued during 1966 and into 1967. In June of the latter year Reverend Twiddy was transferred to a new pastorate and the Reverend Dr. Frank D. Dennis came to Little Falls. He continued the drive for the new worship center and in the late Spring of 1968 the final moves were made. Bids for construction were submitted, a contractor was selected, and on July 7, 1968 the groundbreaking ceremony was held.
The stages of the construction program went forward rapidly. The 1901 building was torn down. Some items such as pews and stained glass window panels were placed on sale. Many church members and some dealers purchased these mementos. The Good Shepherd window was salvaged and placed in storage. The large, heavy bell was lowered from the belfry and stored for future placement. In this action it was discovered that some of the wood framing of the belfry had weakened and it was fortunate that the bell had not fallen into the lobby beneath the belfry.
The building of the new church captured the attention of township residents and many other interested people in the North Jersey area. The design developed by the architect was unique. Shaped in the form of a diamond, the width of the worship area measured almost twice its length. The exterior walls at the front soared at an angle to a height of about fifty-five feet. Six narrow stained glass windows were placed in these walls. All of the exterior and interior walls were of gray Bermuda stone filled with reinforced concrete. There were to be no plastered walls in the building.
A fascinating feature of the sanctuary is the group of arches which support the roof. These massive beams are of laminated wood. They were manufactured in California by the Kopper Company. Those who watched the construction of the church said that each half beam looked like a gigantic hockey stick. Getting the beams to the building site was a project in itself. They were shipped from California by rail on flat bed cars. The train proceeded cross country via a southern route because the extended portion pointing upward would have been too high to traverse the tunnels on the northern rail route. The destination was the railroad yards in the Jersey Meadows. From this point the arches were brought to Little Falls by truck. Traffic on some roads and particularly on Main street in Little Falls was halted as the caravan proceeded. At times utility company workers found it necessary to raise electric and telephone lines. Massive cranes were used to put the beams in place at the building site. Many people watched the procedure.
Two basic building materials form the building--Bermuda stone for the walls, wood for the interior roof structure and the choir loft. The framing of the roof, mounted on the laminated arches, serves on the outer surface for the exterior metal roof and on the interior as the ceiling of the sanctuary. By using two sizes of lumber, 2 by 4 inch and 3 by 7 inch, mounted alternately, a ribbed effect was created. The wood was stained and varnished and is virtually maintenance free. The materials help to create an atmosphere of quiet dignity within the worship area. This is also true in the chapel.
Another innovation within the church was the use of movable pews. The concept was that of providing flexibility in arrangement and in seating capacity. By good fortune, carpeting was provided as a gift from one of the country's largest floor covering manufacturers. It was a discontinued product stored in a North Carolina warehouse. A member of the church arranged its transport to Little Falls by his national trucking concern.
As the building plans reached the final stages, it became apparent that there would not be sufficient funds to build the walls and roof for the chapel. The basement of this part of the building was required because it was to house a major part of the mechanical equipment for the project. The thought was to put a roof over the basement and to complete the chapel at a later date. By chance, coincidence, or Divine Providence; two long-time church members, Jesse and Julia Plass passed away within a short time of each other. Being childless, they had bequeathed their entire estate to the church. The funds thus made available were sufficient to complete the construction of the chapel as originally planned. The chapel was named in their honor—Plass Chapel. The chapel was designed in the same style as the sanctuary. A relatively small room, it was planned to meet a variety of needs within the church program. It has served for small weddings, funeral services, for church school, small group meetings and similar activities. Some of the chancel furniture from the 1901 church has been used to furnish the chapel. Gifts from church members over the years have helped to make it a valuable part of the church complex.
One of the most striking features of the sanctuary is the display of stained glass. Six ribbon windows, each twelve inches wide, extend from the floor of the pulpit area to the ceiling. The windows vary in height because of the slope of the roof but average about forty feet. The two in the center are about fifty feet high.
The windows are made of pieces of faceted glass set in epoxy cement. All of the stained glass work was designed and produced by Mr. Gabriel Loire of Chartres, France and imported from that country. The sanctuary windows are designed in a mirror motif; each piece of glass in a window to the right of the altar area is matched as to color and position by a piece of glass in the corresponding window to the left of the altar.
The windows were installed, piece by piece, by a craftsman from Salem, Wisconsin who was brought to Little Falls to carry out the project. He used a crane known as a "cherry picker" for most of the work because the upper reaches of the windows were fifty feet above the ground.
Two other stained glass windows were installed in the new church building. They are located in the Plass Chapel. Each chapel window is three feet wide and fifteen feet high. These, too, were designed and produced by the French artist. The chapel windows, however, do not have the mirror feature.
At the time of planning the new sanctuary, alternate proposals were advanced for the feature windows. Plain, colored glass was suggested as a less expensive installation. A small but determined group of church members lobbied vigorously for the French glass and fortunately were successful in their endeavor and brought the beauty we enjoy to the sanctuary.
The centerpiece of the altar area is the large, plain wooden cross mounted high above the pulpit, between two of the stained glass windows. The cross was manufactured for this sanctuary. It was constructed from a piece of California redwood taken from a tree estimated to be at least 3,000 years old, a tree that lived in the forest before the birth of Christ.
The organ chosen for the sanctuary was a three manual Rodgers electronic organ. The sound is carried by an audio system rather than by the traditional windblown pipes. There are three clusters of speakers, mounted above the sanctuary doors and over the choir loft. Wiring extensions and floor jacks make it possible to position the console at various places on the sanctuary floor and on the chancel platform for special programs. Modern electronic science makes it possible to produce all standard organ sounds. The instrument can bring forth the desirable music for worship services and for concert performances.
The building contractor for the large church project was conscientious and work proceeded at a good pace. By the middle of November in 1968 the outside wall for the corridor leading to the Education Building was completed. A friend of the church donated the cornerstone and following the church service on November 27 the ceremony placing the stone in its position in the wall was held. The District Superintendent, Reverend Julius L. Brasher, and Pastor Frank Dennis officiated. The architect and contractor also were present. A stainless steel sealed box was placed behind the stone. Messages from the Pastor and church laymen as well as documents concerning the program and operation of the church were placed in the box making it, in effect, a time capsule for others to peruse in some future year and century.
Construction was delayed at times during the winter months but proceeded in earnest during 1969. At last the carpet was laid, the chancel furniture was installed, the pews were put in place and the Consecration Service was planned. On November 2, 1969 this major event in the lives of the members of the congregation was celebrated. Attending and participating were Bishop Prince A. Taylor, Jr., and the district superintendents of the Northern New Jersey Conference of the United Methodist Church: the Reverend Julius L. Brasher, the Reverend Lawrence H. Richards, the Reverend George Watt, Jr., and the Reverend Dr. John A. McElroy. It was a joyous occasion. During the afternoon the church hosted an Open House for members of the Little Falls community and friends. Just about all who attended were awed by the size, beauty and splendor of the new sanctuary and its furnishings.
On Sunday, November 9, a Homecoming Service was held. Former pastors Reverend Alden T. Smith and Reverend William McLean Twiddy were among those who participated. On Sunday, December 7, a Dedicatory Organ Recital was played by Mr. Paul L. Berlin, a distinguished organist within the Metropolitan region.
The dream was realized. A Christian body, the members of the United Methodist Church of Little Falls, had met its greatest challenge and gone forward successfully to reach its goal. Pledges and payments to three financial campaigns brought the church to a foremost position in the area in which it is located. Extensive press coverage hailed the achievement. The Little Falls congregation was admired and praised for the success of its endeavor. What did it cost? For general construction including architectural fees the amount was approximately $330,000. In addition there were the amounts needed to purchase the stained glass, chancel furniture, the organ, pews, the cross, and similar items. These totaled about $53,000. In all, the investment was roughly $400,000. As we prepare to move our world, our lives, into a new century what would be the value of this monument to God's universe which was so courageously brought forth by a dedicated group in Little Falls in the late 1960's?
The Administrative Wing
Early in the final decade of the twentieth century a church advisory group was formed by Pastor Eugene W. Hamilton, Jr. to identify building and programs needs. Among the desirous and necessary items recommended by the study there appeared these: more convenient and efficient office space for the pastor and the church secretary, a parlor or lounge suitable for small group meetings and as a chamber for the bride prior to a weeding, a food preparation area adjacent to the Narthex, handicapped accessible toilet facilities on the Narthex/Sanctuary floor level, an elevator or lift to make the Education Building handicapped accessible.
The congregation voted to support a fund-raising campaign and an architect was engaged. The proposal which evolved was the erection of a building wing which could provide all of the desired facilities. The plan was similar to a phase of the master plan developed when the new sanctuary was designed in 1968. It would provide an additional connection between the Sanctuary/Narthex and the Education Building and a convenient and attractive entrance to the building from the parking area.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held in the summer of 1997 and a building contractor was engaged. Construction was carried out during 1998 and 1999. Winter weather at times interfered with progress. The exterior of the single story structure was designed in a style which matched that of the sanctuary and the Education Building; gray masonry and red brick. Comfort and spaciousness are found in the pastor's office and study. The church office is adjacent and designed for efficiency in a pleasing setting.
The Lounge or parlor is a sizeable room located immediately next to the Narthex. At one end of the room, behind folding doors, the compact food preparation area is located. It provides a stove, sink, refrigerator, multiple electrical outlets for portable appliances and storage drawers and cabinets. It is most convenient for serving light refreshments and for similar purposes. The furnishings, an attractive collection of carpeting, upholstered furniture and wooden occasional tables, makes the lounge a comfortable, pleasant room. Air conditioning makes it even more desirable during spells of hot weather.
From the beginning it was planned that this wing would be the site for the placement if the Good Shepherd window. One of the features in the sanctuary of the 1901 church had been this beautiful stained glass window mounted in the left wall — facing Main Street. The window was provided as a memorial by members of the Sindle Family — prominent in Little Falls in the early 1900's. When the church was demolished in 1968 the central portion of the window was salvaged and stored away. The original installation included two side panels but these were sold as antiques.
Members of the church were fond of the window. Over the years they sought ways to have the window again placed in a suitable, prominent place so that its beauty could be enjoyed. The lounge in the new Administrative Wing provided a most desirable location and plans were made to proceed with the project. When the window was brought out of storage it was badly in need of repair. Mrs. Lois Miller willingly agreed to provide the funds for its restoration. The beauty of the window now dominates the Lounge, symbolically overlooking the Memorial Garden. It has been dedicated as a memorial to Lois' husband, DeGroff T. Miller, a prominent lay leader with the church.
Joining the Administrative Wing with the Educational Building required a revision of an interior stairwell and the construction of a new building entrance. The architectural planning accomplished both goals and also provided a sizeable lobby i the area. It is at this position that the elevator or lift is located. The elevator serves three levels; the two floors of the Education Building and the lobby level of the Administrative Wing. Members of the congregation have found this new part of the church building complex to be a most desirable addition, the answer to hopes and needs they had carried for many years. Surely new uses and new pleasures will will be forthcoming in the years to come.
The Memorial Garden
After 1969, the location of the exterior walls of the Sanctuary, the Chapel and the Education Building, adjacent to each other, formed an open court. At first this was maintained as a grass lawn area. In 1973 a group of church members planned and planted this space as a garden. The centerpiece was to be the bell from the 1902 church. A concrete platform just above ground level was laid and the bell was mounted and bolted in place. Wooden benches were installed and stone gravel paths radiated from the bell to the benched. Some flowering trees and flowering evergreens were purchased and planted. Other perennial plants were contributed by the church members from their home gardens. It all became an attractive feature of the church property.
The passage of almost twenty-five years took its toll. Maintenance became a problem. Members who had worked in the garden were no longer able to do all that was needed. In the beginning there had been some thought of making provision for interment of remains in the garden but there was no action in this direction. The area became known, however, as the Memorial Garden.
Construction of the Administrative Wing also seriously damaged the 1973 garden. It became necessary to remove flowering trees. Some excavating was invoked in parts of the area. The gardens became overgrown and the site was in disarray. The Administrative Wing project brought another significant change. The open court became an enclosed court.
The Reverend Dr. David Pierson had become the pastor of the Little Falls Methodist Church in June of 1998. It became his lot to oversee the completion of the new wing. Concern about the condition of the garden was high on his agenda and he sought the assistance of several members of the church group who had expressed dismay over the appearance of the courtyard. It was agreed that action should be taken.
A committee was established with members assigned to the various facets of the project. he ultimate goal was to be the installation of a new Memorial Garden. A landscaping contractor was invited to submit a proposal for a suitable design and a cost estimate. The committee accepted that which was presented and prepared and a financial appeal to the congregation. Response was favorable and the contractor was authorized to proceed.
In the late Spring of 1999 the courtyard became the Memorial Garden. Provision was made for the possible interment of remains of church members. The 1901 bell was restored to its place on the concrete platform. It had been removed during the construction project. A paved walk was installed leading from the entrance to the court, past the bell, to the interment area. Many flowering evergreens were planted, basically along the perimeters of the court. In place of lawn grass, burgundy colored stone covered the remaining open spaces. As a symbol of the true meaning of the garden and its environs, a beautiful wooden cross, designed and constructed by a master craftsman member of the congregation, was mounted on the exterior wall of the chapel overlooking the interment place.
The effect has been a vista of refinement and beauty. The garden has been referred to as the Crown Jewel of the church building complex. It can be viewed from all sides of the quadrangle formed by the sanctuary Narthex, the chapel area, the Education Building, and the Administrative Wing. The project has generally brought pleasure and satisfaction to the members of the church. it is hoped that it will continue to do so in the years to come.
The Successful completion of the Administrative Wing and the Memorial Garden is especially gratifying to the congregation and its leaders. The Church is debt free in spite of these sizeable additions. Fund raising endeavors were well supported by the members. The ultimate success, however, was due to a large contribution from the estates of Milton and Ruth Lee, church members for many years. The bequest assured the reaching of the desired goals. As a tribute to Mr. and Mrs. Lee, the Lounge area has been named, The Lee Lounge.
And so the Methodist mission still goes forward in Little Falls. Somehow a spirit which was engendered in a small schoolhouse one hundred seventy-five years ago has drawn countless numbers to worship and to know the joys and rewards of Christian fellowship. A succession of strong leaders, pastoral and lay, has met and solved problems, encouraged active participation by the church members, and kept the church moving forward — abreast with changing times.