LITTLE FALLS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
A Welcoming Community of Faith, Hope, Mission & Outreach
Sharing Christ's Love
Services were first held in Little Falls by itinerant preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church during the year 1825 in a schoolhouse which stood on the site of the present First Reformed Church. Soon after Little Falls was joined with Cedar Grove, Parsippany, Pine Brook, and Fairfield as a regular appointment on the Methodist circuit. The worshipers, few in number, continued to hold services in the schoolhouse until 1839 when a church building was erected on property given by the Beattie Mills and located where the present Church stands. Rev. Robertson was Pastor. Incorporation papers were filed in 1843 and again in 1844, the later trustees being Alexander Crane, Jacob DeMouth, Isaac Storr, Richard Maiden, and William Miller, Jr.
This group of circuit churches remained connected until 1860 when Little Falls became a pastoral charge and had as its first pastor, the Rev. John E. Switzer, who served until 1862. Pastor followed pastor at about two year intervals, Mr. Switzer being followed by The Rev. S.J. Morris; the Rev. T.H. Landon, married while pastor here; The Rev William H. McCormick, 1862-1868, when he was followed by the Rev. Gilbert H. Winans. In 1870, came the Rev. E. Payson Crane during whose tenure three lots were deeded to the church for the erection of the parsonage. This was not quite completed when the Rev. Isaac Thomas (1874-1875) arrived to find an unfinished building, “no piazza, no fence around the lot and no well.” A fence was built, a well dug when the Trustees gave a joint note for $600 and it was noted that “the Trustees owned half the well.” The Ladies Aid Society was organized July 3, 1872. The Rev. Ambrose Compton (1875-1877) took charge followed by the Rev. J.P. Dailey, (1877-1879) who managed to get the parsonage furnished but left “deficient in salary.” The Rev. Fletcher Loomis (1879-1881) promoted horse-sheds at the rear of the church which suggests something of the difference less than a century makes.
Upon the advent of the Rev. M.C. Reed (1881-1883) things began to look brighter. Improvements were made and back debts paid off. Extra services were held at Mountain View. The church, moved to a new site, was remodeled at a cost of $1,500. In 1883, Mountain View became a separate charge. The Rev. W. McCain (1883-1886), Robert M. Aylesworth (1886-1888), J.F. Dodd (1998-1891), George Miller (1891-until his death in 1896), Joseph Foster, suply preacher, Julius F. Maschman (1897-1898), and S.N. Bebout (1898-1900) served in turn. The 20th century brought a new building under the leadership of Rev. Clarence C. Woodruff, later a District Superintendent, who dedicated the building, our present Church during the week, July 21-28, 1901. The old building, to be used for social and other functions, was moved and turned to face Warren Street, but fire completely destroyed the building on December 19th, 1902. The new edifice was saved by a bucket brigade using water from neighborhood wells.
The first special service to be held in the new church building was a memorial service Septembe 16, 1901, for the dead President, William McKinley.
The Rev. William C. Kinsey (1903-1905) conducted revival meetings in a tent alongside the church complete with mourner’s bench and sawdust trail. The Rev. William Johnston (1905-1906) and the Rev. Albert Cain (1906-1907) followed.
A new organ was installed during the pastorate of the Rev. Frank L. Rhodes (1907-1911). It cost $2,500 and was wholly paid for at installation. The Rev. Frederick L. Rounds (1911-1918) received 43 persons into membership, and on another Sunday baptized 13 infants. The Rev. Warrel L. Hoagland (1918-January 9, 1919) died in the parsonage. He was followed by the Rev. Rufus K. Boyd (1919-1922).
In 1922, the Rev. F.J. McClement came to stay until 1926. A new roof, new heating system and other improvements were added to the Church, the parsonage being improved with a new roof, porch and window screens.
The longest pastorate in Little Falls was that of the Rev. Charles W. M. Lee who came in 1926 and remained until his retirement in 1942. he saw the enlargement of the Sunday School room, kitchen and choir loft. His greatest service to the community during the depression years was to be in charge of all relief work in the township, a task at which he worked unceasingly. he was president of the Library Board and was largely responsible for the Little Falls Nursing Service. He died soon after his retirement on may 29, 1942.
The Rev. D. Arthur Zook (1942-1946) encouraged the people to pay off a long-standing mortgage, and from the surplus had installed a new heating plant, a new roof, and a rebuilt organ. He is at present the president of Kansas Wesleyan University. During his pastorate, a group of members presented the Church with additional land substantially enlarging the property.
The Rev. D.O. Cowles served from 1946 until his death on October 10, 1947. He was followed by the Rev. Alden T. Smith who serviced until 1957. During his pastorate the Parish House was built. And it was recorded that even when it was building, it would be too small for the needs of the growing community.
The Rev. Hans Holborn followed serving from 1957-1960. At this time, the rear of the present property was acquired. When he left to go to California, Dr. Everett F. Hallock became pastor, service from 1960 until illness made it necessary for him to retire from the active ministry in 1963. The Simonson property, east of the Church on Main Street, was purchased. The Rev. William McLean Twiddy came in 1963 and served until 1967. A new parsonage was purchased at 50 Walnut Street, a Building Council and Committee organized a capital funds campaign for a new building which brought in pledges of over $60,000 was initiated and is now being paid off. The Rev. Frank D. Dennis was the pastor when the old sanctuary was demolished and the new one erected. It was completed in 1969.