About Site



The First Methodist Church in Richwood, Ohio (now the First United Methodist Church) occupies a 1902 building constructed on the "Akron plan."  The view below is derived from a video tape commemorating the building's centennial celebration.

Two tiers of small Sunday school rooms open onto the skylit rear portion of the sanctuary.  In the original design, this rear section could be walled off from the main sanctuary (when not needed to accomodate a large congregation) by sliding out huge pocket doors to close the wood-framed archway.

I think I remember seeing those doors closed once when the church was fifty years old.  By then the Baby Boom had arrived, and the Sunday school rooms were no longer adequate.  My classes met in various portions of the basement.  Plans were drawn up for an educational wing that would contain larger classrooms, modern restrooms, and an office for the pastor.

But how could it be financed?  As a member of the building committee, my father explained to the congregation in the spring of 1957 that no one would be reaching into their pockets.  Any giving would be voluntary, without assigned quotas, and the building would be constructed on a pay-as-you-go plan without going into debt.

Those of us on the building committee have been very cost-conscious in our considerations of the various proposals which have been presented.

The type of construction and the overall plan which has been discussed by these gentlemen is as economical as the combined requirements of state building code and sound building construction will allow.

No one — no one on this committee nor the architects — can definitely establish the exact cost.  The exact dollar will not be known until bids have been submitted, compared, and finally accepted.

However, we aren't totally without any idea of the cost, for in our conversations and contacts with various people this matter has been discussed very thoroughly, and we have come up with the figure of $13 per square foot.  This figure might be a little high or a little low.  But if we assume that it is correct, then the cost of the completed building would come to slightly over $78,000.  This estimated figure does not include furnishings but does include everything else.

We of the Building Committee are therefore recommending that we set our goal for this Building Fund at $80,000.

In thinking about the size of this project, we should give some thought to what happened 50 years ago when our present church was built.  The cost at today's money value would be equal to probably $150,000.  And at that time, the church membership was much less than it is today.  Surely, if they could do such a job as they did those many years ago, we can do an $80,000 expansion job.

Those of us on the building committee aren't just wanting to spend the church's money.  This program will cost each one of us individually just the same as it will cost any one individually.  It is our money — and it is your money — which will be needed to do the job before us.  We on the committee, fully realizing the cost, are for the building program and are solidly behind the proposal which will be presented for your approval on April 28th.

Did you ever see $80,000?  Well, few of us have.  And it seems like a lot of money.  And it is a lot of money.

But again, when we give consideration to what has been and is being done in other churches of comparable enrollment and comparable needs, then we have no reason to shudder.  Honestly, when we look at this structure that we now occupy and the very evident cost that was borne by the church membership a generation ago, this amount actually seems small.

Now, what do we propose as a means of paying for the new building?  First, we wish to make one thing clear.  We do not propose to put our church in debt.  We will not agree to put our church in debt, and see no reason why debt should be necessary to successfully conclude this program.

As far as the fund raising is concerned, our proposal is this — and it will be voted on April 28th:  That during the period of May 22nd to June 4th this year we conduct a Crusade for Funds with which to build.  This Crusade, if approved (or maybe I should say when approved), is to be conducted by the Department of Finance of Field Service of our Methodist Board of National Missions in Philadelphia.  This department is not a commercial fund-raising organization, but is a branch of the Methodist Church, brought into existence for the purpose of assisting in problems such as the one we face.  The only cost to us is the actual cost to the Department; they make no profit from us.  And we are indeed fortunate to have been able to secure their services for the dates of May 22 to June 4 as they have a heavy schedule and these are the only dates available for their services for more than a year.

The plan is briefly this:  During the two weeks of May 22nd to June 4th, cash gifts or pledges or both will be accepted.  Pledges will be made on the basis of 150 weeks, or nearly three years.  As we understand it, there can be no pledges made until the Crusade Director arrives on May 22nd.  No group nor no individuals will be assigned quotas — at any time.  No group nor no individuals will be assessed any amount whatsoever.  Giving and/or pledging will be strictly voluntary.  The Crusade will be completed in two weeks time.  Full details of the procedures will have to wait until the arrival of Dr. Virgil E. Turner, who is the Director who will direct the Crusade.

We assure that no attempt will be made to raise funds at the regular church services, even though the Director, Dr. Virgil E. Turner, will preach to us on the two Sundays during his stay here in Richwood.

Actual construction will depend upon how much money is on hand at any given time.  It is possible that construction could start this summer.  But remember, construction will not start until it is clear that no indebtedness will be incurred.


Construction did not actually start until nearly four years later.  On a damp Palm Sunday, March 19, 1961, ground was broken with a silver spade on the north side of the church behind the old parsonage (since removed).  My father is on the far left in this photo.

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