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Our Own Parsonage
In 1959, when Wesley separated from Emory Circuit and became a Station Church, a parsonage was needed for its pastor and family. On Sunday, February 8, a Building Committee was appointed consisting of: Raymond P. Buchman, chairman, A. Paul Garrett, J. Francis Harris, Robert E. Leister, Wallace W. Lippy, Alvin P. Rill, Emory E. Rill, and John W. Rill.
In March the Building Committee asked the Woman's Society of Christian Service to appoint a committee to purchase the furnishings. This committee consisted of Mrs. Anna Mae Richards, chairman, Mrs. Helen Baker, Mrs. Beulah Stocksdale, Mrs. Betty Horner, Mrs. Lillian Hoffman, Mrs. Ellie Rill, Mrs. Betty Parker, and Mrs. Leola Leister.
There was much discussion about what type of house should be provided and about its arrangement and furnishings. Mr. Raymond J. Rill was awarded the contract. Ground adjacent to the church property on the east side of Carrollton Road was obtained from Mr. and Mrs. Norville E. Davidson.
This Deed dated May 28, 1959 from Norville E. Davidson and Edith L. his wife to the Trustees of Wesley Chapel Methodist Church for the Parsonage land. This parcel contains 1.13 acre on the Southeast side of Carrollton Road.
This deed is in our possession and on file at Carroll County Land Deeds Liber 305 folio 281.
The three bedroom parsonage, which at that time housed the church office in the basement, was completed by June 16, 1959. The first minister to live there, Rev. James C. Haskin and his family, moved in on June 18, 1959.
The cost of the entire project was $20,000 including furniture and office equipment. Shrubbery was donated by Paul R. Simms. The donation of labor and services by many at no charge or at reduced prices made this project possible at reasonable cost. The entire debt was paid off by the end of 1959. We are in possession of the ashes from the note burning at the dedication service held on February 21, 1960.
Through the years, many new pieces of furniture and major appliances have been bought. A small patio was built, and the breezeway was enclosed with jalousies. New drapes, carpeting, linoleum, a bathtub and shower stall have been added. The usual painting, major and minor repairs, and maintenance have been carried out.
The earliest record of a parsonage was when Brown's Meeting House was a part of the Cordorus Mission (1839 -1844). The parsonage was rented and was located in Hoffmanville. In 1877 the Hampstead Circuit parsonage was rented in Manchester. From the Quarterly Minutes Book of Hampstead Circuit 1872 1886 we have the following entries:
August 1878 - "A lot to build a parsonage on has been purchased for $25.00."
November 1878 - "Building raised and nearly all weatherboarded, but out of money, so will stop."
May 31, 1879 - "Parsonage is completed at cost of $1,265.65. Of that amount $262.45 has been paid, leaving a balance of $1,003.20. The house is now occupied by the Preacher in Charge, D. Benton Winstead, but vet needs some fixing to the surroundings."
November 1880 - "Authorized a well sunk on the Parsonage Ground and a pump be purchased."
In 1910, when Wesley was a part of the Emory Circuit, a new parsonage was built at "Fowblesburg Station" for the minister and his family.
The churches provided these parsonages, completely furnished. In 1978 the Annual Conference adopted a policy stating that as of January 1, 1979, there would be a system of unfurnished church and district parsonages. "An unfurnished parsonage would be defined as containing major appliances (refrigerator with separate freezing compartment, range, washer, dryer, and a dishwasher recommended). Floor and window coverings for the living area should be provided. Wall-to-wall carpeting and draperies and sheer curtains should be neutral in color." The recommendation that the parsonage furnishings listed on Wesley's inventory be transferred to Rev. Rebecca Abts for a nominal fee was adopted at the charge conference.