Hull Methodist Church

From Banner County and Its People, Vol. 1, c.1982, pgs. 70-72

In the late 1880’s the Hull Community was thickly settled with a family living on nearly every quarter. A Sunday School called “Pleasant Hill” was organized with services in the homes. Sunday School records in 1889 showed an average attendance of forty and collections varied from six to fifty cents.

The community soon felt the need for a church building. The Rev. Mr. Tripp was he first regular pastor. Under his pastorate, the decision was made to construct a church building. On February 7, 1889 one acre of land was purchased from Leonard Sparks for $10.00 and was deeded to the Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The men went to the hills, felled and trimmed trees and hauled them to a nearby saw mill to be made into rough boards and lumber suitable for the church building.

On May 30, 1889, an open air Memorial Day Service was held at the building site. People came many miles for the service. They sat on piles of lumber, and extra seats were made by placing boards on nail kegs. Following the service many stayed for a picnic dinner. This service was twenty-four years after the Civil War and many veterans were in attendance. Memorial Day Services have been held each year since.

The first building was completed and dedicated in Sept of 1890. The total cost of the building was $1,000.00. There were twenty-six members of the church and forty in the Sunday School.

The first wedding held in the church was for Mr. J. O. Ammerman and Miss Grace Jones.

In the early years, a Woman’s Society was organized at the home of Mrs. Nettie Rice. The Rev. Mr. James asked permission to name the society the “Ameliorating Society.” Later the name was changed to Ladies Aid.

Music has been an inspiration for services throughout the years. There has always been a number of persons with musical ability in the community. In the early days, a Pioneer Quartet was formed and sang together for over 50 years. Members of the quartet were John and George Craton, Mrs. Myrtle Hopkins and Mrs. Cecil Dunn. Accompanist for the quartet was Mrs. C. H. Speith. At one time there was a church orchestra with Eldridge Scriven as director.

The church building had progressed to the place where finished lumber was needed. The Rev. Mr. Robinson, held a short business session and took pledges of money or labor. A man working alone was credited $1.00 for each day’s labor. A credit of $10.00 was given for hauling a load of building materials from Kimball, forty-five miles. This required two days and necessitated taking their “grub” with them. On February 8, 1890 an application for aid was made to the Board of Home Mission and Church Extension of the Methodist Church. Trustees were Geo. W. Kessler, J. H. Anderson, Andrew Bolin, W. W. Bookwalter and Leonard Sparks. The estimated cost was $10.00 for the lot and $1,000.00 for the building. $350.00 had been paid and the building was nearly enclosed and could be finished by July 1890 if funds were allowed. The Board mad a loan of $200.00 and a donation of $150.00.

The first Children’s Day was held in June of 1890. It was very dry and wild flowers were scarce for decorations. The Sparks took a light wagon and team and drove many miles to find flowers. Mrs. Sparks walked much of the way, and several buckets of flowers were found. The spirit of kindness and helpfulness was manifest in the pioneers, and the church was finished and dedicated in September of 1890.

During the years, efforts were made to keep the church building in good repair. Space for parking cars replaced the old “hitching posts.” Two additions were made to the original building, one in 1908 and another in 1916. In 1945 the church was stuccoed and in 1948 the old gas lights were replaced by electric lights.

In 1951, the steward began setting aside money, through the Lord’s Acre Plan, for a parsonage. Later the money was transferred to a building fund for a new church building.

Special Services were held on the 60th Anniversary, and on the 65th Anniversary of the church a “Homecoming Celebration and Membership Recognition Day” was observed.

As plans continued for a new building it was decided a new location would be advantageous. On July 2, 1956, a deed for the location was received from Ralph Noyes. The ground breaking was held September 2, 1956; the cornerstone was laid December 30, 1956, and on February 23, 1958, the Farewell Service was held in the old church and the congregation led by the pastor, marched to the new building singing “We’re Marching to Zion.”

Water had always been a problem but in 1958 a successful well was drilled and a water system was installed in the building.

The old church was sold and dismantled in January 1959. On August 9, 1959, the new building was dedicated.

In October 1959, the Hull United Methodist Church was chosen “Church of the Year” for the Nebraska Conference. Fourteen members attended the Recognition Services in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Special Services were held for the 70th and 75th Anniversaries of the church. Many of our furnishings have been given as memorials and as individual gifts. Each year brings new projects which are accomplished through group cooperation. The latest addition has been a new foyer and a remodeling project in the kitchen.

The Sunday School continues to be an active and viable part of the Hull United Methodist church. Average attendance is 30, and classes are offered for every age group. In addition to the classes held on Sunday morning, Vacation Church School is conducted each year, as is a Halloween/UNICEF Party. Christmas programs are conducted, and at various times special mission projects are taken on by the Sunday School classes. As children grow into adulthood, it is our goal to provide a well-rounded program of Christian Education.

It is our hope that we may meet the challenges of the future with the same type of faith and courage our forefathers had in founding the church. May the present “Church on the Hill” continue to be a beacon for the future generations and may the Hull United Methodist Church be spiritual inspiration for the betterment of the lives of the people living in our community and surrounding areas.