WANDA — The Wanda Methodist Church, located on Route O between Stark City and Stella and the oldest standing Methodist Church west of Springfield, recently has had some work done to it: new shingles.
“We have started to do some work on the church, it has been years since things have been done,” said Ed Schultz, a member of the church. “The roof has finally got to a point where we needed to do something about it. We all got together and talked about it, went out, got us some quotes and Phillip Camerer (of Neosho) was awarded the job and from what I can see, is doing an excellent job.”
Schultz was out Friday morning looking at the work that Camerer’s crew was doing since Thursday.
“We took three layers of asphalt shingles off of it (pointing to the main part of the building) and we are down on these front sections to the wood shingles – the original shingles,” he said. “And I guess that we can say those shingles, the wooden ones, have not seen daylight in 175 years. They have already peeled the back section both sides, re-decked it and getting ready to start shingling now. They plan on having us go back to church by [this] morning.”
Schultz said there were no leaks in the roof.
“Every time the wind blew hard out of the south, we were losing shingles, they got brittle and were peeling up,” he said. “Yeah, several times we had to have people come down and replace shingles here and there. It just got to the point where we needed to fix it right. It is costly, a little old church like this we are not a big congregation, we got about 35 members out here, but you do what you have to do and we will be glad to get this done and get it secured.”
Schultz noted the church did have some work on the roof years ago.
“We had done some work on it, somebody had,” he added. “It had to have been, those shingles are probably 20-25 year shingles.”
The church is still in use, with Sunday school at 9:30 a.m. and Sunday church services from 10-11 a.m. Also, the third Sunday in August every year, Wanda hosts a homecoming celebration, where they invited former members, the present members and the community to come in and have a service, along with a covered dish luncheon.
Originally known as the Harmony Methodist Episcopal Church (South), the church was established in 1837 at Wanda. Some of the families that settled the area were the Ellis family consisting of three brothers (Farmer, Howell and William); and the Weems family, who had two brothers: Jones (who settled the land where the church is located) and Rev. John (who died en route from Tennessee, but whose widow and six children settled near Stella).
Page 2 of 2 - Wanda was a small town consisting of a small country store and a few houses.
A few years ago, indoor bathrooms and air conditioning, along with a handicap accessible ramp, were installed at the church.
“We are trying to keep a little old church going and it will go another 175 years, I am sure,” Schultz said.