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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Wanda church to turn 176

  • WANDA — Classified as the oldest Methodist church west of Springfield, the Wanda United Methodist Church, located on Highway O between Stark City and Stella, will be celebrating a homecoming event on Sunday.
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  • WANDA — Classified as the oldest Methodist church west of Springfield, the Wanda United Methodist Church, located on Highway O between Stark City and Stella, will be celebrating a homecoming event on Sunday.
    They will be celebrating their 176th anniversary, with a service at 10 a.m. and a dinner immediately following.
    Wanda United Methodist Church member Mary Patton explained what the homecoming is all about.
    "It is just an opportunity for past members and community and past pastors to come back and visit the church," she said, "to see what changes we have made. And in this year, we have had a new roof put on the church. We also remodeled the front wall of the sanctuary."
    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 in en route from Tennessee, but whose widow and six children settled near Stella).
    This year, Bob Dart will be the speaker during the service.
    "Bob is a previous pastor of the church from several years ago. He is now an associate pastor at Christ Community Methodist Church in Joplin," Patton said.
    For many years, it has been a custom to hold a homecoming, with regular Sunday morning Sunday school and worship service followed by a basket dinner.
    Those attending are asked to bring a covered dish for the lunch, which will be held in the Wanda School, located south of the church. Drinks, paper plates and tableware will be provided.
    "The attendance to this event has been very good, we will have 40-50 people, where we normally will run about 20 for the regular service," she said.
    The public is invited to attend.
    Aside from a new roof, the church has seen a few renovations over the years. A few years ago, indoor bathrooms and air conditioning, along with a handicapped accessible ramp, were installed.
    "As far as remodeling goes, we are looking at carpeting and windows," Patton said. "And we are going to start a radio ministry, right away, where we will sponsor a radio program (on KNEO) as part of our ministry."
    Asked why she thinks the church has lasted this long, Patton gave a couple of reasons.
    "Of course the history, it is the 'Oldest Methodist Church west of Springfield,' but just to keep God's word alive," she said.
    For more information, please call 451-4693.

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