BCC’s 30th Anniversary (1979)

Last Saturday, Bible Community Church held a Sunday School picnic on the front lawn. We were privileged to hear from one of the founding members, Mrs. Marjorie Hurst. She shared with us some memories from the 30th Anniversary of the church in 1979. The transcript below was written by her late husband and former church elder, Thomas Hurst.
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On the night of April 10th, 1949, while the young people of North Mentor Community Church were at a Roller Skating Party at Mentor Park, another meeting had been called at the church building. It had not been called by the people of North Mentor Community Church. It seems that a hundred years ago, more or less, a group of Christians who followed the Methodist line of theology, built the little building on the corner of Corduroy and Lakeshore Blvd. The Methodists of later generations had not occupied the little church for years. The little group of believers, comprising North Mentor Community Church had been challenged by the Methodist Superintendent, to attend this meeting, relative to the future of the meeting place.

The gist of the meeting seemed to be that the Methodists had the right to that building and they wanted to act on that right. The District Superintendent “invited” all of those people who had been using the building and who were not willing to bend to the Methodist rule, to bow out.

Another strange innuendo was heard at this meeting, from the pastor of the Mentor Plains Methodist Church. He read a letter from one of the Methodist missionaries. In it there seemed to be a comparison with the group to which we belonged, and the statement that he was glad that it was no longer necessary to worship snakes and other such forms of worship, when the Methodist “missionaries” took over any place.

Some pertinent comments followed that meeting. Mr. John R. Todd, a member of the Board of Trustees of North Mentor Community Church, commented at a meeting held at the Megley home shortly after that:

“We must leave the building with clean hands. Leave the money, hymn books, new carpeting, new heating system, and all the building refurbishing we had completed. Even if we left the hymnals, he figured that they would be the first things to go.”

He was right. (A week or so after they occupied the building, they phoned to offer us our hymn books.) They weren’t interested in hymn books which included the precious blood of Christ. The Methodist Episcopal Church seemed more interested in Socialism and Communism and not the gospel.

The little group of believers was in need of a place to worship. Folks began praying and looking around for such a place to rent. We found that we could rent the Mentor Park Pavilion for four Sundays, until the park opened for the season. We met in the social room, heated only by a fireplace. The older folks and mothers with little babies tried to get as close to the fireplace as they could, to keep warm. A favorite song of comfort during those days was “Fear Not Little Flock.”

We knew that we would have to find another worship place and so Ruth Hayward volunteered to contact the people at the Mentor Legion Hall, to see if we could rent their building. A little child, three years old at the time, was one of those praying for a meeting place. Little Carol Hurst (Mrs. Paul Beverly is her married name) lisped out a child’s prayer of faith and the words were hardly spoken when the phone rang. It was the answer to prayer. We had received permission to use the Legion Hall.

It wasn’t all roses, however, because the Sunday School Superintendent and all the early arrivals had to sweep the floor of the portable auditorium (now used by the Mentor Police station). The Mentor Legion used it every Saturday for a card party. We had to sweep cigarette butts and beer bottles from the floor before services could begin. Nevertheless, the Lord began to bless the ministry.

It is interesting to note here, that the Mentor School Board would not rent the North Mentor School building to us. There was the implied feeling that anybody who would disagree with the Methodist Episcopal hierarchy didn’t have good discernment.

Our first building was built on Hopkins Road. The land had been purchased at a sherif’s sale, for $300.00. The building was made of cement blocks by volunteers. (It is the building we have known as Minor Hall, for a number of years. The school kindergarten occupied it for about ten years.) The volunteer men aimed to have the building ready by Christmas time of 1949, and they were successful.

There were ten classes meeting in that building for Sunday School. Imagine, ten teachers all teaching at once. There were no dividers back in the beginning. And still the Lord blessed. Folks were saved and edified.

Funny thing about that first building—all the plumbing, etc., was right in that little building. It seemed that the pump (used to draw water from the deep well) punctuated every massage and often started up right as the pastor gave the invitation.

Pastor Ashbrook tells of one Sunday morning message in which he found it hard to concentrate on his message. The reason was the appetite of a tiny girl, Nancy (Hurst) Gallion, who sat on the floor at her parents’ feet, eating a wasp. It appears that the wasp was beyond the state of stinging capacity, but nevertheless, it nearly discombobulated the young pastor.

2 thoughts on “BCC’s 30th Anniversary (1979)

  1. Doug

    I remember that day 27 years ago. We had a “play” in the spring that was written by Virginia Ashbrook about the start of BCC for the 30th anniversary. I don’t really remember my part. I was either “Mr. Todd”, or “Mr. Megley”. You may want to see if the church office has a copy of the play somewhere in the archives.

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