The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Fayette Christian Church celebrates 125 years of worship

Written by David Green.

By JEFF PICKELL

In 1882, a group of professors at Fayette Normal College began holding prayer sessions in the school chapel. The exact reason for this is a story lost to history.

What is known, however, is that by late 1885 or early 1886 so many residents were attending these sessions that the chapel was getting a little too stuffy for comfort. Congregation members undertook to build a new church, and on May 4, 1886, the building that was to be called the Fayette Christian Church was completed and dedicated.fay_c_of_c_interior

On Friday, the church will turn 125 years old, and the congregation will celebrate Sunday with an informal mass in which many church members will share stories and memories.

And what memories they are. According to church secretary Grace Sly, the Christian Church just might be the oldest church in town, though she acknowledges that the Methodist Church is getting up there in years as well.

The current church building was dedicated on Dec. 13, 1908, after the original was destroyed in a raging fire that took many buildings with it, said long-time congregation member Mildred Uhler.

This is also around the time the church’s many stained-glass windows were installed, thanks to donations from prominent Fayette families, such as the Gambles, the Hubbards and the Letchers.

The most prominent image—that of a young boy clutching a stone cross—is a depiction of Christ as a youth, said Grace. She learned this when she saw the same image in a Baptist church in Crown Point, Ind.

“I thought it was a unique image, but they must have shared ideas,” she said.

Still, the Christian Church boasts a unique and progressive history.

Fayette resident Bill Steinem, whose grandparents were charter members of the church, recalled how pastor Ada Hawley served proudly during a period in which pastors were predominantly men. Over the course of her stay—from 1921 to 1946—the Ladies Aid group developed into a strong organization, with as many as 36 women attending meetings.

While men provided maintenance work, it was the women who took charge of social events and fund raisers, Grace said. They took their jobs seriously, added Mildred, even going so far as to catch their own fish for the fish fries.

The women also organized Dutch markets at which homemade towels, rag rugs, quilts, and other crafts were sold. Also up for purchase was souse—or head cheese—a gelatin dish made from the head flesh of pigs. It is a favored treat among the Pennsylvania Dutch.fay_cof_c_construction

“It was delicious,” said Mildred.

Mildred and her husband Wayne joined the church in 1954 after another congregation member invited them. At the time, the church was trying to increase its membership to 200, but that’s not why the Uhlers joined. Up to that point, Mildred had attended the United Brethren Church in Munson and Wayne was attending Methodist services.

They came to the Christian church in order to share a common membership. However, they were not baptized into the church until at least 1959. Rev. James Osuga, one of the most popular pastors to serve at the church, officiated the ceremony.

Rev. Osuga—a Japanese American Sacramento, Cal., native—was both interred by the government during World War II and later drafted into active military service. He served in Berlin from 1945 to 1947.

Grace remembered the pastor’s tenor singing voice and his compelling sermons.

“I was just wonderful. Wonderful,” she said.

Rev. Osuga served during some of the church’s best years, but there were also down times. In the mid-1990s, for example, service attendance began to flag and children all but disappeared from the church, said congregation member Tom Spiess.

During a two-year search for a new pastor, Don Glasgow and Ed Bomlie helped to keep the church alive with interesting, compelling and humorous sermons, said Tom. In 1999, Mary Jo Bray accepted the full-time pastor position and began efforts to have an addition with new restrooms, an elevator and new offices built. She also worked hard to revive study groups and Sunday school classes.

The new wing was completed in 2001. Rev. Bray left last year, but attendance remains strong under pastor Gene Sugg, with 60 to 70 residents attending services each week, said Grace.

Of course, that number changes from season to season, she added. As one of the “older” congregations in town, many members fly south for the winter.

    – May 2, 2007

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