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News of the Newport UM Church




By Kathy Perrine

The Marietta Times

            Newport—It’s been several years since the dream of a new addition began at Newport United Methodist Church.

            It’s been one year since the congregation approved plans for the new addition.  It’s been seven months since the rear wall of the church collapsed during the digging of the basement for the new addition.

            It’s taken a lot of work and dedication by a lot of people to get to the near completion of the sanctuary and the new fellowship and education hall.  The target date is Sunday, October 20, 1991 for worship services to return to the church and, possibly, to hold Sunday school classes in the new addition.

            Kurt Landerholm, minister at the church, said members are volunteering their time to help finish the building.

            “Just about every evening through the week and Saturdays for the last month there have been volunteers there painting.”

            One is Roger Dye, a chairperson on the building committee.  He said it’s wonderful to see the building nearing completion, and he is proud to know his grandchildren can grow up and say, “My grandpa did this.”

            “We’ve become friends, really; I didn’t really know the guys I went to church with until I worked with them.”

            Landerholm said all of the chapel furniture and other wooden fixtures that were damaged or destroyed in the collapse are being repaired, rebuilt or replaced by church member and building committee chairperson Walter Lauer and his son Gale.

            “It makes me feel good to begin to see what we were working for,” Walter Lauer said, “to see things shaping up after all the hardship and heartaches.”  Lauer has been overseeing the project since its beginning.

            Landerholm said: “The contractor has done a great job with the church.  It’s going to be very beautiful.”

            “Fifty years from now somebody is going to look at this and say, ‘You know how that scratch got there?  That happened when the church collapsed.’”

            The congregation held services in the Newport School gymnasium following the collapse until it began using the Newport Baptist Church in June.

            Landerholm said that was a very good experience and the hospitality was appreciated, but because the Baptist church has revival starting this Sunday, Newport United Methodist will use the school again until the sanctuary is ready. Both churches will resume their regular church hours starting this Sunday with Sunday school at 10: a.m. and worship services at 11: a.m. 

            Landerholm said that in an effort to display appreciation to the Baptist congregation, members have invited them to a dinner in the new fellowship hall on Sunday, November 24.  It will be held prior to the traditional community Thanksgiving service. 

            It was recently discovered, while Newport Baptist’s records were being retyped, that in 1902 the Baptist church was undergoing roof repairs and could not use its building for some services so the Methodist Church offered its building.  Landerholm said he hadn’t been aware of the coincidence but said he wasn’t surprised because the two churches had such a good working relationship.

            Landerholm said that the first Sunday in Newport United Methodist’s long-awaited church and fellowship hall will be a very emotional and exciting time.  “We are looking forward to it.”

            Long-time church member Libby Lauer said, “I think we are all going to be so overwhelmed and so glad when we get in there that you just can’t describe what it’s going to be like.”




By Kathy Perrine

The Marietta Times

October 18, 1991

            NEWPORT—At 3 p.m. Saturday, the carillon chimes at Newport Methodist Church will again strike the hour—for the first time in 226 days.

            At 2:50 p.m. March 7, the rear wall of the church collapsed.  Power was cut off, and the chimes ceased to play.

            Kurt Landerholm, minister at the church, said the carillon system was installed at the church about six years ago in honor of long-time members Gale and Hilda Heeter.

            The chimes were programmed to strike every hour between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. with the playing of short gospel selections and hymns at 6 p.m. 

            “Initially we indicated that 6 p.m. should be a time of prayer to remember each other and the community, our country and the nation,” Landerholm said.

            “We’ve received so many positive comments.  It’s been something the community has enjoyed.”

            He said people use it as a signal for times.  Some tell their children to be home by so many bells.  Some use it as a mealtime reminder.

            “Since the chimes went-off, we’ve heard many comments about how people have missed it,” he said.  “I’m sure it will again be appreciated.”

            Worship services will return to the church on Sunday. Landerholm said it is structurally completed, with 95 percent of the interior decoration finished.  He hopes that everything will be finalized by Christmas.

            “Bit by bit and piece by piece, we’re going back together.  It’s been exciting to see the sanctuary come back.”

            Walter Lauer and his son, Gale, built a new wood arch for the front wall of the church. 

            Landerholm said his Sunday morning sermon will be from the Old Testament book of Ezra on the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.

            “Many of the hurdles and struggles and victories that the people of Juda[h] encountered in the rebuilding of the temple parallel what we’ve gone through.”

            “I recognize that it will be an emotionally charged worship service, lots of excitement and anticipation.  It was almost like a death when the church collapsed.  Now it will be like the Resurrection.”

            A commitment and dedication service is planned after the regular morning service.