Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum - Methodists celebrate

Our little church had a big celebration last Sunday. The Ely United Methodist Church celebrated its 125th year with a full service and a special dinner.
“The Little Church With A Big Heart” is located in the oldest church building in Ely, started in 1892 and completed in 1895. The land was donated by the Oliver Mining Company.
In 1907, famed Ely mine captain Charles Trezona made a sizeable donation so the church could have actual pews. He played a key role in the church’s development. And, he lived just down the street.
Like other churches in Ely, during the Great Depression there was a good chance the doors would be closed forever. If it wasn’t for the women beginning to make pasties to help meet church expenses, that just might have happened.
Eighty years later pasties are still made by a team of volunteers (both men and women) and those funds help keep the doors open.
During the dinner program, former Pastor Ray Gass spoke of his time at the church from 1982 to 1984. Shortly after he arrived, Reserve Mining closed and over 75 percent of the church members were impacted.
Realizing times were tough, Ray made a difficult decision. Knowing he was being paid more due to his years of service, Ray decided to leave Ely and all he and his family had dreamed of. By hiring a minister straight out of school, the Ely United Methodist Church realized a savings of $15,000 per year and kept the doors open.
The celebration on Sunday included singing an adaptation of Elyite Margaret Vos’s “Pasty Song” and a video presentation of the last 25 years of church history.
District Superintendent Mark Miller praised current and former church members for finding a way to keep the doors open.
If you find yourself in Ely’s oldest church building, take a look around. There’s plenty of history including the Moller Pipe Organ installed in 1922. We sings hymns today with the same organ filling the building with wonderful music.
There will be changes in the next year at Ely United Methodist, specifically having to find a new pastor for the first time in 30 years.
Dana Thompson is retiring in June so the congregation will be looking for someone to lead them for the first time since 1987. That person will be the 38th pastor in the church’s 125 year history.
We’ve been fortunate to have a pastor like Dana who enjoys living in Ely. I’m pretty sure he’s one of the better walleye canoe fishermen around. The lakes will get a break when he heads south.
My thanks to Dana and all who made the 125th anniversary celebration such a success including committee members Bonnie Berglund, Blaine “Butch” Diesslin, Lucy Diesslin, Linda Hane, Margie Olson, Tricia Schreffler and Jay Tomlinson
May God bless each and every one of you.