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A Brief History of the Clear Lake United Methodist Church

The very first religious services in Clear Lake were held in the homes of early settlers, and consisted of prayer, singing and exhortation. In the summer of 1857, Elder Elias Pattee, a superannuated Methodist minister, preached the first sermon ever listened to in Clear Lake. The church service was held in the home of Joseph Hewett on the bank of the lake, and a Sunday School class was organized at that same time. Rev. Elias Pattee died September 20, 1860 and his remains lie burried in the Clear Lake cemetery.

On December 1, 1857, it was deided to organize a church. From 1857-1871 services were held in the homes of the 15 members and in the old square schoolhouse which was used by the Congregationalists and SEenth Day Adventists as well. During these early years before a church building was built, services were held irregularly, as the pastors covered a large circuit and the resident pastor conducted “preaching services” and receied financial support from them. The Rev. W.P. Holbrook was the first regular pastor, serving the circuit from 1860, the time of Elder Pattee’s death until 1869.

The first official notice from the State Organization occurred in 1870 when Rev. James Williams was appointed to the pastorate by the Des Moines Conference, and became the first resident pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church in Clear Lake. Rev. James Tod was Presiding Elder of the Fort Dodge District, and held the first meeting that fall, with J.O. Davis acting as Secretary. James Price, Marcus Tuttle, Levi Lloyd and James Tasker were elected Trustees.

The first church bulding used by the Methodists was built in 1871 by Truman Woodford, at the corner of Main and East Streets. Then in 1883, a new church building was constructed and that building was remodeled in 1895 due to the increase in size of the church’s membership. Another remodeling project occurred in 1912. On January 23, 1955, the church members voted to approve a new building project with the church built on the south half of the block between North 5th and North 6th Streets and 2nd and 3rd Avenue North. Groundbreaking for this new building occurred on July 24, 1955. The openin service and service of Consecreatio for this building took place on November 11, 1956.

On November 21, 1976, dedication services were held for a new Holtkamp pipe organ that continues to inspire persons in worship to this very day. On November 19, 1995, a new addition of an elevator with a new entry to the north was completed and consecrated to make this church building more accessible to all.