Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Norwalk United Methodist Church

    Norwalk United Methodist Church, 1801 Sunset Dr., Norwalk, IA. 50211, phone (515) 981-4251, http://www.norwalkunitedmethodistchurchiowa.com/


    Norwalk Methodist Church, from the History of Warren County, Iowa, by Gerard SCHULTZ and Don L. BERRY, The Record and Tribune Company, Indianola, Iowa, 1953, pages 119-151

    The Methodist Episcopal church was organized in Norwalk in 1856 with the following members: Benoni BLACK, Mary BLACK, Peter BLACK, Thomas M. WILSON, Eliza WILSON, Jane ONSTOTT, Jesse HUFF, Mary HUFF, George BLOSSER, Dorcas BLOSSER, John KERN and Mirian KERN.

    Out of these class meetings the membership grew to where they built their first church in 1868 under the pastorate of D. B. CLARY at the cost of $3,600, and dedicated in 1869 by the Rev. A. C. WILLIAMS. The present church building was erected in 1896 at a cost of $7,000 during the pastorate of the Rev. A. A. THOMPSON. During 1938 the church was remodeled under the leadership of the Rev. B. W. McELDOWNEY. With an expanding church and parish, the circuit was faced with finding suitable living accommodations for the pastor and his family. In October, 1949, a new parsonage was built on grounds adjoining the church. The present active membership is 196 members. The annual budget exceeds $4,000.

    Norwalk United Methodist Church history was written by Maxine WOOD and copied from History of Warren County, Iowa, compiled by the Warren County Genealogical Society, Curtis Media Corp., Dallas, Texas, 1987

    In 1846 the early settlers were busy preparing to build a community which has become Norwalk; in northern Warren County. In 1853 church services were held in a log house, the home of Henry and Jane ONSTOT. By 1856 the church congregation had grown to the point of having a traveling minister come to preach. Eighteen years later they built their first church at a cost of $3,000.00. By 1896 they had outgrown this church building and built another in downtown Norwalk at a cost of $7,000.00. Membership at that time was 196. This three acres of land was sold to the City of Norwalk and is presently [1987] a City Park. George WRIGHT preached the first sermon in the first church and his son, John WRIGHT, preached the first sermon in the second church.

    After 74 years in that building, our congregation is now over 400, and we have built another church on five acres within a few blocks of where the first church was located. All three churches have had parsonages on the same property as the church building, the last parsonage was completed in 1985.

    The present church was built in 1970 at a cost of $197,000.00 and was paid for in 1982. Sections of the original stained glass from the sanctuary windows of the last church were remade and placed in the new building. The nave of the church seats 240 people. The multipurpose area could seat 250 more.

    The first church bell and clock were still in the second church and moved to the third church. Later both were stolen. The present bell and tower, chancel furniture, pews and more were gifts. The newest addition of memorial gifts are two octaves of bells. We have three Bell Choirs and three active singing choirs. Our church school and United Methodist Women are all a vital part of our heritage. This heritage is our link with tomorrow and we are very thankful for it and all 40 some ministers who have served us the past 132 years. Our present Bishop is Reuben JOB. Our current pastor is Rev. Dwayne MADSEN. We pray we all continue to love as we would be loved.