Recently, I received an email from cousin Laurel Decker. She wrote: " Last year Helen McPeek (Phyllis’s daughter) had gone through things of her mother's. There was a booklet of the Center Lisle Church….. Long story short, I borrowed, scanned and put it in a PDF.
We can all thank Helen for sharing with the family. And, we can all thank Laurel for sending it on to us here at the blog! To look through the booklet, go to the right hand side of the blog. Under the heading of 'Miscellaneous Items' you will see a link which will take you to the booklet. Enjoy!
And, Mom has written a short piece on the church:
CENTER LISLE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
Growing up in the 1930's we’d usually spend a week each year during the summer at Grandma Kate Baker’s farm. Our beloved Uncle Adin worked the place. We thought we “helped him” when we were there, but looking back, now I’m an adult, I doubt it! However, very occasionally, Adin would go to town and come back with a slight buzz on, singing a song about “Yorkshire.” I had no idea where that was, I only knew Center Lisle. However, the church I’m going to write about was established in Yorkshire in 1830! Center Lisle Congregational Church. (The hamlet’s name was changed.)
Nineteen charter members met, first in one another’s homes, and took on this awesome responsibility. The membership is sprinkled with names I’d heard in conversations among my mother (Ethel), her sister (Lil) and their mother (Kate Baker). Glezen, Livermore, Caldwell, Ensign and many others.
The church family grew through the years, often with “fits and starts,” running into personality problems as ALL churches do. However, they followed church guidelines. Initially, discipline was handled by church members but eventually it was handed over to the Deacons, while the Trustees cared for the church building and paid the minister’s salary (when they could!) Eventually a “Ladies Aid” came about and filled many empty spaces, growing into a “Guild” which still exists today. The minister usually served 2 or 3 churches but this small church grew to be important to the Center Lisle area, it helped provide problem solutions to churches world wide in its Mission outreach.
The land for the church was deeded to the trustees in 1830 for $275. In 1832 a small frame building was raised on the lot, but by 1855 was too small for the congregation. It was sold, moved next door and became first a house, then a garage and finally Howland’s General Store. (This is the place we all loved, Aunt Lil’s store!) Thus, in 1855, the present church was built for $3300. Much material was donated by members from their virgin forests. Labor was supplied by church men via a “Bee” for major construction.
In 1926, the need for a dining room upstairs was remedied and a window opening made in the back wall over a new, higher pulpit. A lovely stained glass window was given.
By 1940, a furnace was installed, stoves could not do the heating job. Then in 1948, Orrin Dickinson made some beautiful pulpit railings and choir loft rails from parts of an old piano and other used material. In 1953, a new ceiling and interior walls we refurbished along with stained glass windows gifted by members and installed by Mr. Dickinson and Rev. Terwilliger. In 1958 a well was drilled for the church and plumbing added to the edifice! 1960 brought mahogany pews to the church and in 1966, a BIG upheaval came about. The church was raised and a full basement put in, allowing a new kitchen, dining area, bathroom and a new entrance with more exits in the church proper.
As a circle always completes itself—the old original church building gone through so many stages was returned to the church by Lil Howland. Aunt Lil sold them the building for one dollar ($1.00). It was razed and now is the church parking lot, a fitting gift.
Rev. Floyd Terwilliger served the church for 46 years. He and his wife are buried in the Center Lisle Cemetery. He gave “full measure” to this church and community which he loved. He is the only one I knew, as Grandma was buried from this church in August 1955. She was shown in the back of the church, but when Wendell Henderson was buried in 2006, the altered church allowed him to be shown in the front before the pulpit.
This is the story of a church which not only served its community but reached out world wide to help others in need. Those who began this could not have forseen its work, the strength it gave this community but they built it. Others have carried it on though the years and with the help of the Lord, will continue to carry this work into the future.