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A Centennial Address by Rev. Merritt Godshalk

posted Aug 5, 2011, 7:02 PM by Steve F   [ updated Aug 5, 2011, 7:57 PM ]
This 'speech' is the preface to a church history published in 1961 for the 100th anniversary of Leola Memorial Methodist Church.  Fifty years later, the anniversary committee is working on an update, bringing our history up to date.   

The booklet began with A Centennial Address by Rev. Merritt Godshalk.  

Fivescore years ago our fathers brought forth in this community a new Methodist Church conceived in love and dedicated to the creed that all men need Jesus Christ and may be save by His grace.

Now we are engaged in a great struggle, testing whether that church or any church so conceived and so dedicated can fulfill its purpose.

We worship in a beautiful sanctuary of that church.  We learn in a most adequate building.  We honor those who gave sacrificially and lived courageously that these blessings might be ours a members of the Leola Memorial Methodist Church.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot honor, - we cannot revere  -  we cannot glorify  -  these saints of God.  The great soldiers of the Cross who served here bring honor, reverence and glory far above our power to add or detract.  This community will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget that they did here.

It is for us, the present members, rather, to be dedicated to the unfinished work which they who labored here have thus far so noble advanced.  It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored saints we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave a full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these saints shall not have labored in vain; that this church, in Christ, shall have a new birth of Spirit; and that the fellowship of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the community.

Merritt Godshalk

Rev. Merritt Godshalk served LUMC from 1958 - 1963.  He was a veteran of World War II and a magna cum laude graduate of Lafayette College and Temple University.  Rev. Godshalk retired from the Eastern Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1978 and died at the age of 86 in 2000 .