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History of Methodism in Leola, PA

posted Sep 1, 2011, 1:19 PM by Steve F

From 1838 on, “brethren”, as they were referred to, from Bird-in-Hand came to this area and held prayer meetings.  Among those converted during a meeting at the home of John Weidler Bender were Mr. Bender himself and his wife Annie W. Bender, who became the founders of the very first church which was built in 1861.

From mid 1800’s until 1860 there is very little of historical significance recorded on the development of Methodism in Leola. But in the summer of 1860 a Sunday School under Methodist auspices was started in what was then the Bareville School House. It was started as the beginning of a society by a group of local people, and before starting it they canvassed “the pike” for children.

There had been Sunday Schools, called “unions” held here before. However, Dr. H.V.Givler writes that “when the Methodists took charge, a number of people stood aloof for fear of contagion as there was an impression that the Methodists practiced hocus-pocus to entrap people into their belief….A report went out that when a man and his family ‘jined’ the Methodists then the preachers, like the Egyptian locusts, came and ate up all their substance.”

Such were the stories as Methodism began to take root in Leola, Pennsylvania.