Church History: 1950 to 1964
Compiled by Donna Jacobs

      Pleasant Grove Church continued active during these years but sometime in the early 1950's, Rev. Lookingbill's health failed and he could no longer carry on his duties as minister at the church. Though the congregation wanted to continue, they could not function without a minister. In 1960, Rev. Hector Thompson, who was a retired Episcopal Pastor from Ames, was asked if he would be interested in preaching at Pleasant Grove. He helped the community people get the church open again. Rev. Thompson started an Easter tradition that we still observe today. Small potted, blooming plants are given to the children at the Easter Sunday Service as an example of new birth and new growth. Thanks to the help of Rev. Thompson in reopening the church in the 1960's the church has been able to continue to hold services and other church activities until the present time.

      Rev. Thompson continued to serve as minister for 5 l/2 years until his health failed. The church continued to have services with part-time ministers, until Rev. Clay Lumpkins agreed to fill our pulpit. Rev. Clay Lumpkins was pastor at the Congregational Church in Gilbert. Again we had a connection with Gilbert. Rev. Lumpkin continued to serve for a period of 4 years.

      This period of time in Pleasant Grove gave the ladies of the church a chance to gain some insight into what it was like to direct church services. As the time for services at the Gilbert church overlapped the time for services at Pleasant Grove, someone had to fill the time at the beginning until Rev. Lumpkins could get to the church from Gilbert. This task became the job of various ladies of the church. ( We could never seem to persuade the men of the church to take on this task.) All of the preliminaries of the service, including music, announcements and lessons or scripture, etc. were taken care of before Rev. Lumpkins arrived. He only had to walk in and preach the sermon for the day. This was a great learning experience for us who took part. During his time at Pleasant Grove we had our first confirmation class on Mar. 19, 1967. Three young men of the church were confirmed. They were Robert Rahto, James Roberts, and David Keltner.

      In 1967, an altar was built for the church by Oscar Trueblood of Ames. A new gas furnace was installed to replace the old coal furnace. The old furnace had given up and in the process had blackened the basement with soot. From the annual report for that year, I find it said, "that a flurry of fund raising began and the furnace became a fact. It was installed by the men of the church and was a great improvement over the old coal furnace."

      A work day was scheduled and the sooty basement became clean again and with a new coat of paint over the walls and ceiling, and also on some of the workers. On June 15th, 1968, it was decided that the outside of the church needed a new coat of paint. Volunteers were needed again. The word went out to all the members to bring sack lunches, paint brushes, scrapers, water, ladders, and elbow grease and to come early, and the job was done.

      Following Rev. Lumpkins, we had a student from Iowa State University. His name was Randy Pelham. He served the church for almost 4 years. Many part time ministers have also preached here. Oliver Knott and Terry Yocum served the church for several years each and returned later to fill the pulpit when needed. The church continued to be served by retired ministers, students and lay preachers. One of the biggest challenges for a small congregation is the problem of finding and supporting ministers.* A more extensive list of ministers and dates of service will be added later.

      In 1968, a Sunday School report showed that we had an average of 17 attending each Sunday. There were 20 to 30 people attending Sunday Worship Services. At this time the Sunday School Supt. was Mrs Glen Keltner. Sunday School Teachers were: Pre-school: Mrs. Carl Samson; Primary: Mrs. Glen Keltner; Intermediate: Mrs. Martin Jacobs, Jr.; Juniors: Mrs Ronald Rahto: Adult Leader: Mr. Clint Sheffield. The youngest student was Brian Jacobs, age 4, and the oldest person attending was Clint Sheffield, at age 89.

      Board of Trustees at this time were: President, Carl Samson; Vice President, Mrs. Rhoby Matters; Treasurer, Mrs. Stella Roberts; Secretary, Mrs. Donna Jacobs. Other board members were: Mrs. Hilda Petrus, Mrs. Dorothy Keltner, Mr. Louis Osborn.

      The Ladies Club of the church was organized in January, 1964.

      At this time the Ladies Club consisted of 13 members. Stella Roberts was President; Vivian Osborn was Vice President; Dorothy Keltner was Secretary; Harriet Durby was Treasurer, and Norma Keltner was Historian. The ladies of this club were busy raising funds for the church and many times came to the rescue of the church to help with paying bills. They held money raising projects, such as bake sales, selling cook books, tearing rag strips to make rugs and selling them. Vivian and Wayne Osborn sold us chickens one year, and we had them dressed and frozen and sold them to make money. Many good chicken dinners came from that project.

      The annual ice cream socials were always a big event of the church and community. The ice cream was always hand cranked and made the Saturday before the social at one of the members' homes. One of the grocery stores in the area would let us store the gallons of ice cream in their freezer until the following Saturday. The first few socials that we held, we made the ice cream the same afternoon that we served it and were still making ice cream when the people were arriving. Many people enjoyed watching this process. There were children and adults who had never seen ice cream made this way.

      In order to save on the cost of ice, we would all freeze half-gallon milk cartons of ice to use to chill the ice cream. Dorothy Keltner also froze rhubarb for pies in milk cartons. All were surprised when two cartons were broken open and inside was frozen rhubarb. Even the day of the ice cream social was a busy day. The people of the church arrived around noon to start carrying all the tables, chairs and benches up the stairs to be put on the east lawn. Pies and cakes and drinks had to be put out and then all hoped that it would not rain. We had very few times when it rained on us through all those years of socials.

      Eventually, our congregation got small enough that it was felt that there was not enough people to do all the work necessary to hold ice cream socials, so the socials were discontinued for a few years. Friends and people from the community kept asking when we were going to have ice cream socials again. So we have started the tradition again.

      These years at Pleasant Grove were very busy and all members and young people were very active. The Sunday School had a good turn out every Sunday. During the summer, some years, we had Bible School for the younger children. This was for a one week period, usually held in June. One of our volunteer teachers was Legatha Petersen from Story City. She was especially liked by the children and after the children got to know her they all called her Grandma Petersen.

      Our teens during that time formed a group called the Apostles. This group, also, took part in activities to raise funds for special church projects. Many of this group attended CFO camp. Their sponsor and leader was Dorothy Keltner, who also chaperoned them on their trips and when they attended the CFO camp.

      In September of 1964, the city of Ames, Iowa, celebrated their centennial.

      We were invited to enter a float in their parade. One of our members had a hayrack we could use. We decorated it, added a sign about the church history, put the old pump organ on the hayrack and added three church pews. Some ladies of the church dressed in pioneer clothing and rode in the pews while Wanda Rahto played the old pump organ and we sang old hymns as we rolled along.

      Two of our young men from the Sunday School sat on the back of the hayrack as pioneers. We really enjoyed the day and we received a trophy as runners-up in the organization category of the parade.

Additional historical documents:
Church History Main Page My Church, a poem by Stella Roberts
Volunteers, a poem by Stella Roberts A Tribute to Our Pioneer Folks, a poem by Dorothy Sowers Bielefeldt
Homecoming Association Church History: Founding Families
Youth Organizations Special Ceremonies
Church History: 1874 to 1933 Church History: 1939 to WWII
Church History: 1950 to 1964 Church History: 1973 to Today
Church History: Baptisms Church History: Early Membership Roll
Pastors and Official Members, 1892 to 1895 Record of Pastors