New Carlisle Wesleyan Church Celebrating 120th Anniversary


On Sunday, September 17, the New Carlisle Wesleyan Church will hold a 120th anniversary celebration. In October of 1897, through prayer and revival meetings, a group of individuals realized they needed to organize and build a church. Initially they were referred to as the Holiness Christian denomination, and later called the Church of Shiloh.

In 1898, plans were made to start building one mile south of town on Timothy Road. The land on which the church would be built was donated by Joseph Carr. This land was later purchased by Webster and Inez Carr. The church was built by volunteer labor and with logs from Joe Carr’s farm and was paid for in full by 1902. The first trustees were J. F. Carr, J. E. Wegner and J. D. Taylor.

In October of 1924, the church was moved to New Carlisle by using horses, dollies and large timbers. The lot on which it stood at 201 Ada Street, was donated by William Carr, who had purchased the property from Fred and Ella Zeck who lived across the street.

Then known as the Pilgrim Holiness Church, the church merged with the Wesleyan Methodist Church and became the Wesleyan Church in 1968.

From the time the church was established in 1897, until 1976, the average stay of a pastor was 3 to 4 years. In 1976, Rev. Dennis Willoughby became the pastor and served for 19 years. The church experienced a gradual increase in attendance under Rev. Willoughby until he resigned in 1995.

At that time, Rev. Donald Bayne, Jr. became the pastor and after 22 years continues to serve the New Carlisle Wesleyan Church.

In the spring of 1996, the NCWC board held a retreat to evaluate the church and look to the future. Out of that meeting came a renewed excitement and vision for the church. During the next few years the church experienced steady growth.

In 1998, the little church on Ada Street was at capacity. Sunday school classes were meeting in homes next to the church. The congregation transitioned to two services.

The church board began exploring the possibility of expanding the present facility or relocating. At their first meeting, the board decided to make it a matter of prayer and asked God for a sign of what they should do or where they should go.

When Pastor Bayne went home after that meeting he received a message that a family in the community wanted to speak with him. The family shared that they wanted to donate land to the church so it could relocate.

The donation of the land was presented to the board and they believed it was the sign they were praying for. Jeff and Sue Thompson donated the land for the current location on Early Road.

In the fall of 1999, the congregation began a campaign to raise funds to build a new church on the donated land. Construction on the building began in the spring of 2001 and doors opened for service in February, 2002.

In 2004, the church expanded its outreach to include Cornerstone Preschool, offering half day preschool and Pre-K classes and will be adding a full-day Pre-K class for the 2018-19 school year.

Other ministries of the church include:

The Community Reserve - the CRIB (Community Reserve Inventory Barn) is located on Jon Street, next to Manny’s Restaurant, and collects gently used furniture and household items which are distributed to families in need. Food 4 Kids - the church partners with the New Prairie United School Corporation, the Northern Indiana Food Bank and local donations, to provide backpacks filled with nutritious food to area children who may not otherwise have food to eat on the weekends.

Faith in Action - distributes Christmas gifts to families facing challenges during the holidays and has sponsored several springtime community clean-up days; a group of caring individuals from the church seek donations, prepare and serve a meal once a month at the Hope Rescue Mission in South Bend.

MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meet at the church on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month.

Current staff: Lead Pastor - Donald Bayne, Jr. Family Life Pastor - Seth Merrill Worship Leader - Taylor Showley Cornerstone Director - Jessica Feathers Faith in Action Director - David Kirkham

We invite the community to join us on Sunday, September 17, as we celebrate our 120th anniversary.

We hope you will attend as we reflect on the past and face the challenge of building a legacy for future generations.

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