Spencer Memorial Methodist Church

At a conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church for this district, held during the month of September, 1900, J. B. Rutter, the pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Milan, asked the Elder and the Conference for the privilege of organizing a church in the Edgewood Park district, between the cities of Rock Island and Moline, and this permission was granted to him, and on the 25th day of April, 1901, he and his wife, Ella Alter Rutter, organized a Sunday school, with Mr. Rutter as pastor and Miss Maud Maxwell secretary. On June 5, he organized a society known as the Edgewood Park Ladies’ Aid. Mrs. M. E. Leverich was elected president, Mrs. J. A. Pauley vice-president and Mrs. Ella Alter Rutter secretary. On the 7th day of October, 1901, at a meeting called for that purpose, the following persons-David J. Sears, S. J. Ferguson, W. E. Scott, J. A. Pauley, Andrew Olson, James Gauley and T. C. Nutter-organized themselves into a board of trustees, and elected J. A. Pauley secretary., J. B. Rutter, the pastor, gave the name of Spencer Memorial Methodist Episcopal church This organization then adopted the Sunday school as above organized, and the Ladies’ Aid Society above organized, and together they became the congregation of the Spencer Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church. During the time of the completion of this organization, J. B. Rutter received a donation of two lots from Mr. Frank Robinson, now deceased, and on October 23, 1901, the Ladies Aid Society undertook to put a foundation of the new church upon the lots at the corner of Forty-third Street and Seventh Avenue, and the corner stone of this foundation was Iaid On Thanksgiving day, 1902. The church, Sunday school and Ladies’ Aid Society were holding their meetings at a little chapel, known as the Old Swede Church, at the corner of Third Street and Fourth Avenue, in Moline. On October 25, 1.903, through the energy and ingenuity of J. B. Rutter, the church proper had been erected and finished upon the foundation laid by the Ladies’ Aid Society, and dedication services were held amid a great demonstration. The people of Edgewood Park district together with other generous minded people of Rock Island and Moline, placed the church organization in a position to do legitimate church business. The building and foundation, together with the expenses of obtaining the same, had cost over $20,000, and this enormous debt hanged over the new organization unprovided for until September 8, 1907, for while through the efforts of the pastor, J. 13. Rutter, the church building had been placed in position and the congregation well organized, yet it remained for the conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, held during September, 1906, to provide a man in the person of W. P. MacVey, to systematize and provide for the raising of the enormous church debt. The new pastor, who replaced J. B. Rutter, succeeded in placing this debt in a manageable form, and now at the last conference held during the month of September 1907, the Reverend W. P. MacVey was replaced by F. E. Shult, the new pastor. The pastorate of J. B. Rutter extended from September, 1901, to September, 1906-five years. Until March 31, 1905, he had by his side, Ella Altar Rutter, his wife, and to her in great measure is due the tireless energy and effort required in the organization, management and building of this church. On March 31, 1905, she died, leaving as her monument Spencer Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church. The name, Spencer, is in honor of a well known citizen by the name of William Spencer. Since its organization the church has gained in each of its departments, the Sunday school has increased from a membership of ten to a membership of over two hundred. The Ladies’ Aid Society has increased from a membership of thirteen to a membership of seventy-five. The church has now a member-ship of one hundred and eighty-one regular affiliated members, and in the leadership of our new pastor, F. E. Shult, the people of the Spencer Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church expect to accomplish great things for Methodism in the Edgewood Park district.

Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908

1 thought on “Spencer Memorial Methodist Church”

  1. Rev Philip Henry Lotz once pastored Spencer Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church in Rock Island, IL. We are distantly related. My Uncle, Kenneth Watkins, of Rochester, MN, spent some time with Rev Lotz in Rock Island and spoke highly of his first cousin, once removed.
    What years did Rev Lotz pastor the church and what record do you have of his ministry?

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