Independence, Inyo County, California

My Affiliation with the Pioneer Methodist Church in Indepdence

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MY AFFILIATION WITH THE PIONEER

METHODIST

CHURCH OF INDEPENDENCE* 

By T. Eugene Barrows

On coming to Owens Valley. I was on duty every other Sunday. It meant I could attend church only on the alternate Sunday. Although I joined the Pioneer Memorial Methodist Church, we only attended occasionally. It was not until about 1959, when my shift was changed, that I began to attend church more regularly.

This proud little church was just what its name implies. It was one of the first churches in the valley. Within its doors many of the valley people, from all walks of life, had come to worship. The church building had served the community in many ways besides religious services. Its history is the history of Independence. The church has touched the lives of many people. weddings. Funerals, 4-H meetings, Scout meetings, Civic and other club meetings, receptions, square dances, dinners and no end of community functions besides the religious services.

With the passing of years the artificial "stained" glass windows of the sanctuary began to deteriorate. As a memorial to loved ones, members purchased double-sash ripple window glass for each of the windows. Under the direction of Rev. Fred Jarman, the youth of the church laid out a different religious symbol on each window pane. Each symbol was completed, in color, by glueing {sic} small pieces of colored glass to each part of the symbol. When completed, and in place, the windows added greatly to the beauty of the sanctuary. They also made a scene, with angels for back of the altar, by glueing {sic} the colored glass to panes of clear glass. It is illuminated by indirect artificial light. Another unusual feature of our church is the cross above the altar. Most churches have a cross above. or near, the altar but ours is made of wood from a Bristlecone pine tree which, undoubtedly, was a living tree during Christ's ministry on this earth. Everything in, or about our Pioneer Memorial Church is the result of some one's unselfish giving of themselves or their means, so that the people of Independence and the stranger, regardless of creed or color, might have a place to worship.

In 1971, the Pioneer Memorial Church became 100 years old. During the year, numerous events were held commemorating the centennial. That year some worshipers, especially the women, came dressed in attire of the period of 100 years ago. The highlight of that centennial year for me, as our church lay representative to our Annual Conference at Redlands, was to receive for our church a commemorative plaque presented by Bishop Kennedy. This I later delivered to the church.

{*Copied without permission from Saga of Inyo County 1977 by Chapter 183, Southern Inyo American Association of Retired Persons.}

 
 
 
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