Corbin Church History contributed by Amy Lungren Shoffner

Composed from typewritten pages of history found in the church archives. Author unknown. This information was contributed for this Web site by Amy Lungren Shoffner.

Church History - Corbin Kansas

            In the 1870's and 1880's the church frontier was reaching out to the South Central Kansas area. Dedicated men were traveling many miles a day to bring the word of God to those pioneers.

            A colony moved from Missouri to Kansas and settled in a small flat plain area east of the Chikaskia River on the Santa Fe Railroad by the Hurst Post Office.    This group of people purchased 80 acres of land and named it Corbin in 1883. The first known church services to be held in Corbin, Kansas were in November 1878 in the residence of T. Swab This was under the Western conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South with circuit ministers officiating under the Wellington Circuit.  However, the actual organization of a church occurred in 1884 with the building committee being appointed October31 the same year.  The original class meetings until that time were held in homes, schools and the mill.

            Sunday School was organized out of some concern over the lack of proper training for children.  The first Sunday School reported “doing well” on May 28, 1887. Three groups of people worshipping in various places at this time gathered together and on Sept. 8, 1884 were purchased two lots were purchased for $30.00.  In 1890 it was reported that the church had been erected, free of debt and insured, at a value of $1125.00.  This was located on the south part of the block where the present church is.  By 1894 a parsonage had been erected, value $500. The church building at that time was considered an all-denomination church and was occupied on alternate Sundays by United Brethren congregation until the construction of their own building. The Christian Church worshippers met at a house northeast of the town.  This church died out extremely quick, in a matter of a year or so and its followers split between the two remaining churches.

            By 1896, the first Epworth League was organized for young people.  The first membership recorded was 38 members. The first Woman’s Society was also organized in 1896, known as the Women’s Parsonage and Home Mission Society.  By 1901, there were 14 members, giving of their services to the repair of the parsonage, and the purchase and making of clothes for destitute families.

            In 1900, the Wellington Circuit was changed to the Corbin Circuit, with the circuit parsonage also being located in Corbin. In 1914, Corbin, in Sumner County and Star, in Elk County were the only Churches of the Southern Methodist in Southern Kansas.

            The Brethren Church was built south of the Methodists two blocks on the west side of Main Street.  This is on the block south of the present Webster house.  This church died out during the early thirties with the followers joining worship with the Methodist Episcopal Church.  The building was town down in 1939 by Porter Richards, who built his home on the church site.

            On Sunday, Nov 1, 1914 in Corbin, the church changed its name to the Methodist Episcopal Church, North.  After 1915 when the church became Methodist Episcopal, plans were started to build a new building on the site of the 1890 church. (southern part of block)  The building Committee was composed of  - George Shaklee, William Smith, and Walter Whitmore.  Rev. G.E. Heitmeyer was pastor.  The large stucco building was dedicated May 11, 1919 by Dr. Harmon while Rev. R.A. Potter was pastor.  

            In 1926 the Chikaskia Church combined with the Corbin Church to make a wonderful union which has strengthened the church in its mission.  The Chikaskia Church dates back to about 1870  as a subscription school held in a small building in the yard of the Mitchells, a mile east of the Chikaskia River.  Here they also held their Sunday School and Church services.  About 1880 the first Chikaskia Church was built one half mile west and one half mile south of the Mitchell farm and close to a little cemetery. (North of S & S Feeders)  In a few years it burned to the ground. 

            When the Chisholm Trail Cattle Drives declined, in 1891 a new church was built near the site of the Hahn school, one and one-half miles west of the river on hwy 44.  This was approximately a mile south and west of the Chikaskia Post Office which closed in 1886.  This church building was torn down in October 1944 and the corner-stone (time capsule) is in our historical library.  The lumber from this church was used to rebuild the parsonage in Corbin. 

            Corbin and the Methodist Episcopal Church flourished during the twenties even though times were hard.  Music from the Main Street Bandstand was heard every Saturday night.  This activity attracted people from miles around. Two church communities east of Corbin decided to move. The Carriger church decided to attend services at South Haven.  The Fall Center Church merged with the Corbin Church community.  This included the Larnie Hess, Claude Hess, Fern Frazier and Charlie Mossman families. In 1930’s, Rev. M.W. Williams started having open air services under floodlights of the new Corbin ball field.  A public address system carried the services to all, whether located on the benches or in one’s own car.

            During this time, the Epworth League was a busy group.  During the 1920’s & 1930’s this group was noted for the plays they gave at community gatherings and anytime asked.  This active group made canned goods and quilts which were arranged into a booth.  The decorated booth was “entered” in one of the district Booth Festivals which were held annually.  The booths were judged with the winning booth receiving a ribbon.  All items from all the booths were then taken and given to the Children’s Home in Newton, which is now Youthville.  Revs Rickard and Williams assisted Mrs. Anna Greenman with sponsoring this group during the years.

            In 1939, the Brethren Church was torn down and the bell was placed in the stucco church bell tower where is was located for nearly 40 years.  The large bell is now mounted in the masonry name sign in front of the church (1976). The “Episcopal” was dropped in 1939 to give the church its name, the Corbin Methodist Church. The Organizational meeting of Women’s Society of Christian Service was September 10, 1940.  Myrtle Evans was elected president.  Rev. Ballinger was pastor at that time.

            In 1942, Rev. L.G. Snyder did double duty as a builder and minister as he was the main person to get the parsonage built.  This new pastor’s home included three bedrooms, indoor plumbing and was located on block 18 in the Kennedy Addition, the same site as the former parsonage built in 1894.  The church also owned three lots across the street west of the parsonage.  Pastors used this area for their gardens and it included a cow shed.  Frances Snyder Kloefkorn remembers:

              “An older fellow, Mr. Montgomery, was the main builder that helped my dad

            on the building of the parsonage. In fact, I believe he would be considered the

            main builder. I thought my dad was so old....I figured it up awhile ago and he

            was less than 50....I think about 48 or 49.  We lived in an old house just a block

            south of the parsonage spot while the new house was being built.  It was just

            west of where the Websters live.”

            In 1949, the Lone Star School house was purchased and moved to Corbin and was used as a church annex. Bible Schools, Rally Days, and Rummage Sales were activities of Corbin Methodist Church in the 50’s and early 60’s.  Youth from miles around attended MYF meetings activities and parties.In 1962, the church sanctuary underwent a major renovation with painting (inside and out), new carpets and refinished floors.  Rev. Lloyd Zook was pastor at this time. The photo below shows the church sanctuary as it looked at about that time.

                        On October 24, 1963, the building Committee, W.J. Johnson, chairman, Bob Rice, B.J. Evans, Marvin Ginn , Ervin Urban and the pastor, Roy Pike met in the parsonage where plans were discussed for building the present Educational Building. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the educational building were held Nov.1, 1964 with construction beginning April 1965.  Most of the construction was done by local church men and women volunteering their time and labor.  The building cost was $23,000. 

            “After the service, everyone gathered on the lawn for the Groundbreaking   Ceremony. 

              Mrs. A.O. Lile, oldest member of the church, Rev. Heitmeyer,

             pastor at Corbin from 1916-1919, Rev. R.A. Potter, pastor at Corbin from

            1920-21, Winfield District Superintendent Dr. E. Loyal Miles broke the ground

            first followed by building committee members and W.J. Johnson, chairman,

            Bob Rice, B.J. Evans, Marvin Ginn , Ervin Urban and the pastor, Roy Pike”                     

            The church annex which for so many years had hosed fellowship activities was sold and moved January 12, 1966.  The Wellington Boat Club purchased the structure and moved it to Wellington Lake.  The WSCS served their Turkey Supper in the new building that fall. The Consecration Service for the Educational Building was held April 24, 1966 with Bishop W. McFerrin Stow present.  The mortgage was burned during the dedication service which was held October 5, 1969.  Dr. Herbert Cockerill was the Winfield District Superintendent at the time.

            In June, 1968, the name was changed to Corbin United Methodist Church.  Nationwide, the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren.  The Ks West Conference decided that Corbin would become a second point church with Caldwell.  June 7, 1970 was the first Sunday service with Corbin and Caldwell churches using the same pastor.  Corbin held their services at 9:30 am with Sunday School following.  Rev. Dean Rose was the pastor. The parsonage and 3 west lots was sold at auction in 1971. Gilbert Johnson bought the parsonage and Webb Johnson purchased the three west lots.  The pastors would now reside in the Caldwell UMC Parsonage.  

            In 1974, the Craven property just to the east of the church was purchased at a tax sale for $11.79.  The old house was torn down and the land leveled.  This is being used for additional parking. The Education Building was built with the idea of adding a sanctuary to the south.  In 1975 a building committee was elected.  Those members were W. J. Johnson, chairman, Marvin Ginn, Betty Frazier, Amy Shoffner, R.L. Crumbliss, Danny Ginn and Rev. Harry Walz.  Plans included the sanctuary addition 40’x54’ with seating for approximately 130.  The contract for complete construction was signed in February 1976 with Coon Construction Co. of Winfield. 

            The ground breaking service was held March 14, 1976.  The move into the new sanctuary was made October 10, 1976 during the Morning Worship Service.  The cost of the new sanctuary was about $75,000.  The facing of the structure was in brick and included brick facing of the existing educational building as well as a new roof for the educational building.  Mortgage was held by Caldwell State Bank.         

            The stucco church building and contents was sold at public auction on Friday November 26, 1976. The Consecration Service was held November 28, 1976 (another source says November 23, 1976).  Rev. Jack Harris, Winfield District Superintendent was the speaker.  Ernest T. Dixon was the Kansas bishop.

            There are three side windows of stained glass in the sanctuary.  Their meaning –The west window, with the lamp and open Bible, is symbolic of the scripture, “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Ps11:105   The north east window is the communion window and the wheat and grapes symbolize bread and wine.  The south east window is the Resurrection Window symbolized by the lilies and crown of thorns.  The large north window has the dove of peace, open word (Bible) and cup “Father if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will but thine be done.”  Luke 22:42

            The Dedication Service with the traditional mortgage burning was October 14, 1984.  The occasion marked the Centennial Celebration of the Methodist Church in Corbin and the Bicentennial of the Methodist Church in America. Church membership dwindled in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  The Bible School joined with churches of Caldwell.  The Corbin UMYF continued to be an active group until they joined with Caldwell Youth in 2000. In 1992, the newest addition to Corbin was the paving of Main Street (4 blocks.)  In 1993, a new roof was put on the sanctuary and educational building.  In 2005, exterior repair and paint was completed as was a new roof over the foyer.