About Bryant Wesleyan
Welcome to the Bryant Wesleyan Church website. We hope you enjoy your visit and we look forward to worshiping with you soon.
What We Believe
We believe in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We believe that the Holy Scriptures are the inspired Word of God.
We believe that by the grace of God those who repent of their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are justified by faith.
We believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross that he rose again and now sits at the Fathers right hand until he returns to judge each and every person.
PASTOR PAUL IWU ALUMNI PASTOR OF THE WEEK! Click here to read the article.
The Bryant Wesleyan Church was organized by the Rev. R.M. S. Hutchens in October 1884, following a tent meeting held by Rev. Hutchens and his sister, Clara Tear.
The following six persons comprised the charter members of the church: Sarah E. Worth, Susan Miles, Lovina Cain, Anna (Cain) Crowell, Mary (Cain) McMichael and John C. Bailey.
In the early days, the church at Bryant was connected with what was then known as the Camden Mission, later known as the Pleasant Grove Wesleyan Methodist Church. It was located in the Kitt Community, about seven miles southwest of Bryant.
The Portland Church was added in 1900, to make the circuit a three-point charge. In 1924, Portland went off the circuit; the two other churches continued together until about the middle of 1946. The records of the quarterly business meetings have this entry dated March 30, 1946.
“Pleasant Grove. Not having any class meetings, preaching services still kept up.”
This is the last reference in the record concerning the Pleasant Grove Wesleyan Methodist Church.
Soon after the organization in 1884 and during the pastorate of Rev. Hutchens, a frame schoolhouse was purchased at the west edge of Bryant on the north side of Main Street and converted into a church, which was used until the year 1895. The need for a new church building became evident with growth. John C. Bailey owned a woods just west of the town limits, where our church still stands. The men from church and community worked together to cut and haul logs, get them sawn into lumber and put up the frame for the church, parsonage and barn. This church building was in service until September 1990. From this time until 1975, the house that was used for a parsonage was located on the southeast corner of Main and Malin Streets.
A growing need developed over the years for classrooms and a bigger sanctuary. On November 8, 1964 a new sanctuary was dedicated. This addition, constructed under the leadership of Rev. Carl Brookshire, joined the old building at the right angle to the south. It provided restrooms, a nursery and seating for about 175 people. The old sanctuary was remodeled to be used as classrooms. In 1975, permanent partitions were added in the original section along with a new ceiling and lights.
On Homecoming Sunday, in October, 1967, the church celebrated the lifting of the debt on the new sanctuary.
Another big occasion was observed during Homecoming, 1968, when a new Gulbranson organ was dedicated with a note-burning ceremony, marking the removal of debt on the organ.
Sometime around 1930 the church purchased a house on West Wilson Street that served as the parsonage until 1975. After several months of discussion and planning, a new parsonage was built to the south of the church. The building was begun in November, 1974. Rev Harry Moeller and family moved into the $100,000 home in April, 1975. The air-conditioned building provided living quarters, a double garage and office on the main floor. The basement served as a spacious fellowship hall, with restrooms, and a fully equipped kitchen. This space was used for many church meals and activities for over for over 30 years.
Starting in 1983, under the leadership of Pastor Steve Boardman, several building projects were undertaken. First, the sanctuary was enhanced with the addition of padding and upholstery for the pews. The church also purchased two lots to the east of the church that included a 2 bedroom home. These lots would provide the necessary room for the next building project and expansion of the parking area.
October 23, 1988 the ground breaking service was held. Rev Howard Castle, Director of Estate Planning for the Wesleyan Church and brother of the late Evelyn Butcher, was on hand to turn the first shovel of dirt. The project was undertaken in phases. First, a free standing 48’ x 49’ building was erected directly east of the old sanctuary. Steve Bailey, son of Bob and Reba Bailey, and a descendant of John C Bailey, a charter member, worked with an Amish crew to get the building covered up and sided. Men of the church took over, hanging the drywall and most of the rest of the work.
After about a year and half the congregation decided it was time to make plans for the completion of the work. Plans were made to raze the old structure and build the rest of the church, tying the 1988 building with the 1964 sanctuary. Before the old building was completely torn down the congregation planned one last worship service in the old sanctuary. With all the interior walls out, they set up the building much like it would have been 30 years before. The service was held September 16, 1990 with 165 people attending.
A week later demolition and construction began again. Progress was slow and it was necessary to change contractors. However, under the guidance of Joe H. Schwartz and his crew the building finally took shape. The members of the congregation put the finishing touches on the building.
October 1992 the congregation dedicated the new building. After four years the new construction had produced 9 large classrooms, a nursery, large restrooms, office workspace, a spacious foyer, an enlarged sanctuary with capacity to hold nearly 200, four entrances, with one being handicap accessible, new outdoor lighting and an expanded parking area. There would be no major construction for the next 15 years.
Although the basement served well as a fellowship hall, there was talk off and on that a ground floor structure would be a great blessing. After several years of planning for a new fellowship hall, a building committee was appointed in 2001. After Pastor Paul VanCise arrived in 2003, there was renewed interest in continuing progress toward building a fellowship hall. A new building committee was appointed mid-2005. A Spiritual funding Campaign was kicked off in November 2006 with the Ground Breaking of the new addition being held on April 1, 2007. The new fellowship hall would add 8500 square feet attached to the Sanctuary and educational building. It would include a large kitchen, general-purpose classroom, two restrooms, storage, a large multi-purpose area with seating for 300 people around tables, all with a ground level entrance. On December 9, 2007 the new Fellowship Hall was dedicated.
A church is not only known by activities done in the buildings, or even in what it does in a community – but also by the ones that go out from the church to other fields of service. The Bryant Wesleyan Church has been a sending church.
The quarterly business meeting records for July 9, 1941 state: “Report of local Board, was to recommend Bro. Don Grandlinard for quarterly meeting license to preach. A motion was made and carried to adopt the action of the board and license be granted to Don Grandlinard to preach.” This was the beginning of a ministry dedicated to the service of the Lord and His church for Don and Mary (Rittenhouse) Grandlinard.
At least four sons of former pastors followed in their father’s footsteps and entered the pastoral ministry: Rev Harold Bardsley, son of Rev. Orval and Kathleen Bardsley (served Bryant from 1944-1948); Rev Kenneth Heer, son of Rev. Donald and Constance Heer (served Bryant from 1952-1958); Danny Metz son of Rev. Floyd Metz and Alberta Metz (served Bryant 1967-1974). Also, Rev Metz’s daughter Lydia Metz Hines with her husband, Tom have served over 30 years as missionaries. They have served in Honduras, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. Another Metz daughter, Dorcas, is a nun in the Serbian Orthodox church and lives on St. Nilus Island in Alaska. She prays and seeks to be like Jesus; gardens, fishes, sews, and serves visiting pilgrims.
Rev. Bill Hand, son of Rev. John and Liz Hand (served Bryant 1979-1982) is currently the an assistant pastor at Waterline Church in Noblesville, IN and is also employed at The Wesleyan Publishing House.
Two sons of Thelora and Vaughn Shoemaker went into full time pastoral ministry.
Kayla (Vance) Engelhardt and husband Chuck have served over 30 years in the Methodist Church. They now live in Clearwater, Florida and Chuck is the Senior Pastor at Heritage UMC. Kayla also teaches 2nd grade at a Christian School in St. Petersburg, Florida – Keswick Christian School.
Mrs. Kibbie (Vance) Dejarnett is a school teacher and, along with her husband, Jeff, is also involved in a music ministry that includes sacred concerts.
We are sure there are many others not mentioned here who have gone on from our church to serve in full-time ministry.
Following is the list of faithful pastors and their years of service to this branch of the body of Christ.
Pastors of the Bryant Wesleyan Church
Churches in the circuit:
Bryant, Pleasant Grove and Portland
R.M.S. Hutchens 1884-1885
J.C. Barnum 1885-1886
Rev. Godwin 1886-1888
C.S. Smith 1888-1891
L.H. Carter 1891-1896
J.J. Coleman 1896-1899
- Hester 1899-1900
C.S. Smith 1900-1901
- Moore 1903-1903
L.H. Carter 1903-1907
H.H. Akright 1907-1909
F.R. Eddy 1909-1911
W.W. McMichael 1911-1914
T.M. Bodenhorn 1914-1917
A.P. Foshee 1917-1919
- Kercheval 1919-1922
Portland withdrew from circuit, Spring 1922
Pastors of the Bryant Circuit
Bryant and Pleasant Grove
Eugene Hunter 1922-1926
J.W. Drake 1926-1928
Glen Payne 1928-1931
A.E. Beyler 1931-1934
Glenn Appleman 1934-1936
Dempsey Howard 1936-1937
N.R. Briles 1937-1939
Charles Porter 1939-1944
Orval Bardsley 1944-1948
Pleasant Grove closed, Summer of 1946
Pastors of the Bryant Wesleyan Methodist Church
Edward Smithee 1948-1952
Donald Heer 1952-1958
Charles Cecil 1958-1960
Carl Brookshire 1960-1965
John H. Hall 1965-1967
Floyd Metz 1967-1968
On June 26,1968, The Pilgrim Holiness Church and The Wesleyan Methodist Church
Of American were united to form the Wesleyan Church.
Pastors of the Bryant Wesleyan Church
Floyd Metz 1968-1974
Harry Moeller 1974-1977
Lawrence Erlandson 1977-1979
John A. Hand 1979-1982
Stephen R Boardman 1982-1996
Stephen Hill 1996-2003 Youth Pastor: Brian Holland 1998-2002
Paul VanCise 2003-present
Youth Leader: Amie Billington 2002-2003
Youth Pastor: Ben Capshaw 2003 – 2008
Youth Pastor/Associate Pastor: Bob Schroeder 2008 – Present
Youth Leader: Patrick Tierney 2016 – Present
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