In 1903 several members or affiliated members of First Methodist Episcopal Church who were residents of Lindenwald, petitioned to start an independent Methodist Episcopal church in Lindenwald.
At that time Lindenwald was an unincorporated southern suburb of Hamilton with a population of about 1200. There were about 50 Methodist families in the community. Lindenwald was rapidly growing and the two mile street car ride to First Methodist Episcopal Church resulted in a loss of money and time and hurt church attendance.
On the afternoon of March 1, 1903, forty people attended the first worship services of Lindenwald Methodist Episcopal Church in Polk School (current location of Belle Towers residence) on Woodlawn Ave. Thirty seven attended Sunday School. Rev. Schenk preached the initial sermon. The new church, which had been organized in the home of T.E. Midghall on Feb. 23, was off to a good start.
In the fall of 1903, the Rev. S.A. Stephens came to First Church as associate pastor and took over the work with the newly established Lindenwald Church. The need for a building led to the purchase of two lots on Fairview Ave. for $690. The Ladies Aid Society made the down payment of $120. An adjacent third lot was given by Messrs. Benninghofen. The new Lindenwald Methodist Church, with sanctuary seating for 180, was built for a total cost of $3,800 and dedicated on February, 26, 1905.
Most activities of this growing church were family affairs. By 1922 Easter and Christmas attendance was over 400. An addition was built to accommodate 300 in Sunday School.
As soon as the mortgage was burned in 1944, a New Church Fund was started as members looked to a new site for a new church. Over $72,000 was pledged in 1949 to construct the new church at Pleasant and Hayes since a multitude of new homes were being constructed to the south. Lindenwald Methodists were a forward looking people who struggled to be able to construct their entire new building at one time. Much of the work on the new building was done by the people of the church. That contributed labor was valued at $35,000.
The first worship service in the new building at 3501 Pleasant Ave. was held on Palm Sunday, April 3, 1955. Church membership reached a high of 1351 in the 1950’s, a peak time for church membership in the USA.
In 1968 the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged to form the United Methodist Church. The church name was changed to Lindenwald United Methodist Church.
In 1976 the parking lot was enlarged and paved and air conditioning was installed in the sanctuary. In 1977 an Allen Digital Organ was purchased. In 1980-81 the nine memorial stained glass windows were given and installed. In 1982 the pews were padded and new carpeting installed.
New interest in involving the community in the church and changes in church programs led to a building renovation in 1996-97. A four-stop elevator with entry from the rear ground level makes the whole building handicapped accessible. There is a remodeled nursery and a family restroom with baby changing table. A full-service commercial kitchen, fully air conditioned classrooms, a remodeled youth area, and more meeting rooms open up many new possibilities at Lindenwald United Methodist Church.
Fast forward to 2006. At that time, 26% of our active members were over 70 years old.11% were between 61 and 70 years old and 19% were between 51 and 60 years old.So 37% of the congregation was over 60 and 56% was over 50.The average age of active members was 61 and the average age of all members (including those not active) was 52. Those statistics along with the decline in main line denominations due to the cultural suspicion of “institutional” churches brought significant challenges to LUMC. Our membership was aging and the costs to operate this church was growing each year.Barry Burns, our pastor at that time, showed us a Power Point slide that represented the choice we were facing as a church.We could adopt the fortress mentality and retreat inward hoping people would find us before it was too late or we could take action to renew our vision of what God was calling us to do and redefine our purpose and our lives.
We believe the purpose of LUMC is to WIN people to Jesus Christ, EQUIP them to be in ministry and SEND out to serve the world.Our vision is for LUMC to be a vibrant multi-generational congregation being led by the Holy Spirit to passionately and authentically experience God with an outward focus that exposes people to Jesus Christ through programs that serve the needs of the community and leads to transformation. That was the easy part! The hard part was trying to figure out how to put it into action.
To determine the correct actions to take, a Vision Team was established. Under the leadership of Pastor Burns, this team read books, had many meetings and continually prayed for direction from God. Discussions included many sensitive issues including topics like worship services, finances, facilities, our current location, youth and children's programs and many others. Along the way, the team felt it important to establish Core Values for Lindenwald Church. Additionally, they felt it important to review existing programs and create potential new ones that support those Core Values in order to assist the current congregation and to be properly prepared to assist new congregation members to transform their lives into a more active relationship with God.
In 2008, a Director of Transformational Ministries was hired to assist us in moving in this direction, and there currently are plans to remodel the chancel area and update the Fellowship Hall.
1903-1905 - S.A. Stephan 1905-1907 - Charles P. Pumphrey 1907-1909 - Norman Sweat 1909-1911 - Louis C. Radley 1911-1914 - Robert Bruch Foster 1914-1918 - J. R. Wynd 1918-1919 - F. C. Seckerson 1919-1920 - George W. Vorhis 1920-1923 - Calvin W. Horn 1923-1927 - Franklin G. Markley 1927-1931 - Stanley W. Wiant 1931-1935 - E. W. Elrod 1935-1942 - David C. Johnson 1942-1943 - Howard Carpenter 1943-1955 - Stanley E. Weed 1955-1956 - Forrest Brown 1956-1962 - Leonard Klotz 1962-1971 - Louis E. Bell 1971-1979 - Virgil C. Hair 1979-1994 - Ed Beck 1994-2000 - Tom Harry 2000-2007 - Barry R. Burns