Historical Statement of Lisbon United Methodist Church

Written by Mary Slagle as told by Mamie Lemmon and her sister, Clara Barnes Slagle, whose father was one of the church founders

We must turn the picture back to the year 1820 and gain a glimpse of early Methodism in Lisbon. On the 22nd of August, 1820, an indenture was made between Caleb Pancoast of Anne Arundel County and Lloyd Selby, Beni Warfield, Gustavus Warfield, Hammond Welsh and Nicholas Warfield, in the consideration of the sum of one dollar for lots 93 and 94 in the village of Lisbon. The deed states that the property was for the use of all societies or denominations of Christians as a place of public worship. Any preacher or minister, whether traveling or local, belonging to any society of Christians, upon approbation of the Board of Trustees, would be permitted to preach in any building presently existing or to be erected. However, a provision stated that the Society called Methodist shall have one day every two weeks of their own appointment for the purpose of Circuit Preaching. The structure erected was called Free Stone Church and stood on the present Lisbon School property. As late as 1950 there were still tombstones on the lot. Four congregations, namely, the Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist and Brethren, used the building for approximately sixty-two years. As time went on the Methodist congregation grew stronger and in the fall of 1882 the Methodists laid plans for a new building. On September 25, 1882, land was purchased on the north side of the National Pike across from the Free Stone Church, by the Methodists. Under the direction of Reverend James Cadden and strong support of Daniel Hartsock, John Patrick, George Leach, Benjamin Barnes and John Bond, the new Lisbon Methodist Episcopal Church opened its doors to worship in 1883. Lisbon was part of the Patapsco Circuit which included six other churches, namely Westwood, St. James, McKendree, Old Freedom, Sykesville, and Old Oakland. In 1908 Lisbon became part of the St. James circuit along with Westwood and McKendree. In 1909 a parsonage was built on ten acres of land given by Dr. Shipley. It was located across the road from McKendree Church facing the National Pike.

Lisbon has had one member enter the ministry, The Rev. Arthur E. Slagle. In 1939 under the direction of Reverend Charles Subock, memorial windows were placed in the church in memory of loved ones and to the glory of God. A week of services were held beginning May 7, 1939, dedicating the windows and rededicating the church. The following memorials were made: Mary L. Hood by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Vance Hood; Walter Rippeon by his mother Mrs. Harry Rippeon, Sr.; William and Ida Hobbs by Mrs. W. Molesworth and Mrs. Harrison Mullinix; Frank Smith by his wife,
Fannie; Archie and Cora Hartsock by his children Guy and Pauline; Benjamin F. and Mary E. Barnes and Ida R. Barnes, by Edgar J. Barnes; Annie Slagle by Martin Slagle. Windows were presented to the glory of God by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Shipley, Mr. and Mrs. Fulton Slagle, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Mullinix and the Sunday School. In 1939 the three bodies of Methodism united. These were the Methodist Protestant, Methodist Episcopal North and Methodist Episcopal South. They were renamed the Methodists.

In 1943, Lisbon was put on a new circuit known as Poplar Springs which included Poplar Springs, Jennings Chapel, Union Chapel and Lisbon. As the congregation grew a need was felt for an education area and in 1947 under the guidance of Rev. Paul Henry the endeavor was completed. This was a two story building with classrooms on the lower level and kitchen and large hall on the upper. In 1962 another change took place. Lisbon became an independent church with Orin Dooley, a ministerial student as the first pastor. A parsonage was built on Daisy Road in 1963. On a extremely cold night January 19, 1967, our education building was gutted by fire with only the block walls left standing. The cause of the fire was attributed to a malfunction of the furnace. Our congregation moved into the Lisbon School auditorium where both Sunday School and church services were held. The National Guard from Howard County moved in and with the help of our members cleaned up the rubble from the fire. By May we had redecorated the sanctuary and were ready to move in again for worship. Sunday School continued to be held at the school until a new education building was erected. In 1968 under the leadership of Rev. Floyd Cooper, a one story structure was built for Christian education and fellowship activities. In 1976 we celebrated the 200″ anniversary of our great country. The congregation dressed in clothes of that era and our preacher and wife were brought to church in horse and buggy.

After services there was a picnic lunch on the lawn. In December, 1980, we sadly closed the doors on our “Little White Church” and held all services in the education building. Four acres of land was purchased on the south side of Route 144 east of the school. It was a rainy Sunday in June 1981 that ground breaking services were held for the new house of worship. Work was carried out under the direction of Dr. Hulsey and many diligent members. On December 20, 1981, (just six months after) we entered our beautiful new sanctuary for the first service of worship. There was a great need for day care in the area and in 1982 the Lisbon Children’s Christian Care Center was opened. This has been a thriving program. It has brought new members into the fellowship of the church and Christ into many of the hearts of the children and their families. On October 3, 1982, we celebrated the 100″ anniversary of Lisbon Church and had the laying of the cornerstone for our new building. Memorials for the new building were also dedicated. Tube candles for the Candelabra in memory of B. F. Barnes by Grace Barnes, Brass Umbrella Stand in honor of Melvin Harper in memory of Naomi Harper by Nelda Theis, communion table runners, white in memory of Helen Oland and in memory of Hazel Duvall, green in memory of Agness and Alon Brandenburg, purple in honor of Charlotte Mullinix by Richard Mullinix. Goldtone exterior cross in honor of Ben Slagle by Mary Slagle; cornerstone in honor of Richard Mullinix by Charlotte and Brian Mullinix and Charlene and Larry Anderson; sanctuary light fixtures by Cecil Poole in memory of Katherine Poole, two from memorial fund of Katherin Poole, from memorial fund of Agnes Brandenburg, from Jud and Pat Hulsey in memory of mothers Marie Harne and Helen McChesney, from memorial fund of Clara Slagle; “In Remembrance” book by Charlotte and Richard Mullinix in honor of Elizabeth Mullinix, altar rail from the memorial fund and family in memory of Belden Patrick, oil painting of Gothic Lisbon Church from Ann and Sterling Mullinix in memory of Virginia Dietrick, door by Christian Thrift Shop in honor of Pete and Emma Phoebus, door from memorial fund of Robey Mullinix.

In 1984, the 200″ anniversary of Methodism in America, circuit riders rode horseback from Kansas to Baltimore to attend special services at Lovely Lane Chapel. We were honored to be chosen as a stopping place. We served them lunch and had an old fashioned worship service. The Alleluias, a community choral group furnished special music for the occasion.

Since two pastors owned their own homes, the parsonage was sold in 1984. In 1989, a parsonage was purchased just off Old Frederick Road, east of Morgan Station Road. Under the direction of Reverend Scott Medlock, beautiful faceted glass windows were installed in the sanctuary. They depict bible stories which together tell the history of salvation from Genesis to Revelations. A dedication service was held on November 10, 1991.

Windows were donated in memory of Lorraine Booth by family and memorial fund. Anna and William Rooney by David and Dianne Rooney, Katie and Edgar Smith by the Charles Ridgely family, Dorothy and Edgar Barnes by Charles and Pat Browning and family, Belden Patrick by family, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Barnes by Ben and Mary Slagle, Debbie Haynes by Betty and Jack Miley. Windows were donated in honor of living children by Betty and Jack Miley. Elizabeth and Charlotte Mullinix by Richard Mullinix; Richard Mullinix by Charlotte Mullinix and Marya Elena Medlock by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Fauf. Complete windows were given by Ed and Madeline Clarke and family and Ben and Mary Slagle. Donations were made by Tom and Aileen Mullinix, Geneva Knill, Elizabeth Mullinix, Earl and Emma Phoebus, Paul and Martha Embrey and Sterling Harrison.

On March 29, 1992 we celebrated our 10th anniversary in our new church and homecoming. There were many former members in attendance. Two former ministers, Bill Dooley and Jack Buckingham were in attendance along with a former choir director, Carl Dietrick. After services lunch was served in the fellowship hall.

Stories of Lisbon Church

There is an interesting legend concerning the bell, which had been presented to the church by Mr. George Leach. A number of years ago, so the story goes, the villagers were startled by the sudden and mysterious ringing of the bell about supper time, in the middle of the week. After a time, some of the villagers went to investigate and upon entering the church, found a stranger kneeling at the communion rail. For him, it was the Angelus.

LaRue Brandenburg’s remembrance as told by her mother in 1930. It was a cold winter evening with snow on the roof; a patient had wandered from Springfield State Hospital and sought sanctuary in the church. After being discovered by villagers, Henry Slagle, Daniel Hartsock, and John Bond, he was taken to Mr. Clarence Owing’s store where he was made
comfortable with food and heat until the hospital authorities came for him.

Written by Mary Slagle as told by Mamie Lemmon and her sister, Clara Barnes Slagle, whose father was one of the church founders. While Clara was attending school in Lisbon across the road from the church, painters were busy painting the church and steeple. At noon when the children were out to play and the workmen were sitting around eating lunch, Clara climbed the ladders and scaffold to the top of the church steeple and touched the cross. When I asked what the teachers did, the reply was, “Now that wasn’t a very ladylike thing to do, was it!”

Our New Church on the Hill – Mary Slagle

A new church stands in grandeur
On the morning side of town.
With a steeple pointing skyward
The wall an earthy brown.
A lofty cross adorns the front,
The symbol of hope and love.
Bid all come enter and worship.
Receive the peace of the Holy Dove.
The warmth of the chapel windows
Reflecting the sun’s bright ray,
Like a soothing balm at worship
Brightens our Sabbath Day.
May the message and the music
Raise praise and joy to the Lord,
As all who gather to worship
Share in His Holy Word.
As we kneel before the chancel
Releasing our every care,
Let us lift out heart in praise and thanks
In the knowledge You are there.
May the beauty of the structure
Not blind us Lord from Thee.
But with mellowed heart and deepened faith
Accept Your Gift, so free.
As we open these doors to worship
Let us answer the Master’s call
To spread the message far and wide
Of God’s salvation for all.

Incidentally Clara was born the year Lisbon Church opened their doors and died the year they closed them. The first worship service held in the new church had a moment of excitement. We had ministers from the district level and Dr. Hulsey in the pulpit. A mouse found its way into the sanctuary and dashed around the pulpit and organ area. The congregation began to smile and get excited, but Dr. Hulsey was not aware of what caused all the excitement.

The Church Mouse – Mary Slagle

The first day we opened our doors to praise
A weak mouse dashed around in a daze.
From organ to pulpit he scurried around,
Caused lots of excitement, but made not a sound.
God blesses all who enter his house,
He even loved the little church mouse.

The Little White Church – Mary Slagle

There’s a little white church in the village
With a cross reaching toward the sky,
That has called her people to worship,
Their God to magnify.
The bell which rung from the steeple
When the hour of worship was nigh
Brought friends and neighbors together
Their God to mollify.
The windows bespeak of loved ones
Who within the walls have paused.
Their memory we hold in reverence
In their labor for the cause.
We recall the many men of God.
With a message our hearts to inspire.
The praise echoed with the walls
By the little chapel choir.
Here our babies were baptized,
Our sons and daughter were wed.
Prayers were lifted for loved ones
And we eulogized our dead.
Now her doors are closed in reticence.
And we recall with a tear
The joy and blessings we’ve received.
From our years of worshiping here.