St. Elmo News

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By The Staff

Thursday, June 6
• The St. Elmo Business Association, noon, Mary Ann’s Restaurant.

• The Wheatland Unit of Home and Community Education, 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 8
• The St. Elmo Community Clothes Closet, 9 a.m.-noon, United Methodist Church Parsonage. All summer merchandise. There is an abundance of children’s clothes. Because of the overwhelming generosity of the community, the Clothes Closet is not accepting any more donations at this time.
Monday, June 10
• American Red Cross blood drive, 1-6 p.m., St. Mary’s Catholic Church Parish Hall. The goal is 25.
• St. Elmo Lions Club, 6 p.m., Mary Ann’s Restaurant.
Tuesday, June 11
• The Avena Township Park Board, 6 p.m., St. Elmo Community Park Centennial Building.
• American Legion Post #420, 7 p.m., Legion Home.
• The Fayette County Board, 7 p.m., Fayette County Courthouse, Vandalia.
Wednesday, June 12
• Reverb Youth, 6:30 p.m., St. Elmo Christian Church.
Thursday, June 13
• Lunch Bunch, noon, Mary Ann’s Restaurant.
• The St. Elmo District Library Board, 7 p.m., St. Elmo Public Library.
• The Fayette County Extension Foundation, 7:30 p.m., Extension Office, Vandalia.
• The Effingham Chapter #110 Order of the Eastern Star, 7:30 p.m., Effingham Masonic Temple.
• The Fayette County Livestock Committee, 8 p.m., Extension Office, Vandalia.
Future Announcement
• The 65th annual meeting of Fayette County Home and Community Education-Tuesday, June 18, Vandalia Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Registration is at 11 a.m. and the potluck at 11:30 p.m.
The afternoon business session will include a memorial service for members who died the past club year, and recognition of members who joined 50 or more years ago, new members the past club year and those who had perfect attendance. The state HCE president will install the 2013-14 officers. Homemaker of the Year and Unit of the Year will be announced.
All HCE members who can are urged to attend the 65th annual meeting and guests will be welcomed.
Alumni Banquet Corrections
Sometimes when an article is proofread, mistakes are not found until the article is “cold,” and sometimes they are found after an article is printed. In the St. Elmo Alumni Banquet report of the class of 1960, it was Judy Cox Gillaspie (Cox was her maiden name).
Listed in the class of 1977, Rodney Haslett of Dyersburg, Tenn., and Susan Owen Hollinshead of St. Elmo had not made reservations and were not present. Steve Muma of Mission, Texas, who had made a reservation and was not present is from the class of 1959.
The St. Elmo Unit of Home and Community Education dues for this year are $15. Thirteen dollars go to the County HCE and $2 remains in the unit treasury to use when needed, for Pennies for Friendship, memorials, etc.
The county HCE dues for the 2013-14 year, which are due by the end of June, are $13.
The county treasurer will have to send $3 to the state HCE before the end of December this year; $10 will remain in the county HCE budget.
The Illinois Association of Home and Community Education, at the March annual conference held in Effingham, raised the state dues to $5, but if the counties pay their state dues by the end of this December, they will only have to pay $3 per member.
Fayette County HCE member dues that will be collected next year for the 2014-15 year will be $15 ($5 for the state and $10 to remain in the county).
Rhodes-Side Gleanings One
At the St. Elmo Alumni Banquet I attended the evening of May 25, an alumnus asked me some questions about who were on the sports teams back in the 1940s. I could not remember all of the players, but told Ward Brady of St. Paul, Minn., who was a 1952 graduate, I would look in my Elmonian yearbooks and write a Rhodes-Side Gleanings article with the info he wanted.
There was no yearbook my 1943-44 freshman year, but there was one for 1944-45 sophomore year – the 1945 Elmonian. On the basketball team were the following: on the first team were sophomore Leon Gibbons and seniors Robert Olson, Donald Jenkins, Randel Haslett and Harold Mason, and on the second team, a sophomore Ben Kepner and juniors Roy Dunbar, Francis Pankey, Phillip Rhodes and Bob Shriver. For the season they advanced to the Sectional (were defeated 77-33 by Decatur, a very strong team) and ended the season with 27 victories and 3 defeats.
Listed under the picture of the baseball team were P. Rhodes, L. Gibbons, T. Swarm, R. Olson, H. Mason, E. Sluder, D. Jenkins, E. Hout, R. Haslett, R. Dunbar, Mr. Pulliam, R. Van Rheeden, S. Stewart, K. Skipworth, P. Bliss, F. Pankey, B. Bison, J.C. Barnett, J. Coker and B. Price.
In track were D. Jenkins, M. Martin, T. Blurton, L. Gibbons, P. Bliss, B. Logsdon, B. Bisson, A. Farrell, J. Pankey and C. Pulliam.
C. E. Pulliam was the basketball, baseball and track coach.
Football was started in 1945, the fall of my junior year. Players listed under the picture in the 1946 Elmonian were S. Dial, R. Kennedy, S. Stewart, N. Sibley, D. Whiston, J. Fishburn, D. Van Rheeden, C. Carroll, E. Mills, M. McMahon, C. Brookshire, J. C. Barnett, J. Coker, C. McMahon, E. Forbes, K. Skipworth, B. Berry, T. Swarms, P. Bliss, D. Boesch, J. Howell, F. Broadwater, T. Sibley, E. Swarms, F. Pankey, P. Rhodes, W. Ledbetter, T. Chizevsky, Bob Cox and L. Gibbons.
The seniors were Edmond Forbes, Charles McMahon, Francis Pankey and Phil Rhodes.
There were no scheduled games, but three practice games were played with the second teams of Pana, Nokomis and Salem.
On the basketball team were Francis Pankey, Leon Gibbons, Phillip Rhodes, Paul Bliss, Floyd Calvert, Ben Kepner, Mickey McMahon, Barry Powell, Charles McMahon and Jimmy Howell. Others included in another picture were D. Van Rheeden, J. C. Barnett, J. Fishburn, B. Miller, N. Sibley, B. Haslett, D. Bosch, S. Stewart, T. Sibley, B. Koonce, T. Chizevsky, E. Swarms and J. Holding.
Frank Chizevsky was the new football and basketball coach. There was no baseball that year. There was track, but there was no picture is in the yearbook.
Robert Skinner became the new coach the fall of 1946, my senior year. The football squad pictured in the 1947 Elmonian included R. Kennedy, W. Ledbetter, K. Smith, J. Wolf, P. Masters, S. Stewart, J. C. Barnett, S. Bliss, J. Fishburn, M. McMahon, L. Gibbons, N. Sibley, T. Sibley, E. Swarms, J. Howell, P. Kreinhop, D. Whiston, J. Kersey, B. Koonce, B. Underwood, E. Delaney, C. Sperry, J. Gallion, S. Austin, E. Scoles, U. Gray, A. Rule, J. Sproat, E. Holman, D. Van Rheeden, C. Cloyd, B. Mathis, B. Atwood, K. Skipworth, B. Berry, J. Martin, J. Salmons, H. Miller and E. Mills.
The yearbook says that after a successful season this year, there will be the loss of only three first team players who are seniors: Leon Gibbons, Paul Bliss and Pat Masters.
In the 1947 yearbook the basketball first team pictured included J. C. Barnett, M. McMahon, B. Kepner, L. Gibbons, P. Bliss, T. Sibley, E. Swarms, J. Howell, E. Holman, Floyd Calvert. Second team players: B. Atwood, H. Miller, E. Delaney, J. Fishburn, D. Whiston, J. Martin, K. Smith, C. Cloyd and N. Sibley. D. Van Rheeden was the manager and J. Coker the assistant manager.
There was no baseball again this year, but there was track and there was no picture in the yearbook.
Rhodes-Side Gleanings Two
The power door in my Chrysler handicapped van that opens on the passenger side to let down the power folding ramp quit working May 18. I took it to United Access in Champaign to see what was wrong. They checked the Braun door cable and tried to check the remote controls. They had me go to the Hosick Motors at Vandalia, who ordered a Chrysler part that was thought to be needed. United Access was ordering a door cable. My appointment was to go back to Champaign on Monday.
When I need to go somewhere, someone has to be here to manually open the door and manually let down the ramp for me to get in the van. Then the ramp has to be put up and the door closed, all manually, for me to be able to drive the van. Same thing when I arrive at where I am going and when I get back home.
The week of May 20, I missed going to the county HCE Board meeting, Historical Vandalia Inc. meeting and Extension Foundation meeting, all in Vandalia, and I had the St. Elmo HCE in my home instead of it being held at the St. Elmo Public Library.
I knew my daughter and family were coming over the Memorial Day weekend, but they didn’t plan to go to the Alumni Banquet on May 25. I didn’t want to miss it, so I called Phyllis the night before and told her to bring something to wear to the banquet.
I had made my reservation before the deadline, but I called Laura Feezel Friday evening to see if I could get a reservation for Phyllis. Reservations need to be made ahead of time, but usually a few don’t show up, so I was able to get a ticket for Phyllis.
Phyllis had to manually get me in the van to go to the banquet, get me out when there, put me back in when we left, get me out at home.
Phyllis, husband Prentiss Lea, daughters Soo Jin and Chae Rin, and pet cocker spaniel Ginger of Green Oaks came that afternoon. They generally come Memorial Day weekend, because my birth date is May 28.
Sunday morning, Phyllis put me in the van and went with me to church – Prentiss, Soo Jin and Chae Rin came in their van. After attending the United Methodist Church service, Phyllis got me back in the van and went with me to Effingham.
The rest of the family went in their van and we ate at the Thai Restaurant. Phyllis had to get me out of the van, then after we ate, back in the van to come back home to get me out of the van in the garage and put the ramp and door back up.
See how confusing it is when the door doesn’t work as it should?
The Lees left Sunday evening to return to Green Oaks.
My son, Steve Rhodes of Chicago, could not come Memorial Day weekend, because he works 12 hours a day on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. He did call me to wish me “Happy Birthday.”
The Saturday before Mother’s Day I received an orchid/carnation corsage from Steve to wear to church.
When I got home I put it in the plastic bag and put it back in the refrigerator. It kept very well and I wore it to the Alumni Banquet.
Former St. Elmo Pastor Honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award
Eugene Black, age 88, pastor of the First United Methodist Church at St. Elmo 1969-78, was honored with the Peter Cartwright Lifetime Achievement Award at the Illinois Great Rivers Conference annual conference held in Peoria.
The Evangelism Committee of the IGRC presented the award at the John Wesley Fellowship of Illinois luncheon on June 6.
It is awarded to someone who has exceptional leadership qualities to help the conference in making disciples of Jesus Christ. For more than 63 years, Black faithfully served congregations in the Southern Illinois Conference until mandatory retirement at age 70 in 1995.
Then, a year later, he embarked on a 14-year second career as visitation pastor of Mattoon First UMC, retiring again at age 85.
Black was nominated to receive the award by the Rev. R. David Reynolds who retired from active ministry in 2012, retired pastor Kenneth Cox and Ron Dickerson, currently serving at O’Fallon First UMC.
Reynolds, one of 17 people who were called into the ministry during Black’s active ministry, said, “Not many in our Conference or worldwide conferences in our Methodist connection has seen the Holy Spirit call that many into full-time Christian service under one person’s ministry.
“However, Rev. Black would not brag on that as his own accomplishments, for he is a most humble and Christ-like gentleman.”
Black said he received his call to ministry at age 9.
“I was a little shy at that time. I remember that when I felt the call, I said ‘No, Lord, you want Duane Walton. He’s been president of the youth group and he can play the guitar and I can’t do any of that.’ But God wouldn’t let me go.”
He had discovered many years ago what George Burns confirmed in 2004, that among youth and children who accept Christ at an early age, 83 percent do so at a camping or retreat setting.
Black became acquainted with Beulah Camp as a child and has served throughout the years as teacher, registrar, curriculum dean, business manager and director of the camp. He has served continuously on the holiness camp’s board of trustees since 1963 and will complete 50 years of service this summer.
Following military service in World War II, Black returned and enrolled at McKendree College in the fall of 1946. He was assigned to his first appointment at Freeburg and New Athens as a student pastor.
Following graduation in 1950, Black began seminary at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. After two years, Asbury lost its accreditation, so Black finished his seminary education at Candler School of Theology while pasturing a five-point charge outside Eatonton, Ga.
Black served the following appointments during his ministry: Freeburg-New Athens,
1946-50; associate pastor, Lexington, Ky., Epworth 1950-51; Mt. Edwin, near Versailles, Ky., 1951-52; five churches in West Putnam Circuit, Estonton, Ga., 1952-53, and in Illinois, Brookport-Powers-Zion, 1952-57; Marion Aldersgate, 1957-66; Centralia Faith-Posey, 1966-69; St. Elmo First, 1969-78, Oblong Central-Seed Chapel, 1978-82; Eldorado First-Beulah Heights, 1982-89; and Herrin First, 1989-95.
In 1969, Black’s second nine-year appointment was to St. Elmo, an oil boom town, in which many businesses and industries had left following its zenith in the late 1940s. The church was in financial trouble and a previous pastor had caused a major split in the church. In 1972, under Rev. Black’s leadership, the congregation hosted a lay witness mission and that experience seemed to be a turning point in bringing healing to the church.
While in St. Elmo, Black became a part of the community, serving as chair of the history committee for the St. Elmo Centennial in 1971 and did much of the writing in the “Crowning a Century” book.
He also successfully led efforts to keep St. Elmo “dry” by opposing an initiative that sought to lift the prohibition on the sale of alcohol within the city limits, a stand that was unpopular with many.
Although St. Elmo has since permitted the sale of alcohol, Rev. Black warned that permitting such sales would change the community’s complexion greatly. A recent Facebook post by a long-time resident lamenting on the community’s current state of affairs, notes this, saying, “Something changed when we began allowing alcohol to be sold in town. It’s just not the same community anymore.”
Many building renovations also were made to an aging 1902 church building during the nine years of ministry. Also, one young man, the Rev. Lee Lovett, and a young woman who initially declined, Cyndi Sinclair Wiedman, who are now serving in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, were called to preach during Rev. Black’s tenure.
Lovett is pastor at Kankakee Trinity-Aroma Park-Bradley Evangelical UMC. Wiedman is part-time local pastor in Cumberland Parish in Cumberland County and will assume pastoral duties July 1 for Greenup and Cottonwood UM churches.
Black credits his wife Helen for being able to accomplish what he has in ministry. The couple will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary in September of this year.
When Rev. Black retired in 1995, Randy Watson of St. Elmo wrote the following on Black’s retirement:
When God looks down upon his many children, and decides who will wear the mantle of preacher, He takes great lengths to see that they are the best to serve.
He looks for someone who comes alive telling the story of GOD, and who spreads the word with excitement and passes that excitement on to others who stop to listen.
He looks for a heart that can love beyond all the faults and problems and can convey love with warmth and caring as only the Father should.
Someone who stands true to their convictions, never faltering at times of doubt, but growing stronger through the words and the beliefs, becoming a rock that others cling to.
They must have eyes that can look to the past to learn, the future for direction, and in the present, looking through the many problems and disguises, using the true vision, finding answers among the questions.
One must have the gift of speaking so it flows easily and smoothly from the lips and heart, it must have the softness as to calm or console, and the harshness to awaken and encourage those to follow.
GOD looks at all these things, looking for those who walk in the footsteps of his son JESUS, for through his light and glory, they will find the true and only way.
In you, GOD has found a true gem and your work has made the crown of the Lord shine brighter each of your many years, and now it is time for you to watch what you have brought to be.