St. Elmo News

Thursday, December 3
• St. Elmo Business Association, noon, Mary Ann’s Restaurant.
• The Wheatland Unit of Home and Community Education, 11 a.m., Joe’s Pizza at Altamont.
• The St. Elmo Women’s Civic Club will meet at St. Mary’s Catholic Church parking lot at 5:20 p.m. to carpool to Vandalia. The Christmas party will be at 6 p.m. at the Vandalia Capitol View Steak House.
Friday, December 4
• Last day for Freedom Reigns in Christ Church to collect donations for the clothing giveaway tomorrow; items can be taken to the church from 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday, December 5
• Freedom Reigns in Christ Church, east of St. Elmo on U.S. Route 40, will have the annual clothing giveaway from 8 a.m.-noon. There will be hot dogs, cookies, coffee and Kool-Aid provided free of charge. If you have questions, you can call Melissa Carson at 217-663-0795 or the church at 829-9757.
• Royal Neighbors of America #5784 annual Christmas dinner will be at noon in the First Church of God S.H.E.D.; reservations had to be made for the $6 catered meal by calling Della Stewart by Wednesday. Those attending the dinner are asked to take a non-perishable food or a new toy for the Caring and Sharing Christmas boxes.
Sunday, December 6
• Following the 10:30 a.m. worship service at the First United Methodist Church, there will be in the Fellowship Hall a soup luncheon for Children/Youth Sunday.
• Wolf Creek Cluster of United Methodist Churches Advent Service, 4 p.m., St. Elmo First United Methodist Church. Pastor Dan Laack will deliver the sermon. Finger food refreshments will be served in the Fellowship Hall after the service.
• Christmas in St. Elmo will be on Sunday, Dec. 6, and the celebration kicks off at 4 p.m. There will be the lighting of the Christmas tree, a parade of light, music, carriage rides and crafts and food, and Santa will be there!
Tuesday, December 8
• The Avena Township Park Board, 6 p.m., St. Elmo Community Park Centennial Building.
• American Legion Post #420, 7 p.m., Legion Home.
• Fayette County Board, 7 p.m., Fayette County Courthouse, Vandalia.
Wednesday, December 9
• Reverb Youth 56, 5:30-6:30 p.m.; Reverb Youth 78, 6:45-8 p.m., St. Elmo Christian Church.
Thursday, December 10
• Lunch Bunch, noon, Mary Ann’s Restaurant.
• The Effingham Chapter #110 Order of the Eastern Star, 7:30 p.m., Effingham Masonic Temple.
Future Event
• American Red Cross Blood Drive, 1-6 p.m., Monday, Dec. 14, St. Mary’s Catholic Church Parish Hall.
Fayette County HCE
Fayette County Home and Community Education now has 111 members; Vandalia Day Unit has a new member, Annah Smith.
The Fayette County Home and Community Education Board met the morning of Nov. 23 in the Vandalia Extension Office, with the following present: President Flo Allen, of the Sefton Unit; Carol Bridges, Ashley Davis, Anita Smith and Debbie Segrest of the Vandalia Day Unit; Karen Hyde of the Wheatland Unit; and Anna Jean Rhodes of the St. Elmo Unit. The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Rhodes thanked all HCE members who contributed desserts for the Fayette County Extension Foundation’s chili/soup dinner.
There was not a lot of business transacted, but the group waited until 11 a.m. to adjourn – the Fayette County mother of the first baby born during IAHCE Week was unable to be present at the October meeting and was to attend the November meeting to receive the baby quilt; for some reason she didn’t.
The December Board Christmas party will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 14, at the Vandalia Ponderosa. Instead of a $5 gift exchange, those attending can make a donation to the Vandalia Lighthouse Pregnancy Center.
After adjournment, all present ate lunch at the Vandalia Chuckwagon.
Lions Club
St. Elmo Lions Club, at the Nov. 23 meeting held at Mary Ann’s Restaurant, made final plans for Caring and Sharing that the club sponsors. Distribution will be at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19, at the St. Elmo American Legion Home for those applicants that received a confirmation letter in the mail. Applicants need to take the confirmation letter with them at the time to pick up the box.
The Club’s Christmas dinner will be held the evening of Monday, Dec. 21, at Mary Ann’s Restaurant. The St. Elmo High School scholarship recipients will be honored at this time.
President Dave Maxey opened the meeting by leading in the Pledge of Allegiance and Dan Laack led in prayer. Others present were Charles Brewbaker, Dave Cox, Pee Wee Denton, Roger Fulk, Holly Huffer, Mark Lash, Bob Lowe, Richard Lowe, Le Mar Marchman, Al Nevergall, Dee Newberry, Lloyd Stanley, Bob Wells, Will Williams and Randy Wolf.
Poinsettia Open House at Cumberland Trail Growers
For 2½ hours on Sunday afternoon Nov. 22, about 100 signed in at the Cumberland Trail Growers open house to view the more than 40,000 poinsettias in all sizes and colors, such as different shades of red, burgundy, light pink, hot pink, white, striped, etc.
Cookies, punch and cake were served at tables that held poinsettias.
Those attending could sign a slip of paper and put it in a container; names drawn for the poinsettia door prizes were Norma Engeljohn, Connie Hough, Lisa Smith, Shirley Reed, Letty Cameron, Sarah Wright, Ina Abendroth and Cindy White.
Jack Belden has sold Cumberland Trail Growers to Bonnie Plants, so this is the last time the greenhouse will grow poinsettias. Bonnie Plants is growing herbs.
St. Elmo HCE
The St. Elmo Unit of Home and Community Eeducation met the afternoon of Nov. 24 in the St. Elmo Public Library. Before the business meeting Barb Kilzer did the October special feature on “Reflexology.” Sharon Shelton was to do the lesson, but got her neighbor, Kilzer, to do it for her in November.
Kilzer has the Serenity Therapeutic Massage in St. Elmo and her business card says “Discover your path to health through relaxation.” Each one received a discount coupon good for $5 off any treatment.
First Vice Chairman Karen Wegscheid answered a fire department alarm, so Second Vice Shelton opened the business meeting with all giving the Pledge of Allegiance.
Roll call was “What is your favorite sandwich?” and a variety was named. The Fayette County HCE Board notes were read from the meeting held Nov. 23.
Mary Myers showed a clothing protector she had made; units in the county are making them for nursing home residents to use when they are eating.
The November special feature lesson, “For the Love of Friends,” was passed out as were the January, February, March newsletters. Pennies for Friendship are now being collected at each meeting. The new 2016 program books were partially filled out.
Hostess Shelton served apple cake and iced tea. In addition to Shelton, Kilzer, Wegscheid and Myers, those present were Sarah Beasley, Connie Hough and Anna Jean Rhodes.
Guests were Beasley’s children, Dannika and Kamden, and Myers’s grandson, Zachery Myers.
For the December Christmas party, HCE will eat at 11:30 at the Vandalia Capitol View Steakhouse. They will meet at St. Mary’s Catholic Church parking lot at 11 a.m. to share rides.
Vit-Em-In 65th Anniversary – Rhodes-Side Gleanings
The evening of Thursday, March 30, 1950, the Methodist Church had a banquet for young adults. It was in the church basement that was the fellowship hall. The purpose was to start a couples Sunday school class.
In addition to children’s classes, the only adult classes were the Men’s Bible Class, the Friendly Bible Class for older women and the Come Join Us Class for younger women.
Names were discussed and Vit-Em-In – a short “invite them in” – was selected. The name was suggested by Neil Willms. This was the first couples’ class.
All of the children sat in the front seats of the sanctuary and Sunday school opened with songs for everyone to sing. After the scripture reading and prayer by the Sunday school superintendent, they and their teachers left for their Sunday school rooms.
In the 1950s and 1960s the Vit-Em-In Class had at least 40 members and usually filled the west side of the sanctuary.
After the kids went to their rooms, the door was pulled down from the ceiling to close off the overflow room.
The Come Join Us Class was in the overflow room and had 40 or more members.
The Men’s Bible Class (10 or more) sat in the back rows of the middle section and the Friendly Bible Class (about 15) sat in the pews in the east section of the sanctuary.
In the 1980s, Vit-Em-In started meeting in the area that now is the church office. Several years ago, when the church was remodeled and the trustees decided to move the office out of the choir room to the north side, the class moved into the overflow room; most of the Come Join Us Class members were deceased and the few still living joined the Vit-Em-In, as did some of the Men’s Bible Class.
L. K. “Dutch” Philbrook was the first class teacher. When Philbrooks moved to Decatur Forrest Ftitz, a former resident who moved back to St. Elmo, became the teacher as long as he was able. Substitute Jim Smith became the main teacher after Fritz died. Substitute teachers included Frank Krost; Doris Duncan, who now lives in Texas; and the late Jeanne Cox.
The current class teacher, Richard Lowe, was a member of the Men’s Bible Class until it dissolved and became a member of the Vit-Em-In.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the monthly socials, that included kids, had 60-70 attending.
For years, program books were made; each month listed the host couples that provided refreshments for the meetings that started at 7:30 p.m. and babysitters were provided. For years, the meetings were on the second Thursdays.
In December 1963, the social was a children’s Christmas party and there was a puppet show for the kids.
April 1964 was Youth Night and featured junior and senior high school speech and music students. There were devotions at all of the meetings.
Some of the meeting programs were book reviews. The August meetings usually were ice cream socials in the park and babysitters were provided to watch the playgrounds. Fish fries and wiener roasts were in the fall.
Twenty-four years ago, on Friday, Nov.22, 1991, the class had a turkey dinner at Gilbert’s Restaurant in Altamont (cost was $7.50 each, including tips, etc).
About 50 of the following 62 who were invited attended: Bill and Iris Belden, Jim and Nancy Brasel, Ayres and Bonnie Buzzard, Ray and Rose Mary Conlin, Bert and Kit Crosswait, Greg and Pam Courtright, Bob and Jeanne Cox, Charles and Lil Diller, Otis and Imogene Dothager, Charles and Doris Duncan, Maxine Feller, Forrest and Lois Fritz, Bud and Delores Gillespie, Harold Hall, Bob and Lynne Heltzel, Rev. Charles and Helen Hutson, Howard and Doris Jones, Jim and Helen Koonce, Frank and Delva Krost, Virginia Lovett, Le Mar and Billye Jo Marchman, Jim and Mary Ann Martin, Imogene Orr, Leman and Mabel Philbrook, Jim and Ruth Ann Ragsdale, Anna Jean Rhodes, Hersch and Marge Satterlee, Everett and Anna Belle Shelton, Helen Smith, Jim and Sylvia Smith, Jack and Biff Sproat, Lloyd and Mona Stanley, Douglas and Rea Jo Waldo, Rena Whiston and Freda Willms.
Of those listed, more than half now are deceased and several of the still living have moved to other states to be close to family members.
After the kids quit doing the Sunday school opening, the Vit-Em-In class continued to sing three songs. After the first two, the scripture was read before the third hymn was sung. A few years ago, another change was made – only two songs are sung, then announcements and a prayer before the scripture is read.
Many years ago, the class changed from meeting on the second Thursday to meeting on the third Thursdays with a 6 p.m. potluck. The class now meets for a 5 p.m. potluck most months (usually at noon January through March).
The class started out as a “large, young group”; after 65 years, it now is a “small, older group.”
The average Sunday school class attendance now is seven and the monthly potluck attendance usually ranges from seven to 16.
The big project the class has done for the church is the Chrismon tree. It was started in 1983 and was dedicated during the morning worship on Sunday, December 3.
The white and gold chrismons were made by many, many people of the church. Each year the Vit-Em-In members decorated the tree and also decorated the choir railing and the windows, but, because the job was getting harder for the older members to do the decorating, the last class minutes reporting the decorating of the tree was Nov. 30, 2006.
The Spares and Pairs class must have taken on the job in 2007. The Vit-Em-In members really appreciate being relieved of this responsibility.
This is the fourth year the class has invited the entire church to a Thanksgiving supper – the class furnished turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, beverages and table service, and are glad 46 were able to attend this yeat.
The potluck dishes of vegetables, salads and desserts completed the meal.
Usually there isn’t a program, but this year I suggested it be our 65th anniversary observance and give a short program on its history.
Most of the info in this article is from my diaries (I starting keeping one when I was age 12) and from my scrapbooks.
Several class members are homebound or in nursing homes. The oldest class member (who was originally a member of the Come Join Us Class) is MaryEllen Lovett, who will be 102 in February 2016.
The oldest charter member of the class is Doris Jones, who was 96 this past April. She is well-known as the class poet. I wanted her to attend the Thanksgiving dinner and read some of her poems, but she physically was unable to attend. She did let me borrow several of her poems and I read two she had written for the class – “The Tale of Tillie” and “Minutes of the Meeting.”
Jones Poetry Writing
Doris Jones has written many poems throughout the years. In 1972 she entered an eight-line poem, “Defense of Doggerel,” in the Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Contest (open to professionals and amateurs), which included short stories, articles and poetry. In a list of 100 winners, she placed 71st.
The publisher of the magazine, Richard Rosenthal, made this comment: “It’s a good poem, good enough to have won in a large crowd that included 8,000 total entries, many from experienced writers.”
The poem is: If common words in sing-song meter, provoke a laugh – what could be sweeter? If puns are put to make a point, should any nose get out of joint? If common folks like common things, why not write common verse that swings? This view with poets er’e will clash, but did that pun make Ogden gnash?

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