New minister of Epworth Church, Pastor Tim Voll with wife, Donna and daughter Lydia.
"Love is patient. Love is kind." (I Corinthians 13:4). Epworth Church has been patient. Their last minister left in August. The congregation prayed for a new, kind and loving cleric to pastor to their religious needs. After nine months they think their prayers have finally been answered.
Tim Voll, who has preached at the church since February as a temporary fill in, was appointed as Epworth's permanent pastor on May 1. The friendly little brick church is located at 1414 E. National Ave., across from the Double N Diner.
The 38-year-old Terre Haute native graduated from Rose Hulman Institute of Technology in 1988 with a degree in chemistry. He is employed at E.C. Laboratory in Farmersburg and teaches math and science at IVY Tech College.
Pastor Voll was certified as a lay-speaker by the United Methodist Church in 1996. Epworth will be his first assignment.
Voll and his wife, Donna, live in Terre Haute with daughter Lydia, 11. They are all involved in the ministry, maintenance and growth of the church.
"It's a small church with about 30 or so members," Voll said. "We're hoping to grow and get some younger members.
"Right now we're working on repainting the church. So we've adopted the slogan of 'Fresh paint and a fresh start.' We're working on fellowship and reaching out to the neighborhood community," Voll continued, "the people who live right close to the church."
Donna Voll discussed some of the programs the church will be offering in the near future.
"We'll have an ice cream social and kids play day on Saturday, Aug. 9," Donna said. "There will be lots of games. Everyone's invited. We certainly hope all the neighborhood children will drop in. "The regular 10:30 church service on Aug. 17 will be held at Forest Park. And we hope to have a revival in the fall."
Getting a new minister is not necessarily a new experience for the old church. There have been several in its 113 year history. But one thing that's not been replaced is the church Bible.
The original church burned to the ground in 1937.
Louise Davis, a member of the Epworth congregation for 67 years says she remembers when it happened.
"It was my mother's birthday," Louise said. "She was born on her mother's birthday so we were celebrating two birthdays. We lived on Epworth Street then, just a few blocks from the church. Word came down the street that the church was on fire."
Louise's husband, Frank, said the cause of the fire was never determined but it was suspected that it started from a hot coal from the stove.
Mary Shobe, another long time Epworth member, said she was 15 at the time of the fire.
"It was about 8 p.m. Oct. 17, 1937. I remember traffic had to be detoured through the Car-Na-Var factory, where Metal Industries is now, because the fire hose was laying across U.S. 40.
"The church burned to the ground," Shobe said. "But the pulpit remained, scorched but standing. And the church Bible was setting on the pulpit with its pages open. The edges were scorched but it was OK. God must have been protecting it. We still have that Bible at church."
Some of the congregation were asked about the new pastor and his wife.
"I think he's very good and I think they're trying very hard to build the church up," Shobe said. "They're just awful nice. Both of them."
Louise Davis thinks Voll is a go getter. "They're both as sweet as can be," she said. "We're really happy with them."
Church member Dorothy Jerry is pleased with the new leader. "He has a lot of energy and a lot of good ideas for the church to help it to grow. I think he will be excellent for the church."
Annabell Havercamp is the church historian. "The congregation really likes him," Havercamp said of Pastor Voll. He's full of ambition, and his wife too. I think we've got the right man."
The new pastor, with the help of an old Bible, will patiently work for the Lord at Epworth Church with kindness and love.