As Brownstown UMC looks back on their history, they find renewed strength to look forward. On Sunday, September 26, 2021, Brownstown UMC joyfully received the Heritage Church Award from the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church.
The church celebrated 196 years of Christian witness with Methodist verve through a worship service and carry-in meal. The choir blessed the congregation with the hymn “Standing on the Promises,” written by Methodist Episcopal preacher Russell Kelso Carter. Local Pastor Paul Huntsman, Brownstown UMC’s 91st pastor, preached a stirring invitation to the church to be empowered by their rich history as they faithfully move into the future. Their church’s efforts to preserve and honor their history include information on all but six of Brownstown’s pastors, including circuit riders such as Peter Cartwright.
Arlan Packard, representing the INUMC Commission on Archives and History, presented the award to Margo Brewer, Church Historian, and Pastor Paul. Packard highlighted the displays of the church’s history throughout the building, anniversary celebrations throughout the years, publications, and special dates remembered about the church’s history. Packard noted that these qualities showed the church’s dedication to their history and their great love and respect for their past.
“With the award comes a challenge,” says Packard, “And that is to continue that work and to make sure the history is always part of the present ministry.”
Brownstown’s historical committee celebrated the ways that God has worked throughout the congregation in the community. The ongoing discipleship and spiritual formation of congregants who have served as school teachers, school administrators, town council members, city clerks, and civic organization leaders impact the local community.
Reflecting on this award the committee wrote, “The history of our church is a guiding light. God has guided us in the past. By looking at past examples, we are better to map and shape our future.”