Grace United Methodist Church, Security Bank and Trust, Capaha Bank celebrate anniversaries

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Several churches and businesses celebrated landmark anniversaries in 2005.

The congregation of Grace United Methodist Church reached its 150th anniversary. "Celebrating 150 years gave us a chance to have a big party to celebrate the church's rich heritage and the ministries of the last 150 years," said the church's pastor, the Rev. Scott Moon.

Throughout 2005, the church brought in former ministers to preach and held special fellowship activities and worship programs. On Oct. 16, the church rented the Arena Building and held a sit-down meal and a dramatization coordinated by Central Junior High choral director Mike Dumey.

The church dates back to 1855, when it was founded by German immigrants as the German Mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Cape Girardeau. The name was shortly thereafter changed to Ebeneezer Methodist Episcopal Church. In the 1968, it became Grace United Methodist Church.

Members led cultural and church progress in Cape Girardeau in the 1950s, Moon said. While several churches began to include children's ministries, in 1955 Grace erected an education building before building the sanctuary at its current location at Broadway and Caruthers Avenue. Today, members intentionally include single parents and grandparents in its children and youth ministries, Moon said. The church also acquired a house on Caruthers Avenue to be used by the youths.

Just as people question their lives as they reach middle age, Moon said, Grace re-evaluated its direction during the anniversary celebrations, which "gave us a chance to look at our present ministries and begin shaping them for the future." Even though the church doesn't have the number of youths, staff and resources available to some of the larger churches in the area, Moon said its members emphasize relationships, especially in the youth and children's ministries.

In 2005, members of Illmo United Methodist Church reflected on 100 years as a small-town church. "It was truly a highlight for many people," said the church's pastor, the Rev. Jim Woeltje. About 220 people attended a celebration on Oct. 16 at the little white church on a hill in Scott City. Former members came from as far as North Carolina and St. Peters, Mo. Activities included a worship service, sit-down meal and displays showcasing the church's history.

The church was established in 1905 by several women in Illmo, a town that eventually merged with other small towns to become Scott City. When the railroad routes were redirected, the church's membership declined, said Woeltje, who has pastored the church for 10 years. The church's "lifeline has been a core of very faithful families," he said. While the church's building can hold up to 200 people, membership is about 30 people, with an average of 18 on Sundays, Woeltje said. To commemorate the centennial, the worship building received a moderate facelift, including new wall paint, new pew cushions and new carpet.

Security Bank and Trust also celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2005. It is the only remaining state bank in Scott County, said SB&T president Larry Uelsman.

The bank opened in 1945 as the First State Bank of Edna, Mo., a small town that later joined other communities in becoming Scott City. It eventually became the First State Bank of Fornfelt and then became Scott City Bank and Trust Co. Its final name change to Security Bank and Trust occurred in 1992 when the commissioner of finance for the state approved the merger of Scott City Bank and Trust with the Security Bank of Bollinger County. The original five board members included Henry Uelsman, Uelsman's grandfather.

SB&T is currently expanding its services to include online banking, direct deposit, automatic bill pay and image statements, Uelsman said. The Cape Girardeau branch facility, which is located next to the Southeast Missourian, hosted a display of historic Parade magazine covers for the newspaper's centennial celebrations.

While Capaha Bank has been in Cape Girardeau for less than a decade, the business celebrated its 50th anniversary in November. "It's satisfying to look back on our accomplishments and to feel confident in what we can accomplish in the next 10 years," said president John Abercrombie.

The bank dates back to Nov. 9, 1955, when it was founded by 12 businessmen as the Tamms State Bank in Tamms, Ill. Its name became Capaha Bank in 1997 when a branch opened in Cape Girardeau. Abercrombie said the bank's assets have nearly quadrupled since then. Abercrombie said his father, J. Reid Abercrombie, is the only founder still alive, but he still attends board meetings long after his retirement.

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