Odin Christian Church

The Odin Christian Church was organized a few years after 1860, during the reconstruction period after the Civil War, when Odin was a village of approximately 270 population.

It was organized in a barn on the Rankin farm. James M. Hawley was the organizer and Nina Rankin Nichols played the harpsichord. There were seventeen charter members. Among the group were Mrs. Rankin, John and Will Rankin, Mr. and Mrs. James M. Hawley, Joseph Morgan, Martin Ridenour, S. E. Hill, Tom Ferguson and J. A. Crow.

As members were added the group met for sometime in the school building, Tipton Hall and Presbyterian Church. On February 24, 1878, the church was organized and they met in W. E. Smith’s hall paying $1.00 for Sunday service and the same price for mid-week service.

There were 88 members at this time. John A. Crow was elected elder, Nathan Lane, John Overlin, Tom J. Winks and Martin Ridenour were elected deacons.

Our present church was built in 1879 at a cost of $1200. The two lots were donated by James M. Hawley and Seth Hill. Much of the carpenter work was donated, and with cash donations and help in other ways from many, the debt was soon paid off. Frank Avery and Thomas Crow built the first baptistery. The church grew with the capable leadership of William Ferguson and Seth Hill. The Sunday school was organized and soon grew to 100 scholars. Seth Hill was superintendent for many years. James M. Hawley preached for the congregation for one year without pay to help the cause along. Early teachers in the Sunday school were Nina Rankin Nichols, Mrs. Lester, Belle Avery and Emma Hawley Purvis.

The church had a choir they were very proud of, as each member sang by note. They were trained by the late Vitalis Ridenour, a member of the early congregation. They sang for banners many places and Odin received their share of the banners.

The church was dedicated some time after it was built with this thought in mind, "We set apart this house for the worship of God and for the service of this community. We will devote it to the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to the education of Christians in spiritual truth, and to the growth in Christian character.

Among the early members of the congregation were: Mr. and Mrs. John Lester, George and Harriet Johnson, Becky and Flory Overlin, David and Elmira Hawley, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Hawley, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Winks, Mrs. R. P. Hazzard, Mr. and Mrs. William Ferguson, Mrs. Isaiah Love, Mrs. Millie Barton, Mrs. Melinda Williams Avery, Mrs. Margaret Hawley Hoskinson, Mrs. Melvina Lambert Sloan, Mrs. Susan Harroun, Mrs. Seth Hill, Mrs. Hurd (the wife of Dr. U. K. Hurd), Mrs. Lucinda Durand who had united with the church in 1828 at Mentor, Ohio. She knew many of the early reformers. She was the mother of Mrs. Seth Hills. She presented the church with a silver communion service that we used for many years.

Early ministers serving the church were Clark Braden, A. P. Avery, Prof. Reubelt, J. F. Rosborough, E. A. Jordon, Chorlan Fannon, J. E. Story, Irl Sidwell and O. Ross Kern.

Through one period in our history the church was able to carry on due to the faithfulness of the late: Henry Bennett, Samuel Thompson, Flory and Clara Overlin, Eva Denman, Lottie Duncan, Emma Purvis, Bertha Clabaugh, Della Curtis, Mary Wickenhauser, Lou Harris and a few others.

The congregation grew and the church was remodeled and redecorated November 24, 1940, with a basket dinner at noon and program in the afternoon. Mrs. Marie Tate had charge of the program. Generous donations from Martha, Ben, Reuben and Mable Young and the late Horace and Cora Toulme along with many donations from our many substantial members provided us with our present building, later class rooms, baptistery and rest rooms were added. The past year a new Baldwin organ and carpets have been added.

Our church has had a parsonage for the last few years. One of our present members is J. W. Ross, ninety—four years old. At the present time Hershel Thompson is our minister. Many of the younger people have become members of the church and are truly dedicated to the cause.

Written by Lena Purvis Lockhart, granddaughter of James M. Hawley.