History of Pleasant Valley Church
Rev. A. O. Springston, a true pioneer minister, covered many weary miles on foot across the prairie to serve both the Akron and Bryant Circuits. Pleasant Valley was part of the Bryant Circuit, along with Payton Valley, Plainview and Bryant. These four areas were without regular preaching until December of 1907 when Rev. Springston began giving the churches one service each month. He continued this until May 1908 when A. J. York became the pastor.
The Lord of Glory was born in a stable in Bethlehem, and so too, Pleasant Valley got its humble beginnings in a stable. There is no disgrace in humble beginnings. Records show that on June 6, 1909 a class was organized by A. J. York at Pleasant Valley. It first met two miles south of where the church now stands in a barn owned by Mable and Maude McDonald. The McDonald barn had not been used to stable livestock, but, nevertheless, the structure was hard to heat in winter and made unsuitable quarters. On top of this, one old timer recalled that it was necessary to search for rattlesnakes before each service as the snakes tended to accumulate around the building.
The one room frame church of Pleasant Valley was built in 1910 on land donated by Alva Ford. The financing of the building was done largely through passing the collection plate. Most of the work was done by Mike Weekly and Charles Spelts.
Upon completion, the congregation boasted nineteen members and a salaried preacher. Rev. York was paid a yearly salary of $69.65 by the churches he served; Pleasant Valleyís share was $12.40. The first service at the new church was a gala affair. A quartet consisting of Wesley and Ralph Weekly, Lena Buchanan and Zella Lane Lackey, drove out from Yuma in a carriage rented from the local livery stable to perform.
The Reverend Smith, J. D. Scarbarough, J. Adams, and I. E. Hartman served the church as pastors during the 1920ís. It was during this time period, in 1928, that skids were placed under the church and teams of horses pulled the building off to the side. A basement was dug using horse-pulled scrapers. After the cement basement and foundation were poured and set, those same teams of horses were used to pull the church back onto its foundation.
In the 1930ís, Pleasant Valley became yoked with Bethany Church south of Yuma. A manse was purchased in Yuma for their shared ministers. In a letter dated July 29, 1985 Tracy Hardy reflected on those times: "I and my wife Florence were with you for a short time during the bad years of the dusty 30ís when our treasurer carried the churchís nickels and dimes in a small tin can." Walter C. Hines also served during the dirty thirties. On June 4, 1939, Pleasant Valley celebrated its 30th Anniversary; J. P. Allison was Pastor.
In 1946 the United Brethren Church and the Evangelical Church merged and became the Evangelical United Brethren Church, so Pleasant Valley became an EUB Church. Pastors during this time were F. Coy, Harold Jensen, R. H. Hoton, and Forrest Hines. Forrest and his brother Walter C. were members of the Pleasant Valley Church who followed the call to be ministers. A kitchen was made in the basement in 1947.
Those who served in the 1950ís were William R. Person, Wayne Schwindt, C. Laffoon, and H. Edigar. A stairway and outside fire escape were added in 1953. Willis Goettel was serving as Pastor when Pleasant Valley celebrated its 50th Anniversary on August 28, 1960. There were 53 members at this time. Forrest Hines returned to serve a second time from 1963-1966. In 1966, Wages and Pleasant Valley were yoked and shared student ministers until 1981. Jim Whattoff and Martin Hollar were the first two student ministers. The ministers used a house rented for them by the two churches until 1973 when a mobile home was purchased and placed on land leased from Percy Salvador. Improvements made to the church were pews donated by Kelly trustees in 1962 and a furnace in 1963. The foyer was built on the south side of the church in 1968. Also in 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged with the Methodist making Pleasant Valley a United Methodist Church. Chuck Cooper, who started at Pleasant Valley in 1970 as a student minister, ended his career as our District Superintendent. His comments: "Pleasant Valley was an outstanding place to begin, everyone was kind and understanding even when I ran out of gas or got stuck in a snow bank." A new Baldwin piano was purchased in 1971 and paneling was added to the basement in 1972.
Richard Van Winkle, who served from 1973-1975, wrote that one of the first questions he was asked was, "How long do you preach?" He answered, "I donít knowóIíve never preached before." The person said, "Thatís ok, if I donít like what you say at least you are good to look at!" During the years 1976-1977 a fellowship hall, kitchen and restrooms were added. A furnace, well, and sewer were included. This addition was dedicated in July 1977 by Henry Baker, superintendant, and Gary Whetstone, minister. Partitions and carpeting were put in the basement, and central air conditioning and sidewalks were added in 1979 while Scott Hood was pastor.
Our first female Pastor, Kathie Wilson, was hired as a fulltime minister for Wages and Pleasant Valley in 1980. At this time, the sanctuary was redone with new walls, paneling, and drapes. New pews, pulpit and Methodist hymnals were purchased in 1981. Al Woolman came in 1982.
Jim Parrish was minister for the 75th Anniversary Service on September 1, 1985. Pleasant Valley had 39 members at that time. Other ministers serving the two churches during the 1980ís were Darrell Dennis, Jim Siebert, and Ray Wightman.
In 1991, Wages discontinued services and Pleasant Valley became yoked with the Leroy Methodist Church. Paul Evans was serving LeRoy and added Pleasant Valley to his service at this time. During the nineties, a storage shed was built, phone service was installed and a new Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church sign was donated. Ministers who served during this time were David Liestra, Dan Ashton, Ruth Marsh, and Curt Fonken. In 1996, new drapes were purchased for the sanctuary.
In 2000, a TV, VCR, and overhead projector brought the church into the technological age. A retired minister, Jim Cosner of Akron, filled the pulpit from January through June of 2002. Pleasant Valley Church became a part of the Northeast Colorado United Methodist Cooperative Parish in 2002. Pastor Keith Hudiburgh served in Haxtun and as Parish Leader. His wife Joyce became Pastor for Pleasant Valley. In 2004, new vertical blinds were installed in the fellowship hall. In 2005, the basement was remodeled and, in 2008, a cross and new doors were added to the church. A cardiac defibrillator was installed in 2009 for the use of the community. New floor coverings and drapes were installed in 2010. A stained glass window, a labor of love, was placed above the main doors of the church to commemorate the 100th Anniversary in September 2010.
On this date, September 12, 2010, as we celebrate 100 years of serving the community, our membership stands at 45, with many loyal constituents. With our small membership, everyone gets to serve our church and our Lord in some way. Everyone is invited to participate in our Christmas celebrations. Many attend the Easter Sunrise Service held on Old Baldy in conjunction with the Buffalo Grass Church. An After Harvest Celebration is held in the fall and the Ladies Aid hosts a steak supper for their Bazaar in November. Vacation Bible School is one of our greatest outreach projects and each June finds the church and church yard alive with about fifty children plus teachers. Each July the church sponsors the "Cancer Crusaders for Christ" team at the annual Relay for Life in Yuma. Pleasant Valley is famous for their "Hillbilly Band," which has performed on numerous occasions. During the year there are many other activities including mission trips, Family Fun Nights, and a chance to ride on the float in the Yuma County Fair Parade.
Pleasant Valley Cemetery, located one quarter mile north of the church, is well-maintained with many past members buried there. The land was donated by an early-day settler and the windbreak and fence have been given in memory of deceased members. In 1998, Pleasant Valley became a part of the Yuma County Cemetery District. In 2008, as a service project of the church, all of the old temporary markers were replaced with stone markers set in cement.
The Pleasant Valley Hustlers 4-H Club has used the church for its meetings for many years. The club has made many contributions to the church, including planting the trees to the north, raising funds, and training to use the defibrillator. The club has placed and maintains directional signs on four roads.
Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church takes pride in its history, in the many mergers and melding of denominations. We are proud of our church building and many improvements. We are proud of our Missions, Bible School, and support of Ladies Aid, 4-H, and the Cancer Crusaders -- but we are most proud of the closeness of our church family and the community as we join together to worship our Lord. You are invited to become a part of us. Our doors are always open and everyone is welcome.