In 1887 in an early Scioto County Community a group of people went about the procedure of finding out how they could bring an Episcopal Methodist Church to their community. As was usually the case they probably began by meeting in local homes or even a primitive church structure.
Then comes 1896 and the paperwork and plan was in place and they received the deed to build their church in 1897.
This church functioned as a Methodist Church until sometime after 2010. A listing of their many ministers through those years can be found on its walls.
Probably not many have heard of the great fire of Otway. From what I can find sometime in the early 1900’s a local property was burning which caused a great fire destroying homes throughout the small community. Perhaps not even damaged, the church had survived, the only one left standing in town! Even worse is that this Otway Church survived not just one but two Otway fires.
If that wasn’t enough for a community church to endure think about one of Ohio’s purest of streams flowing to the rear of this property. So loved, that the friends of Scioto Brush Creek strive to protect one of Ohio’s only streams holding Muskulunge and various other endangered amphibians such as the very amazing Eastern Hellbender.
The result of this stream has brought flooding to Otway on several occasions. Photos of the 1997 flood show it high into the sanctuary. So on a day recently… Beverly, I, as well as Stephanie and Chris Neff stepped into the now Otway Community Church. At some point along the way this church was raised to dig out and pour a foundation and lay blocks to create a basement.
We were warmly welcomed into this church and had an opportunity to meet the last current member to have also been associated with the church when it was strictly a Methodist Church and those within the church chose to purchase this church from them five or six years ago.
Sunday School blended into church with Dave Strickland leading that. He asked his church a question. Do you think churches today have fear failure?
The Pastor of Otway Community Church is Rick Ross . Discussed in today’s service was Acts 13. Pastor Ross said that all are welcome here. If this is your first time here you are welcome. As this is God’s house all are welcome in God’s house. Obviously he was acknowledging our being there and we appreciated the warm welcome.
Rick said he came into this church as a Baptist and that the church today is non denominational. He explained that we should all pray for our church. Also he said, “Lord lead us and guide us along our way as we truly love you!”
As we looked around the Otway Community Church we saw beauty in the architectural structures, the windows and the woodwork. I thought about how nice it would be to put a few more people in those seats. So let me invite those seeking a church in the area to drop by and visit these folk.
I am sure at church end you will find yourselves as we did walking out the door laughing and talking with those within the church. That is when as we walked past a rope that someone began pulling, releasing the beautiful melody of the church bell. One of my bucket list items had been to ring one of these bells and I had never had the nerve to ask before now. So in my last few minutes of attending the Otway Community Church I became a happy bell ringer. This was certainly good for a smile throughout the rest of that day! Thank you Otway Community Church!
I might add we left church and took a beautiful afternoon tour through Shawnee Forest, past the Bear Lake Fire Tower and ended up at the Shawnee State Park Lodge. By chance we got there just in time to join Jennie Richard’s (Shawnee State Park Naturalist) for her once a month Shawnee Stories by fireside. Check the Shawnee State Park website for all of her events. Jennie is a long time friend and always inspires me with all she does. Her uncle Brian Richard a local poet shared lovely stories about his fifty years of living within the wooded hills and valleys of the amazing Shawnee State Forest. This was a beautiful end to our day’s worship and journey!
As believers, let us share the good news of Jesus Christ as Savior of the World! Each one reach one! See ya in church!
Reach Randy Rucker at Ohiorancher5@gmail.com.