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  • MUMC 150 History Committee

Unexpected Building Help

The one room wooden church stood watch over the fledgling congregation  for the next half century … through two world wars, the roaring 20’s, and the great depression. Finally in the 1950’s the congregation just plain outgrew the little church.  The plans for the new church were made, materials to build with were purchased and paid for, and Pastor Jim Turner, our first full time minister, found he had a major problem on his hands.  The congregation had no money to pay someone to lay the bricks for all the new construction.  

“At this crucial time, a man named Russell Brooks appeared and offered to lay the  bricks without charge.  A Catholic, Mr. Brooks said he was from a small Mennonite community where everyone helped to build the churches without regard for denomination. He lived in the parsonage with Pastor Turner and his family.” 

As soon as Mr. Brooks had laid the last brick  on the Sunday School Building, down the road came bounty hunters to return him to prison in W. Virginia. Mr Brooks was an escaped convict!

The pastor worked long and hard with the West Virginia judge to obtain a parole for Mr. Brooks who was allowed to return and complete the sanctuary portion of the structure. After nationwide newspaper coverage of the story, MUMC became known as the church built by the escaped convict. 

    ~MUMC Sesquicentennial History Committee

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