History of Mt. Tabor
Methodist circuit rider Rev. William Mitchell was the first to bring Methodism to our community. He traveled from Steubenville, Ohio and preached in this area in 1812. Four local Methodist families met regularly for religious services and Alexander Cameron was appointed as the group’s first leader. Some years later, a small log church was built on Liberty Street in the village of Osnaburg (renamed East Canton in 1918).
The present location of our church at 108 East Walnut Street (then lots 27 and 28) was purchased from Anton and Barbara Zuber on April 1st, 1859. The following year (1860), Mount Tabor Methodist Episcopal Church was built. The trustees whose names appear on the deed are John Sausser, John Holwich, and Cornelius Sullivan.
The first church was composed of one large room. The two entrance doors faced the north, with the men entering and sitting on the west side and the women on the east side. The pulpit was located at the south end of the long room (the same as our new sanctuary) between two clear glass windows. On either side of the pulpit were three seats facing each other, known as the “amen corners”. Through the center of the church were seats with partitions in them. Two stoves heated the building and four oil lamps were used for lighting.
One of the first improvements made was the removal of the “amen corner” on the ladies’ side to make room for the choir, and the removal of the sanctuary seat partitions. In 1905, a furnace replaced the stoves as the heating source, the ceiling of the sanctuary was raised, and a metal ceiling was installed. Also, at this time, a new slate roof was added.
During the pastorate of Rev. O. W. Dunn, the church was enlarged for the first time by adding three additions in 1914. An extension was added to the east wall to create a larger area for the pulpit, and to add a minister’s study and choir loft. The seating arrangement was changed to face east instead of south, and new pews were installed. Sunday School classrooms were added on the west side of the building. A new entrance and belfry were built onto the northwest corner of the church, and Reason A. Schmuck donated the bell, which is still in use today.
Mount Tabor was an out-appointment for many years, and the early ministers of our church also conducted services in three other churches – Malvern, Mount Zion, and Waco. Our first parsonage, which was located beside Village Hall on Cedar Street, was purchased in 1925, thus making East Canton the head of the charge.
In the fall of 1929, during the pastorate of Rev. Lee Whiteman Jr., the choir loft was changed, a new brick entrance was constructed, and the basement was modernized. It was divided into a kitchen, dining hall and furnace room.
In 1939, the Methodist Episcopal Church reunited with two breakaway Methodist denominations (the Methodist Protestant Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South) to form the Methodist Church, thus Mount Tabor Methodist Episcopal Church became Mount Tabor Methodist Church.
In 1949, during the pastorate of Rev. Arthur Uphoff, a new organ was installed (February 23rd), the sanctuary was redecorated, and a new heating system was installed. The improvements to the church were dedicated on April 24th. That same year, the church became self-supporting and became known as the Mt. Tabor charge.
A new parsonage was purchased on Third Street in 1951, and on August 1st, 1954, the original Sunday School classrooms, belfry, and entrance were raised, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new Educational Building, belfry, and entrance under the pastorate of Rev. Donald A. Burge. Many of the tasks, such as building cupboards for the kitchen and painting the walls became “do-it-yourself” jobs, which were undertaken by the men of the congregation. The building was dedicated on May 15th, 1955, and this new addition more than doubled the size of the church.
Mount Tabor held its Centennial Celebration during the pastorage of Rev. Dwight E. Lewis on January 31st, 1960, and the $70,000 mortgage for the new Educational Building was burned on December 2nd, 1962.
In 1968, The Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church merged to form The United Methodist Church. Mount Tabor thus changed its name once again, and became Mount Tabor United Methodist Church, the name that is still used today.
The original sanctuary remained in use for 112 years until it was raised and replaced by our beautiful new sanctuary during the pastorate of Rev. Paul Crooks in 1972. This renovation once again more than doubled the size of the church, and the addition was consecrated on February 25th. In addition, the belfry was extended, and a large illuminated white fiberglass steeple was placed on top.
The circular stained-glass window from the original 1860 sanctuary was beautifully restored and moved safely inside the church, built into the dividing wall between the Parlor and the Narthex.
The total expenditure for the replacement of the sanctuary amounted to $262,254 and the amount of the mortgage burned in 1981 was $160,000. The church treasurer, Mr. Donald A. Thoma, who gave 40 years of service handing the church funds, had the privilege of signing the check and burning the mortgage.
The 1954 educational building and the 1972 sanctuary are still in use today but have since underwent multiple renovations. Renovations include the installation of a new electronic organ (the pipes from the old organ were kept as decoration) and grand piano, the renovation of the church offices, the replacement of the sanctuary carpet and basement tile floors, the addition of an elevator and wheelchair ramps to make the church handicap-accessible, the addition of air conditioning to the sanctuary, an extensive renovation to the kitchen, and most recently, the addition of custom house audiovisual systems in the sanctuary, Fellowship Hall, and Youth Room. Also, the parsonage moved once again, and is currently located on Shadyside Street Northeast.
Ministers of Mt. Tabor
- Mt. Tabor on a circuit (1812 – 1909)
- Rev. A. W. Harris (1910)
- Rev. Stahl (1910 – 1911)
- Rev. A. C. Willey (1911 – 1912)
- Rev. Walters (1912 – 1913)
- Rev. W. Dunn (1913 – 1917)
- Rev. W. S. Carroll (1917 – 1919)
- Rev. Boyle (1919 – 1922)
- Rev. G. C. Westlake (1922 – 1925)
- Rev. Robert H. Balmer (1925 – 1928)
- Rev. S. Lee Whiteman Jr. (1928 – 1930)
- Rev. V. A. Wood (1930 – 1932)
- Rev. G. H. Klotz (1933 – 1937)
- Rev. A. A. Reveley (1938)
- Rev. Ralph Gray (1939 – 1944)
- Rev. Homer Doak (1944 – 1946)
- Rev. Arthur Uphoff (1946 – 1949)
- Rev. William Attichson (1949 – 1951)
- Rev. Donald Burge (1951 – 1958)
- Rev. Dwight E. Lewis (1958 – 1961)
- Rev. Joseph A. Santomen (1961 – 1967)
- Rev. Paul R. Crooks (1967 – 1979)
- Rev. Lester E Griffith Jr. (1979 – 1986)
- Rev. Philip Carl (1986 – 1992)
- Rev. Mitchael Hennessey (1992 – 2001)
- Rev. David Reed (2001 – 2003)
- Rev. Richard Thewlis (2003 – 2009)
- Rev. Erik Marshal (2009 – 2011)
- Rev. Tim Monteith (2011 – 2018)
- Rev. Jon Hutchinson (2018 – 2019)
- Rev. Clark Kandel Jr. (Summer - Fall 2019; Spring - Summer 2020) *
- Rev. LuAnn Youngman (Fall - Winter 2019; Winter - Spring 2020) *
- Rev. Christy Suffecool (2020 – )
* Interim Pastor
This historical account of Mount Tabor was compiled by congregant Logan McGee on June 9th, 2020 using information from various written accounts, including the program from the Chancel, Organ and Sanctuary Dedication Service (April 24th, 1949), the program from Mount Tabor’s Centennial Celebration (January 31st, 1960), a letter from Mount Tabor to Mr. William May (March 24th, 1971), the program from the New Sanctuary Mortgage Burning (May 1981), and various church directories.
About the UMC
Mount Tabor is part of the East Ohio Conference and the Tuscarawas District of The United Methodist Church. The UMC, which was founded on April 23rd, 1968, began as a movement and a loose network of local societies with a mission and has grown into one of the most carefully organized and largest denominations in the world. The United Methodist Church shares a common history and heritage with other Methodist and Wesleyan bodies. The lives and ministries of John Wesley (1703–1791) and of his brother, Charles (1707–1788), mark the origin of their common roots.
To learn more, visit www.umc.org