in The beginning...

Villard's first church services were held in 1883 by Rev. C.K. Bakalu of Grove Lake. Later, it was decided to organize and build a Methodist Church, with the cost of the building to be around $1200. In 1893 the foundation was laid by Daniel Pennie. This project was abandoned and the foundation was sold to Sam Gilbert who built a store on it. Later, this building was bought and used for church. In 1894 it was remodeled,enlarged and improved to become the building it now is.

In 1912 the people requested that a resident pastor be appointed and the Rev. J.J. Parish was appointed. A parsonage was bought and improved. In 1925 plans were completed for the remodeling and improving the church, but before the project could get underway, financial distress hit the community. The banks closed their doors, tying up money, so the project was abandoned.

By 1935, the church was in very bad condition, due to hard times. In 1937 the people started to raise money to put a basement under the church. Several hundred dollars were raised, but in 1940 there was so much opposition to the project, it was decided to give it up. Some of the money was used to remodel the entrance and doors.

In 1944 the parsonage was sold for $1050. This gave the church the nest egg to begin remodeling the church and work began immediately. A new basement was dug by Al Peterson. When completed, the church that stood on the corner close to the sidewalk on both the north and east was moved onto the basement, in its present location. Work of remodeling the interior was then begun. All of the plaster was taken off, and the interior was completely remodeled,making a room for the pastor; and making the back and front entrances to the basement. The ceiling of the basement, the kitchen and furnace rooms were all finished. The completion of the church was made in May 1948 with the re-shingling of the roof and repainting the exterior. The new pews, at a cost of over $ 1000 arrived in 1949. The sanctuary was enlarged in 1953, by removing the partition at the rear of the church and adding six new pews in 1961.

The name of the church was officially changed to Villard United Methodist Church in 1968, after the merger of the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist Churches. The peak enrollment of the Sunday School was 105 in 1959-1960. For many years, week-day religion release classes were held, and M.Y.F. Was very active.

The Villard Public School held graduation exercises in our church for a few years, as was the Junior – Senior Banquet, alternating with the Catholic and Lutheran Churches. The Westport Church was officially discontinued in 1953, with some of the congregation joining the Villard church. The church basement was rented to the Villard Public School for use as a classroom in 1970. From 1979 to 1997, The Mission Store, a clothing outlet store was organized and run by the Villard and Osakis congregations, with the profits going to mission projects.

Various improvements have been made throughout the next 47 years, including new windows, a furnace, new basement lighting, pouring new sidewalks, installing new carpet, remodeling the bathroom and kitchen, installing new altar rails and altar furniture, tilling the basement floor, drilling a new well and installing new entrance doors.

Many gifts and memorials have been given to the church, which serve as reminders of the people who have helped carry forward the ministry of the church.

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