Church of the Lakes began in 1956 in the basement of Bill and Marilyn Melvins' home. The church was formed to meet the needs of the growing Lake Cable area with the support of Rev. Hugh Graham and Church of the Savior United Methodist. The congregation outgrew the Melvins' basement and moved to the Lake Cable Clubhouse. In 1960 an education building was constructed followed by the sanctuary in 1964. The church was intended to be an outreach to the area serving as a spiritual, social and community hub. The cornerstone for the new Activity Center was laid December, 1999.
The Charter Sunday Bulletin in 1956 contained the following statement:
The Church is a place where -
* The Word of God is preached
* The Power of God is felt
* The Spirit of God is manifested
* The Love of God is revealed
* The Unity of God is perceived
The following article by Everrett Garrett originally appeared in the October 15, 2001 edition of the Lifelines Newsletter. Everrett is a charter member of Church of the Lakes.
"In the Beginning"
In the early 1950’s, Hugh Graham, Church of the Savior United Methodist Associate Pastor and Youth Minister, and his wife Charlotte, conducted a door to door survey in the Lake Cable, Lake O’Springs area to determine the church affiliation of residents in this area.
It was learned that some families were unchurched. At this point in time the seed was sown and thru Bill and Marilyn Melvin the Lord made a need come to reality. Bill and Marilyn opened their hearts and home (basement) meetings bringing together those families of like-minds and desire to establish a church in the Lake Cable, Lake O’ Springs area.
I remember at an official board meeting voting on a church name and denomination, since we were all from different denominations. The outcome was Church of the Lakes United Methodist. Most of us were in the 30-40 age bracket and had children who needed a closer place to worship with their friends and families. I also remember how this time of planning for a worship center drew our families and communities together for praising our God! There were several of us who had a Lake Cable membership and approached their five member board requesting the use of the clubhouse for Sunday morning worship.
Church of the Savior granted Hugh Graham permission to be our first pastor while still on their payroll. First Charter Sunday for Church of the Lakes, COTL, was observed in 1956. The ushers met before the service to clean up after the Saturday night parties and put up chairs for Sunday morning worship and also set up large round tables and chairs for all the Sunday school classes. Incidentally, the first adult Sunday school class met in the clubhouse kitchen! I drew up a floor plan diagram showing table and chair arrangement, teachers and grades listing and posted on the bulletin board.
I’m not good at dates, but prior to 1956 the official board formed a site search committee to seek out an appropriate location for our church. The Roy Boger farm on the corner of Fulton and Brunnerdale Roads was selected with the option to purchase a parcel of land to the east of the corner (acreage was needed, a requirement in the UM Discipline). Twenty five families each gave $10,000 to secure a loan for the first building, which was the education building completed in 1958. Our first sanctuary was located where the parlor now exists. I recall signing, along with all the others, for the loan with the Citizens Bank (now First Merit). I remember the closing of Fulton Road from the Lake Cable Clubhouse up to Brunnerdale Road by the police for theparade of people and all the furnishings to occupy the new building. There seemed to be a concern about the fact that now that we didn’t have to set up for worship anymore we may become lazy worshippers!
In 1962 our second building project was the sanctuary and fellowship hall. Living close by on West Blvd, we, along with other families followed the progress of construction. Bill Melvin recorded the daily progress with his 8mm movie camera. After Hugh Graham’s death, we were blessed with our new pastor, Rev. Tom Blank, wife Ruth and their four children. With the growth in membership we were able to purchase a parsonage, just across from the church on Fulton Road and also able to meet a budget to include the new pastor and janitor incomes. At this time all the other staff personnel were on a volunteer basis.
I would like to close with a statement from Tom Blanks message on our 40th Charter Sunday: "Church of the Lakes – My, how you have grown. "
Praise The Lord!!
Everett P. Garratt