Early History of Haven United Methodist Church

This account was written in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s by the daughter of Thelma Ferrel, who is mentioned in the article as one of only two members of the church during the 1950’s.

Early History of Haven United Methodist Church

By Mary Lou Ferrel Thompson

When Phelps Dodge, the copper mining company, announced the closing of the copper mine for good, residents of Jerome started leaving town. At one church meeting, one woman (considered a pillar of the church) announced that since her family was leaving Jerome, Haven UMC would have to close. Thus her family had begun to move records of church business to Clarkdale. In protest, another woman stood up and said that not everyone was leaving, that her family was not leaving, and that Haven United Methodist Church was to remain open. It did.

By the 1950’s, the active membership of Haven UMC had dwindled to two persons – Laura Williams and Thelma Ferrel, with Bertha May White as their pastor. Once again, a woman of the church, in this case Laura Williams, made a solemn vow – that as long as she was alive, the doors of Haven United Methodist Church would stay open. They have.

Around 1960, people began to move back to Jerome. Thelma Ferrel said one Sunday, as the three were ready to start service, the front door opened and three couples and a single person came in. They joined the church and that was the start of rebirth. The couples were Ruth and Bill Krusen, Gladys and Walter Crow, Margaret and Whitie Smull, and Gen Schwolm. Willard and Anna Cram also joined during this time. In June, Bertha May went to Conference and came back with an award; “The Church who tripled their membership.” We had beat out the big-city churches. Everyone had a good laugh over that.

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