OVID — The oldest church in Adams Township may not have survived without the commitment of dedicated congregants.
Ovid Community Church had been closed off and on until 1931 when a group of residents reopened the building.
On Jan. 1, 1932, seven worshipers attended the service. The day’s offering was five cents.
“There was a tenaciousness of maybe six to eight women who were absolutely determined that that church was not to be lost,” recalled the Rev. John Summers, former pastor of the church.
Based on his 41 years of serving as its pastor, Summers recently self-published “Historical Record of Adams Township and the Ovid Church,” a 118-page record based on recollections by Summers and residents living in the southeastern corner of Madison County.
The book, which sells for $10, is available through Ovid Community Church, 793 E. 600 South, Anderson, IN 46013. The phone is (765) 642-0551.
Summers, 88, went back to the start when one of the earliest settlers, Abraham Adams, held religious services in his home.
The crossroads of Ovid could have played a major role in Madison County, Summers noted, when local residents voted against a railroad running through their area in the mid-1800s.
“Ovid, a little insignificant village, would have become the county seat instead of Anderson, but they voted the railroad out,” he said.
In June 1951, Summers was called as pastor of Ovid Community Church. At the time, he and his wife, were living in Dunkirk, Ind. Yet they drove 50 miles each way to serve the congregation.
“I got interested in the township," he said. "I would walk roads and I walked in every cemetery I could find and read the tombstones and try to find people. I searched and found even the foundation of the old church.”
The research and writing may have taken 20 years, he estimated.
In 1992 he was called to be pastor of visitation at Convenant Church of Naples, Fla. He and his wife, Betty Mae Freeman Summers, have one daughter, Cindy Stuart, who lives with husband Tom near Pendleton.
But since Summers no longer lives in Adams Township, he hopes others will continue to update his book.
He said, “The future is in the hands of the present membership.”