KASBEER – In 1838, a reverend from the Methodist Protestant Church traveled from Ohio to Princeton and organized the Bureau Circuit, which consisted of a meeting place in Limerick. The people of Limerick gathered in their homes and at a school house for services until the first Limerick Church building was built in 1850.
Although a different name and location, this marked the beginnings of the current Kasbeer Community Church.
It wasn’t until 1885, when a railroad was laid through Kasbeer, that discussion sparked about moving the church to the more bustling area. Pastors who came to serve the Limerick Church were disappointed to find no accommodations in the little village. They were forced to drive to Kasbeer for their mail and all other necessities. Not only did the pastors press the removal of the church to Kasbeer, but the possibility of another denomination coming to Kasbeer brought potential of endangering the work of the Limerick Church.
In 1901, the congregation voted on whether or not to move the church to Kasbeer. Ballots were prepared, and 66 yes votes over 22 no votes allowed the moving of the church. A second vote took place on whether or not to move the current building or build a new church building. Again, ballots were prepared, and 58 “build” votes over 10 “move” votes allowed the building of a new church.
One hundred and seventy-five years later, the church still stands and continues to provide a stable place for worship. The church is currently led by the Rev. Eric J. Seibert. As the church celebrates its many years of service and history, Seibert believes it’s not what the church has done, but what the Lord has accomplished throughout the years.
“We have a lot of people who have been coming throughout the years who have been very, very faithful to the church and to one another,” he said. “I can’t imagine really being anywhere else right now.”
Lifelong member, Doris Bohm can still recall attending services in 1928. It was the year, the very charismatic Rev. H.E. Garner traveled to Kasbeer.
According to Bohm, he came at a much needed time – the Depression was taking off; the church had been without a pastor for nearly a year; and membership was dwindling.
“I really think he saved the day because he was very charismatic. His personality was very young, and he brought that church to life,” Bohm said.
With his zeal and untiring efforts, Garner attracted a large attendance and gained cooperation of the entire Kasbeer community.
Ruth Sabin, a longtime member of the church, remembers Garner knocking on doors in the community and personally inviting people to his services.
“You didn’t want to miss church on Sunday, or he’d be knocking on your door on Monday,” she said.
Garner stayed with the church until 1934, when he accepted a call to a church in Oglesby.
In 1938, a movement to form an independent denomination began. There was much disagreement among the members, and many were reluctant to part from their Methodist heritage. The movement caused many families to leave the church. The church took a vote to change the denomination, and change won. The church was renamed Kasbeer Community Church.
Throughout its long history, the church has united its community and provided a stable place for worship. Of course, throughout the years, changes have brought along sacrifice, trial and some hardship, but through it all, the members’ faith and dedication are what continue to provide services each Sunday.
The church will celebrate its 175th anniversary beginning at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. There will be a lunch, guest speakers, musicians and an ice cream social. For more information, call the church at 815-875-2965 or the parsonage at 815-875-1030.
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