About three quarters of the way through the length in Woodstock of Route 212, by what locals call the Shady turns, is Church Road. On Sunday, September 25, the congregation of the Shady Methodist Church, which you will find on the left as soon as you turn onto the road, will celebrate its 140th anniversary with a service at 11 a.m. followed by a luncheon and a music program performed by members of the St. James Methodist Church of Kingston.
At 94, Evelyn Stone has only been living in the beautiful Shady Valley since she was two years old, but is nonetheless considered one of the Churches elder “Shady Ladies.”
She tells of how the residents of the Shady valley decided to build a church on land atop a hill near the little school house, where the school teacher had the responsibility of teaching grades one thru eight, and there were so many families with children in the valley that the school room was full to capacity. In January of 1871 dedication services were held for the new church building, and the community would utilize it for their worship practice until a larger building was needed in 1900.
While reminiscing about how many families in the Shady valley would take in boarders to help earn cash to pay for their town taxes, Evelyn recalls the story of how the organization of The King’s Daughters was founded at the Shady Church. One of the women who stayed at the John Miller boarding home was a founding member of the International Order of the King’s Daughters, an organization founded by the wife of a Methodist minister. Mrs. John Miller was so taken by how well her boarder spoke of the organization, and knowing that there was no such women’s group in the Shady valley, suggested that the Methodist women join together and form their “Trusting Ten circle of Shady.” For nearly 122 years, the women of this organization have raised funds to support the Shady Church. The Kings daughters contributed funds to build the church hall in 1925. Over the years they have held church suppers, Christmas Craft fairs, made quilts and aprons, held bake sales with most the proceeds going toward the upkeep and care of the three buildings the church now owns.
With a bit of sadness in her voice, Evelyn acknowledges that the congregation doesn’t have a Sunday school program at this time, and that there aren’t any children in the congregation to attend classes.
But the Shady Methodist Church has weathered many social and economic changes in Woodstock. It would stand to reason that the strong faith that the 50 or so people who belong to the Shady Church have, in themselves and Jesus Christ, will carry them to more successes in the 21st century. ++