Future of Glenmont church up in the air

Future of Glenmont church up in the air
Barbara Lang

With the last scheduled Sunday mass on July 10, the future of SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Glenmont is now up to the Diocese of Columbus.


The future of SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Glenmont is uncertain. The last scheduled Sunday mass was Sunday, July 10.

The Diocese of Columbus cites a lack of priests, declining attendance and an aging membership and is in the process of evaluating which parishes to close. Currently, it will remain open for events like funerals, weddings and feast days. There will be a mass of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Monday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. at the church.

Parishioners had the opportunity to voice their opinion. Recently, the Diocese of Columbus said it has the results of all the parish comments. The results will be presented to the new bishop for his review before he makes his final decision on the status of each parish. In addition, the bishop plans to visit all the churches before he makes his final decision, according to the Real Presence Real Future website.

Multiple generations of Catholics have attended SS. Peter and Paul Parish, in some cases representing the seventh generation. According to an article in the Wooster Daily Record dated June 26, 1957, and titled “Glenmont Catholic Church Observes 100th Anniversary Sunday with Mass,” the church was completed on Oct. 14, 1857. Even before the present building was constructed by European immigrants, they built a log church on an acre of land in 1846 west of Jimtown and established a cemetery not far from the Holmes County Humane Society.

The article says, “A small community of Catholic settlers, German, French and Irish sprang up in the Alum Rock Country, about 4 miles southwest of what is now Glenmont. The community was sometimes called St. Joseph’s Greer or Black Creek and Napoleon. There these people built their pioneer chapel out of logs, called it St. Joseph’s and it is entered under this name in the early record books.

“The foundation of this log church can still be seen, surrounded by the graves and tombstones, some of which bear the date of 1846. When the pioneer log chapel became inadequate, the people united together and built the present church out of stone hewn from the neighboring hills in huge blocks, one upon the other, without derrick or machinery, and in it are to be found specimens of the stone that has since made the community known to some of the greatest architects in the country made famous by the present Briar Hill Stone Company.”

You can find names like Dete, Bresson and Guinter noted in the 1875 atlas buried in the cemetery. At the time Glenmont had grocery and general stores, a wagon shop, physician, school house, two other churches, and a hotel.

Joseph and Salome Fesler were one of the original parish families who immigrated from Alsace Lorraine in 1834. They lived in Zanesville, where Joseph worked on the canal, then bought a farm just north of Greer on the Mohican River. They built a new house in 1874, which still stands, and concealment shoes where found during a recent renovation.

The Feslers were one of the families that helped build this historical stone church. They are buried in the cemetery along with four of their children. The rest of the family moved from the area by 1901.

Over the years improvements and additions were made to SS. Peter and Paul. In 1935 a grotto was added when the church celebrated its 75th anniversary. The church hall was added and was the hub of social activity of the parish with euchre parties and turkey and chicken dinners that were open to all.

More recently, monthly breakfasts were held after the 8:30 a.m. Sunday mass and after the annual Easter egg hunt. Plans are to keep the breakfasts and potlucks at members’ homes as a way to stay in touch with the parish family.

The church office at St. Peter’s in Millersburg is open on Wednesdays. Deacon Tim and the church secretary are available for appointments or for more information by calling 330-674-1671.

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