Farley United Methodist Church in Berkey will close its doors for good after its last service in 2012, to be held at 9 a.m. on December 30. It was the congregation’s decision. Becky Farley Gillan, a great-great-granddaughter of a founding family of the church, said that low membership is the reason.
“I believe there’s 17 [members] on the rolls. Our average attendance on a Sunday was getting to be sometimes five, so it was just dwindling.”
The church’s minister, the Rev. Jamie Gill, is also minister at Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Toledo, serving “our church at nine o'clock and then [Emmanuel] at 10:30,” Mrs. Gillan said. She said in the earlier years of the church, which was founded as the Farley Society in 1848 with 10 members, “for years and years they did have circuit riders” who would preach to several congregations rather than being minister to one church. And it became large, she said.
“In its day,” Mrs. Gillan says, “there were a lot of families in the church and everybody had kids.” But the membership numbers no longer support the church, so “we had to make the tough decision in November when we met with the United Methodist district.”
Mrs. Gillan, 58, “and I am one of the younger members of the church,” said she hadn't chosen a new church to attend. “My mom as well, Barbara Farley; neither one of us has decided. We have a lot of options at this point in Methodist churches, there's a lot of United Methodist churches in the area.” But Mrs. Gillan said she might just visit different churches for awhile.