Source: Minutes of the North Indiana Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1897), pp. 76-79.
Obituary--REV. ENOS POLLARD CHURCH
Enos Pollard Church was born in Richland County, near Mansfield, O., June 12, 1824, and was of English extraction, being a descendant of General Benjamin Church, who came to America in 1751, and was a participant in the early wars of this country. In early childhood he was left an orphan in the world, by the death of his parents. The Hon. George M. Bartly, then Governor of Ohio, was appointed his guardian, and he was bound out, as was the custom of those days, to Mr. Richard Hoys, who proved to be not only unkind, but even cruel. After suffering an administration of cruelty for three years, and which he felt he could no longer endure, he ran away from Mr. Hoys, and found refuge with his guardian, who, while the Governor of a great State, was also a Methodist class leader, and proved to be a good friend and helper in time of need. He found a place for the orphan boy, with a kind-hearted Methodist store-keeper, a Mr. Williams, of Ontario, Ohio, where he remained for a considerable time. He afterwards learned the carpenter's trade with William Carr, and continued to follow this occupation until the time of his call and entrance upon the work of the ministry. The last piece of work he did at his trade was the building of a house of worship. He was united in marriage with Elizabeth Ann Thomas, April 20, 1843, who proved to be a true help-mate, in the struggles of life and in the work of the ministry. There were born to them four children, the third of whom deceased at North Manchester, November 2, 1860. The mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Church, departed this life in great peace, December 6, 1878. He was again married to Mrs. Mary Jane Zimmerman, September 1, 1881, who died October 2, 1893. The religious life of Father Church has been in many respects remarkable. He was converted at the age of eighteen years, on the 25th day of June, 1842, at a Methodist campmeeting near Lafayette, Ohio. The story of his conversion is best told in a selection from memoirs written by himself. He says: "It was Saturday, June 24, 1842. I seated myself by a small tree, well in the rear of the encampment, to wee and hear as best a poor sinner could. At 1 o'clock P.M. Rev. Liberty Prentice of the North Ohio Conference, arose and read for a text the 14th verse of the 5th chapter of Ephesians, 'Awake, thou that sleepeth, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.' The preacher was very impressive in his appearance, and with a full, clear voice did he set forth the dreadful consequences of the deadly sleep of sin, and the power of Christ to enlighten every man that cometh into the world. His own soul was moved for the perishing and dying. Some shouted for joy, while others cried aloud for mercy. But amid this sorrow and rejoicing there was neither tears nor joy for me. My heart was hard; I sank down in despair. In a strange and mysterious way I found myself at the altar. The altar exercises closed for the night; but, Oh, the darkness of that hour to me! To stay there, I could not; whither to flee, I knew not. But two faithful men of God told me that they would go with me wherever I wished, and would never leave me until God, for Christ's sake, pardoned my sins. Thus, with my spiritual guides, did I start for the woods, hoping there to find Him whom my soul desired to love. And there in the deep forest, by the side of a fallen tree, did we bow before God in prayer. Then would they sing, and Brother Smith would expound the Scriptures, and then they would pray again, and one more struggle in mighty faith and prayer brought me up out of the 'horrible pit.' I could then appreciate the sentiment of the 452d hymn: 'O, how happy are they who their Savior obey.' He embraced the first opportunity to unite with the church, at a love feast meeting the following morning.
He was licensed to preach August 7, 1852, with Rev. J.W. Welch as his pastor, and was received on trial in the North Indiana Annual Conference, September 18, 1855, and was received into full membership in the Conference, and ordained a Deacon, in April, 1857, and was elected and ordained to Elder's Orders April 10, 1859.
In his active ministry, Father Church, with great acceptability and success, served the following charges for the periods named: Baugo, 1 year; Middlebury, 2 years; Benton, 2 years; North Manchester, 2 years; Akron, 2 years; Warsaw Circuit, 2 years; Leesburg, 1 year; Larwill, 3 years; Antioch, 3 years; North Manchester, 3 years; Middlebury, 3 years; Antioch, 2 years; Coesse, 2 years; Ossian, 3 years; New Paris, 3 years; South Whitley, 2 years; Larwill, 2 years, and was superannuated since the Conference of 1893. The period of his superannuation was spent with his children, during which time his health gradually declined until the time of his death, which occurred at the parsonage home of his daughter, Mrs. Rev. J.A. Beatty, on North High street, Warsaw, Indiana, October 23, 1896, at the age of seventy-two years, four months and eleven days.
Father Church was always deeply interested in the current history of his Conference, and in all the period of his active ministry, never missed a roll call. He manifested an unwavering interest in the deliberations of the Conference, and because of his depth of piety and devotional spirit, his brethren frequently conferred on him the honor of conducting devotional meetings, Conference love-feasts, and of acting on various committees. He was recognized by his brethren as an able and successful minister of the Gospel, having been instrumental in adding large numbers to the membership of the various charges he serve. As a preacher he was clear, explicit, forcible; as a pastor, pre-eminently successful; as a citizen, loyal, patriotic; as a neighbor, kind, sympathetic, liberal; as a father, loving merciful, indulgent. He was a manly man, true to his church in all things, calm, deliberate in his judgment, firm, unwavering in his convictions, but remarkably generous in his disposition. He was loved and honored by all who knew him, because of his many good qualities of head and heart. The excellency of his character, the consistency of his life, and the patient endurance of the intense suffering, which, in his later days, came upon him, endeared him the more to his friends, while he "endured as seeing the Invisible." He was happy in his life and work, yet not without great infirmity and pain of body in the past two years; but calmly and serenely, in the presence of his dear children, who ministered to him so faithfully, was his life-work completed. The wheels of mortality steadily and carefully slackened their movements, until at the set time, without a jar, they stood still, and the last traces of material suffering have been mysteriously transformed into smiles of quietness and peace; the soul and spirit leap from out the clay, and as birds set free, rise on exultant wings toward the skies. He said to his Presiding Elder, "I have had an experience of 54 years, but my experience will not save me; only Christ can save." And, "I have had one aim paramount through life, and that is to be at peace with god, at peace with my brethren, and at peace with all the world." His undisturbed peace was expressed in what he said to his son Chester: "We used to sing that old hymn, 'On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand,' but as I come nearer, I find there is no storm here, all is calm." Just a few moments before he died, he said, "Tell Ina to come here and sing." And in answer to this last call, his daughter stood by his side, and while weeping, sang, with supernatural strength, this beautiful verse:
"Oh, how sweet it will be in that beautiful land,
So free from all sorrow and pain;
With songs on our lips, and harps in our hands,
To meet one another again."
Three children remain to mourn this great loss: Freeman S., Chester W., and Ina M.
The funeral services were held at North Manchester, Indiana, and interment at Oaklawn cemetery, near that city.