Villar's Chapel and Martinsville United Methodist churches are located just eight miles apart in Clinton County, OH. These rural congregations had no professions of faith and just one baptism between them in 2017. In 2018, they baptized 15 and saw 9 professions of faith. Villar's Chapel and Martinsville were chosen as the Ohio River Valley District Light of the World award winners at this year's West Ohio Annual Conference. Light of the World churches are outstanding in their commitment to shine the light of God's love into their communities and reach new people for Christ.
Both Villar's Chapel and Martinsville UMC's were led by Pastor James Weible, who became a licensed local pastor after starting off in music ministry. Both congregations worship around 25 on a Sunday morning, and while both services are still mainly traditional in style, Pastor Weible added a few modern elements to worship.
Martinsville is a village of about 50-60 families, and many of them struggle financially. The Martinsville United Methodist Church was built in the 1880s and has always been a small church, ministering to those who live in town and just outside of it. The church gives away school supplies each year, runs a Vacation Bible School for the community, and ministers to young people and families.
Villar's Chapel is a rural church built in the 1880s on the intersection of two main roads about four miles outside of Clarksville, OH. The church still has the same pews as when it was built, and the congregation greatly values tradition and its historical roots. The church's main mission outreach is a feeding program in Wilmington that the church helped to start - the ministry now feeds people six days a week and is supported by many other churches and organizations. They also support a 'homegrown' missionary to Guatemala and his ministry.
Both churches also participate in United Methodist ministries such as flood buckets, hygiene kits, and special offerings.
Although Pastor Weible has since been reappointed to another church, he fondly remembers the people of Villar's Chapel and Martinsville UMC's: "I hope they will continue with the current momentum and energy of reaching new families, making disciples, and finding ways to step into God's grace and God's peace as they keep doing the work."
Congratulations to Villar's Chapel and Martinsville UMC's for your outstanding ministry.