My name is Caren Strable and I would like to express the joys and memories of belonging to the Exeter United Methodist Church. The church was established in 1888 and it became an integral part of the community of Exeter. I became a member of the church as a young child when I attended with my grandmother, mother and siblings in the late 1940s. Many of Exeter’s families joined, making the church thrive. As a teen, I joined the choir and had many amazing experiences with our youth group: camping trips, hay rides in the fall and ice skating at LodgePole will always be fond memories of my youth.
As a young adult, the church became even more endearing as I was married in our beautiful stained glass sanctuary to my husband, Ray. By the late 1970s, the church was very active and had a large, fun youth following. A fond memory was the time we took our youth group to the United Methodist Church in Pasadena to help with the Rose Parade breakfast.
As time passed, our family grew and all four of my daughters were baptized, attended Sunday School and took part in the bell choir and Christmas programs. One of my daughters was also married in the sanctuary. All of these memories are fond and dear to me personally because the church played a large role in raising my family as well as connecting my family to the community of Exeter.
The United Methodist Church served the community of Exeter with rummage sales, Relay for Life, Operation Christmas Child, supporting the food closet and opening the clothes closet, serving the needs of many families in our community. As a member of the church, I am proud of the service we were able to do for our community.
The memories of our wonderful choirs, Christmas Eve Services, trips to Hartland Camp, Christmas and Easter meals and the amazing families and friends I have cherished as a member of the Exeter United Methodist Church will always be a blessing. We are saddened to see this amazing church close, but the memories will always be in my heart.