Bringing joy for 25 years: Canton First UMC honors longtime member for service
by Jose Santamaria
jsantamaria@cherokeetribune.com
September 01, 2012 12:00 AM | 1500 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In 2001, Bryan accompanied the Canton First United Methodist Youth Group in a mission trip to Fort Washakie, Wyo. The mission trip consisted of helping at the Wind River Indian Reservation. The reservation is the seventh-largest Indian reservation by area in the United States. <br>Cherokee Tribune/Special
In 2001, Bryan accompanied the Canton First United Methodist Youth Group in a mission trip to Fort Washakie, Wyo. The mission trip consisted of helping at the Wind River Indian Reservation. The reservation is the seventh-largest Indian reservation by area in the United States.
Cherokee Tribune/Special
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The first 20 years of Janelle Bryan’s time at the Canton church was spent working as the director of Children’s Ministries. She is surrounded by children who participated in the 1995 Christmas pageant.
The first 20 years of Janelle Bryan’s time at the Canton church was spent working as the director of Children’s Ministries. She is surrounded by children who participated in the 1995 Christmas pageant.
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Canton First United Methodist celebrated one member’s 25 years of service with the 170-year-old church. Jennell Bryan is a distinguished member and employee of the historical church located in Canton.

Bryan, a Canton resident, was recognized for her 25 years of service Aug. 19 at the local Methodist church.

According to Bryan, the Canton First United Methodist Church had nearly 400 members when she first began working there in 1987.

“At the time the church was still in downtown Canton, where the arts center is now,” said Bryan. She said the church wanted to be able to offer much more back to the community. However, due to the limited space in the old facility, the church was overlapping programs in an attempt to offer a larger variety of programs in the small facility. It was then that the Methodist church decided to expand to what is now their current location.

“My responsibility was to put together the pieces to start a pre-K ministry before we moved into the new building,” she said. “The last year before we moved, we were constantly preparing for the pre-K ministry which I directed the first two years.”

The first 20 years of her time at the Canton church was spent working as the director of Children’s Ministries, and the following five years Bryan worked as director of Senior Adult Ministries.

“Just being able to observe everything that was going on around me was incredibly fascinating,” she said. Bryan described one of her most memorable events was in July 1992 when the church transitioned from the art center building to the present location.

“It was simply amazing,” she said. This is a very old congregation that turned 170 years this summer,” she said. “Watching a church that is older than the Civil War and see it thrive in today’s world is crazy.”

The church began in 1842 under the name Canton Methodist. The currently used building is the fourth church building to be used by the church.

“I’m so happy to be a part of the team working within the congregation of this church,” said Bryan. “As the area continued to grow our parish decided to offer more choices for people moving into this area. For instance, we developed some programs for seniors over 50 to be involved.”

Bryan expressed her excitement for what the future holds for the church and its congregation. She described her time at the church as an “unforgettable and life changing experience.” She said it has provided love and support for her throughout the years.

“It’s a pretty powerful experience to share the love of God with so many different people and for such a long time,” Bryan said.

Canton First United Methodist church is located at 930 Lower Scott Mill Road in Canton. For more information including service times, call (770) 479-2502 or visit www.cantonfirstumc.org.
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