Shelbyville Daily Union

January 2, 2009

Church Accidentally Finds 96-Year-Old Time Capsule

JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor

In working to improve the future, parishioners at Windsor United Methodist Church accidentally found the past.

While tearing away part of the structure to make way for an elevator enclosure, workers unearthed a tin box time capsule, containing items from 1912 buried inside the church cornerstone.

"Nobody knew it was there, it was a total surprise," said pastor Cathy Minor who has been at the Windsor church for a little over a year.

Church member and construction supervisor, Darrell Gilbert was the one who first discovered it. Gilbert said a hole in the cornerstone was the exact size of the box. “It was a tight fit,” said Gilbert.

“We were chiseling around on the brick and cutting it out. I thought it was just a face stone. I felt my way around and when I got back to where the time capsule started, then we broke the brick further. When we hit the top of it, we heard a hollow sound and cleared the mortar off. Right away we knew it was a capsule inside.”

The cornerstone is inscribed “M.E. Church”, denoting the time it was a Methodist Episcopal church. “It didn’t become a United Methodist Church until 1968,” explained Minor. Papers and documents inside the box revealed that at one time it was called Windsor Station Methodist Church. “Apparently, nobody knew it was there. Our oldest church member is 99 and you would have to be older than that to remember it.”added Minor

The time capsule was placed to commemorate the construction of the church back in 1912.

The time capsule was opened on Nov. 23 at the 8:45 a.m. service. Everyone from the church went outside and anxiously looked on as church chairperson, Tom Cole, pried the box open. The delicate solder holding the seams together began to crumble away and the box was placed in a plastic bag. “There was a lot of interest. The box was still shiny after almost 100 years,” explained Minor.

Inside the church, the contents were carefully removed and placed on a table in front of the congregation. The church treasures were passed to liturgist Ray Bunyard who described the documents and held up each item for everyone to see.

Some of the items were:
1. Windsor Gazette newspaper dated July 27, 1911
2. List of the members of Windsor Station Methodist Church
3. Christian Advocate magazine dated July 10, 1912
4. Three Lincoln head pennies from 1906-1911
5. Indian head cent with wheat wreath on one side
6. Methodist Hymnal
7. Methodist yearbook
10. Methodist Discipline- rules for the church
11. Photos of the proposed church and the original church
12. Brief church history
13. Sunday School Scholars KJV Bible


As a historical perspective, 1912 was also the year that the ocean liner RMS Titanic left Southampton, England on her maiden voyage for New York City. US Marines landed in Cuba. Tiger Stadium opened in Detroit, Fenway Park opened as the home of the Boston Red Sox and Democratic challenger Woodrow Wilson won big over Republican incumbent William Howard Taft.

Underneath the time capsule was a list of all the tradesmen who built the church—foremen, carpenters, laborers, and even the water boy. “It was a little bit damaged since it was not inside the capsule, but still legible. The objects inside were probably just about like when they put them in there,” added Gilbert.

Gilbert also said there had been some talk about making another time capsule.

“I guess we plan to put in another one, maybe into the elevator wall. Maybe this time there will be a record of us doing it.”