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Portland Mills Christian Church Fund

Established
1999

Founder
Malcolm Romine

Purpose
The primary purpose of the fund shall be to provide a source of income to provide support for the programs, general needs and maintenance of the historic Portland Mills Church, Parke County, Indiana. Should the Portland Mills Church cease to hold services for a period of three years, this fund will be transferred to the Union Chapel Cemetery Endowment Fund held in the Putnam County Foundation.

This picture of the Old Portland Mills Christian Church was taken at its location on the banks of Raccoon Creek in Portland Mills around 1952. When Raccoon Lake was formed in 1957, this building had to be torn down and the congregation moved into an old, closed Seceder Church at the top of the hill.

History
Malcom Romine’s family has been involved with Portland Mills Christian church for generations. Malcom grew up on a farm near Portland Mills and attended Indiana University in Bloomington. He graduated with an MBA in 1956 and went on to work at Eli Lily until his retirement in 1988. In addition to his church, Malcom had a passion for history, horticulture, and nature conservation.

Portland Mills Christian Church was founded in the year of 1839 by James A. Jacks. Over the years, the congregation grew from 30 members to about 200. In 1901, a remarkable revival meeting was held. There were 29 new members and 23 were baptized in the creek.  It was estimated 1200 people were present for the services. There was always a lot of activity in the church. There were Thanksgiving oyster suppers, Decoration Day services, entertainment, home town plays, Christmas programs, ice cream socials, and bazaars.

The church faced a difficult year in 1956. The congregation had recently completed a remodeling project and was looking forward to its future growth. Attendance at church was averaging about 50 people regularly and there was harmony in the operation of the church. Unfortunately, a spring flood caused by a 12 inch rainfall resulted in massive flooding. This flood necessitated a traumatic clean-up. Not long after the clean-up of this mess was completed, the church received news that the Mansfield dam would be built and that the church building would have to be moved. Luckily, the old, abandoned Seceder Church a mile up the road was gifted to the Portland Mills Church by the Portland Mills Cemetery association. Portland Mills Church purchased the land for a relatively low price and renovated the building. The first service in the new building was held on Easter Sunday in 1960.

Grant / Payout History
First Grant Awarded

2001: $330.24

Most Recent Grant Award

2016: $963.62

Total Grant Awards

$6,909.56

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