About John Mettam
ROCHESTER YEARS 1938 1960
"The Hospital Chaplaincy 1938 - 1947"
He was appointed by the Methodist Board of Missions to be Methodist Chaplain for the hospitals in Rochester, Minnesota. The following is taken from the Journals of the Minnesota Methodist Annual Conference:
Journal ::. June, 1941. Page 165.,
Our hospital chaplain at Rochester, the Reverend John Mettam, reports that over 12,000 calls have been made on more than 3,000 patients. Most of these come from the States, but many come from all over the world - South Africa, Singapore, Peru, England, New Foundland, and Canada to name a few. The joy of serving this continually changing hospital parish cannot be told, nor can their gratitude be passed on in any report. It lives in human hearts.
Journal : June, 1944. Page 39.
At this Conference we are completing a quarter of a century of service to the Rochester Hospitals, established by the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church following World War II. John Mettam has been with the work for six years during which period he has ministered to 19,233 people.
The following is an excerpt from the letter of a Canadian Public Servant after his return home from a Rochester Hospital: It is a noble work on the part of your church to send
a representative to visit and comfort the afflicted stranger. I wish to thank you, very sincerely, the church as well as the Chaplain.
Journal June, 1947. Page 20.
Report by John Mettam:
During this Conference year we have ministered to 4,317 patients; 13,708 calls were made. During the nine years of the present chaplaincy 111,325 calls were made on 31,941 patients. The increase in the number of patients
during this nine-year period was 58%. John Mettam, Chaplain.
There is no way to evaluate the comfort, courage and faith that he has given to so many over the years. He said;
I do not prepare people to die. Death is not the worst thing that can happen. I try to prepare them to live. It is our Christian faith that even in death there is life eternal. The best preparation for eternal life is to make each day a part of the Life Eternal.
From "The Rochester Methodist" Bulletins - December 1960:
Few men have stood beside more sick beds and given more quiet courage and deep confidence than did Reverend Mettam. It should also be noted that he conducted the funeral services
of almost countless numbers of persons and in doing so, quietly declared his confidence in life eternal.
Dad retired from the active ministry, June, 1947, to become Associate for the First Methodist Church in Rochester, Minnesota.
Sunday afternoon, October 19, 1938 more than 600 clergy, family and friends attended an open house at the First Methodist Church in Rochester, honoring Reverend John W. Mettam who was observing the fiftieth anniversary of his ministry in Minnesota. This ministry began in Money Creek, Minnesota fifty years ago January 5, 1908.
The past ten years he has been associate at the Methodist Church.
Reverend Russell Huffman acted as master of ceremonies. The serving committee were Dr. and Mrs. H. L. Mason, Dr. and Mrs. Gerald Needham and Mrs. James Gross.
Of the family, two daughters Dollie, and husband, LeRoy Klaus and Mary Mettam were there, also grandson Richard Klaus, wife Shirlie and great-granddaughter Kimberlee. Kim seemed to enjoy the party as much as anyone. She was a year and a half old. Unable to attend were Mr. and Mrs. (Marjorie Mettam) James R. Gray of Arlington, Virginia; Dr. and Mrs. <Ethel Mettam> Howard Roy, two grandchildren, Karen and Michael Roy of Silver Spring, Maryland We
missed them, It would have bean a perfect day had they been there with us,
Dr. R. D. Pruitt, the lay leader of the church, on behalf of the congregation announced their plan to name the library in the new church "The Mettam Library". A large picture of Dad hangs in this beautifully furnished library dedicated to his memory. The whole afternoon was full of warmth, love and gratitude. It was a day very special to my father and one we will never forget.
Dad was quite involved with the congregation in planning for the new church, The following is taken from "The History of Christ United Methodist Church, Rochester, Minnesota, 1857 - 1984", page 91 which illustrates his involvement in the decision over the shape of the roof for the new church:
His ability to convey a powerful message in a few quietly spoken words was brought home forcibly to a congregation divided over the shape of the roof on the new church which was to be built. Reverend Mettam stepped before an emotional congregation and said, "I'm net always happy with the hats my wife wears, but then I leek at her and see the same face that I love under that hat.
It' s net the cover that counts, it's what is inside that counts." His simple persuasive way brought the people to a common decision and averted a possibly serious rift almost immediately,
"The Memorial Chapel"
A memorial was included in the new Rochester Methodist Church. When Mother and Dad died in 1960 there were large sums of money in memorials, Since they had been a part of this church for twenty-two year5, it seemed fitting to use some of it for memorials in the new Memorial Chapel, Acting on Dad's suggestion the marble altar was placed in the Chapel in memory of Mother (Emily Smith - Mrs. John W. Mettam), When Dad left us ten months later the family decided on stained glass windows for him. The two tall narrow windows one on either side of and behind the altar were placed in his memory.
Twenty years later, September 18, 1980 a memorial service for our sister, Mary Mettam, was held in this Chapel, Harlan Hagman, a student of hers was in charge of the service. Kimberlee Klaus played the piano. LeRoy Klaus gave a short tribute on behalf of the family. Pallbearers were: Howard L, Roy, LeRoy Klaus, Richard Klaus, Kendall Klaus, John Langland, Michael Roy.
One experiences a sense of peace and quiet as one enters this lovely chapel of worship with many special memories for those of us who are left.
"Golden Deeds Award - 19:59"
The Reverend John Mettam, Associate Pastor of First Methodist Church in Rochester was awarded the fifth Annual Rochester Exchange Club's Book of Golden Deeds Award at their annual banquet. In addition to the award, his name and picture will be placed with the pictures of the past four winners on a plaque hanging in City Hall, In presenting the award, President Dale Anderson said;
This man's background and achievements are so much in keeping with the philosophy of the Golden Rule which he reflects so faithfully in his services to the people of Rochester and many others. We are thankful for the example and inspiration that he gives.
When Dad stepped to the platform to receive the award they gave him a standing ovation, This came as a complete surprise to him and touched him greatly.
"The Methodist Men"
Dad was given a posthumous honor by the Men's Club of the First Methodist Church in Rochester Tuesday evening May 22, 1962. The organization named him "Man of the Year". Daughters Dollie Mettam Klaus and her husband LeRoy Klaus and Mary Mettam were there to accept the award, which was a small wood plaque with metal praying hands superimposed on its surface. Each one of the four daughters received a plaque. The inscription on the back read:
Presented in fond memory of John W. Mettam a true "Methodist Man of Service" by the Methodist Men's Club May 22, 1962
"The Mettam Room"
A room in the Chaplaincy Center of the Rochester Methodist Hospital was dedicated May 20, 1967 in memory of John W. Mettam who served as Methodist Chaplain for Rochester hospitals for ten years. The room was designed as a place to which chaplains could go to meet patients and their families or with other chaplains to have meetings. A large picture of him was unveiled by his
great-grandchildren, Kimberlee and Kendall Klaus.
The following are quotes taken from the tribute given by Reverend Raymond Spurlock, Field Chaplain for the church:
One knew instinctively that this man was a Christian. However, he was not so piously Christian that he ceased to be human. This humanness made him friendly to every person and this element in his nature coupled with his depth of spirit, produced a fruitful ministry in the pastorate and hospital. He had the ability to relate to a patient in such a manner as to communicate his own faith, his own optimism,
His own strength and spirit to that patient. It was indeed a gift from God and fortunate is the minister who is possessed by it.Thus we honor him this. day in the dedication of "The Mettam Reem" and the unveiling of his picture, which for decades to come will serve as symbols of his life and service.
LeRoy Klaus gave the benediction. Present were - LeRoy, Dollie, Mary, Richard, Shirlie, Kimberlee and Kendall.