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As was usual in pioneer times, the first meeting place of Methodists in Somerset was a log home, which oral history tells us was on North Vine Street. The exact location is not known.  Before 1830 a Methodist preaching circuit had been established in the county, with ten or twelve preaching points, of which Somerset was one.  Bishop Joshua Soule was the presiding bishop and one of the county’s rural churches was called Soule’s Chapel.  This became know as “The Mother Church” of our church because so many of its members eventually joined the Somerset Church.

 

The congregation erected its first church building on South Main Street in 1846 and it was called the Main Street Methodist Church. The lot was donated by Mr. John Curd.  In 1866, the minister serving at that time felt that the church should be divided.  So the Methodist Episcopal Church (Northern Church), erected a church on East Mt. Vernon Street on the lot where the Virginia Theatre now stands and this was used until about 1918.  This congregation; however, eventually became re-affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church South, thus coming full circle.  The South Main Street Church (Methodist Episcopal Church South) continued to grow, and in 1917 under the leadership of Rev. W. L. Clark, a new and larger building of brick, in the neo-classic style, popular at the time, was erected on a lot, at the corner of East Mt. Vernon Street and Central Avenue.  

old FUMC building

This lot was given by Joe H. Gibson, the great-grandson of Mr. John Curd, who had given the lot for the first Methodist Church.  This building continued in use until the present sanctuary was built in 1959 under the leadership of Dr. Ralph G. Wesley.  The first service of this new sanctuary was conducted by Bishop Walter C. Gum on December 18, 1960.  A new educational wing was dedicated in 1975 by Bishop Frank L. Robertson, Ralph Wesley, District Superintendent and Harold E. Henson, Minister.  Another educational wing, which occupies the space of the 1917 structure that was torn down in 1973, was completed in 1979 under the ministry of Dr. Walton Gardner. 

 

Two acts of unification have changed the name of our church over the years.  In 1939, the Methodist Episcopal, The Methodist Episcopal Church South, the Protestant Methodist Church merged to form The Methodist  Church.  In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged with the Methodist Church forming the United Methodist Church. 

 

We have a beautiful symbol on the outside of our sanctuary.  It is a tall tower reaching skyward.  It symbolizes the trinity, as sets of three’s are used in the construction. The circle at the top represents eternity. You may also notice that at the top of this tower, the cross can be seen from a distance at any angle and reaches out to our community.

 

A rich heritage and history exists in our church and we have many wonderful stories about events and people from our past.  As church historian, I enjoy sharing that heritage and history to groups in our church.

                                                                                    Glenda Adams, Church Historian