Tracing Back The Roots Of Montpelier’s First United Methodist Church

In 1869 a church was erected in Montpelier for a congregation of the United Brethren Church which had been active in Montpelier for at least twenty years. The congregation continued to grow in the community but a division in the United Brethren denomination in 1889 split the Montpelier United Brethren Church as well. A part of the Montpelier congregation broke away and sought to build a new building on Empire Street. By 1894 that building was dedicated and the congregation became known as First United Brethren Church. The name later became First Evangelical United Brethren Church when the denomination merged with the Evangelical Church in 1946.

By 1960 First Evangelical United Brethren Church in Montpelier was growing and their church building on Empire Street was busting at the seams. A committee of Keith Miller, Richard Pressler, Ross Altaffer, Eldon Connolly, John Bidlack, Harold Bauer, and Keith Dickinson was formed to determine the feasibility of building a new church. They determined that the congregation should vote on the proposal to build a new church and after the vote was taken 89% of the congregation approved the proposal.

Property was purchased in 1961 on what had been the Glen Strayer farm. By August 1962 a general contractor had been hired to erect a new church building at 1300 East Main Street in Montpelier. One year later, on September 14, 1963 the first service was held at the church with 438 in attendance for worship. A few weeks later, on October 20, 1963, a service of dedication, led by Reverend Richard Ward, was held for the new church building.

The congregation at what is now known as First United Methodist Church has been a part of the Montpelier community for over 150 years but is celebrating its 50th anniversary at the 1300 East Main Street location on October 20, 2013, exactly 50 years from when the building was first dedicated.

Pastor Jonathan Hanover will be leading a Service of Celebration at 10:30 a.m. followed by a meal in the Fellowship Hall of the church. There will be 50 years of pictures and mementos to enjoy together.
We look forward to greeting both members and visitors to the church for the Celebration and sharing the many blessings God has given the congregation while we look toward our future in His service.


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