October 14, 2004

Memphis United Methodist Church To Observe 100th Anniversary

The Memphis United Methodist Church is busily preparing for a special celebration at their 10:00 a.m. worship service this Sunday, October 17th, followed by a carry-in fellowship dinner. This will be the 100th anniversary of their church building, the third Methodist Church building to be on this site at 220 W. Jefferson in Memphis.

The first was a small brick Methodist Episcopal Church, the construction of which began in 1860, but was not completed until after the Civil War. Due to a growing congregation, this one was torn down in 1892 and replaced with a much larger frame building, completed in 1893, capable of accommodating 500 people. This frame building burned to the ground a mere 10 years later, in December of 1903. The foundation stone for the current brick church building was laid in 1904, 100 years ago.

A number of modifications and improvements have been made during the past 100 years, but most of the original structure is still as it was when it was built. The pipe organ, which is still in use, was the very first in Scotland County. Murals were recently painted in the entryways to the basement and the church office, and another on one of the Sunday School room walls, all done by Carolyn McCombs, the spouse of District Superintendent, Rev. Robert McCombs.

The most significant building project has been the restoration of the stained-glass windows, which will be re-dedicated at the 100th anniversary celebration. The Hershey Studio of Milton, IA, which specializes in the renovation of stained-glass windows, applied their craft to the windows at the Memphis UMC during the past two years. As the work was being done, Hershey Studio pointed out that the large window of the biblical character Ruth is the only one of its kind they have ever seen. With the help of many church members refinishing the woodwork, the stained-glass windows are perhaps even more beautiful than when they were first made, and are now ready for at least another 100 years of service.

According to Memphis UMC pastor, Rev. Terry Lippstreu, Its a real blessing to be able to worship in such a beautiful sanctuary. When youre surrounded by the high ceilings, the ornate stained-glass windows and the sounds of the pipe organ, its easy to sense the presence of God.

The Memphis United Methodist Church extends an invitation to the Memphis community and Scotland County area to join in the celebration this Sunday, October 17th, at the 10:00 a.m. worship service, followed by a carry-in fellowship dinner.

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