Our Methodist Heritage

The Methodist Church was one of the last churches to locate in Germantown due to the few Methodist who lived in the community. The first church as a combined United Brethren and Methodist Episcopal was held in the old U. B. Church on East Warren Street (now the Grange Hall).

Market StWhen the membership became strong enough, the Methodist branched out and built at 140 East Market Street. The lot was purchased on June 18, 1838 from Philip Gunkel and John F. Kern for $120. In a record of minutes of a quarterly conference dated in 1854, names of some of the early members were Phillip Gunkel, John & Mary Oblinger, Lewis & Catherine Shuey, Levi Clark and Eliza Shaeffer.

Circuit rider preachers served the Church at this time as part of the Miami Circuit and at different times including Enterprise, Gratis, Farmersville, West Carrollton and West Alexandria.

Changes of the architecture were made at various times. In 1867, the value of the Church was $7,000. Around that time, the first small organ was purchased. Down through the years, there have been several organs purchased, among them a large organ made possible through the help of Andrew Carnegie, who also made possible the Germantown Library.

A large remodeling and improvement program was undertaken in 1922, and during the project, the members met in the By-Jo Theater. In 1933 another improvement project was completed including a new front to the building.

In 1935, the church celebrated its 100th Anniversary, and in 1940, again the Church was improved with a new roof and other necessary additions. In 1940, the Ladies Aid of the Church became the Women’s Society of Christian Service. The first president of the group was Nellie Smith and the first secretary Mrs. David Oblinger.

The church had a great part in the Sesqui-Centennial in 1954 for Germantown. Also in that year, it was decided to have drive for $57,000 to add additional rooms and renovation of kitchen etc. This drive was a success and the people have enjoyed the added space.

New stained-glass windows were added in 1963 and the Sanctuary was changed. A center aisle replacing the two side isles, new pews, carpet and organ completely renewed. Also, altar rails and kneeling benches were added with new pulpit baptismal font and new pastoral chairs adding to the beauty of the Sanctuary. A small Chapel was also dedicated which was added to the rear of the Sanctuary.

Among the Ministers serving the Church was the Rev. Aaron S. Watkins, who served from 1918-1920, and while in Germantown, ran for the President of the United States on the Prohibition ticket in 1920.

With the merger of the Methodists and the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968, the name of the church was changed to Wesley United Methodist Church.

Wesley Timeline

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