02/09/11 Although area residents pass by the Plymouth First United Methodist Church on North Michigan Street in Plymouth day after day, they probably aren’t aware of the rich history that goes with the building and congregations past and present.
The church will observe its 175th anniversary this year. After serving as a mission station with a circuit-riding pastor, William Farnsworth, for five years, the church was formally organized in 1836 as the Methodist Episcopal Church. The first church in Plymouth, it was organized the same year as Marshall County. Oliver Rose, his family, and a few friends, worshiped in the Rose log cabin across from the present Centennial Park. The first pastor was William Fraley who went on to serve 27 churches in 35 years.
As the membership increased, the congregation met in several buildings, each within a block of the present structure. In 1915 church and Sunday school members, singing “Onward Christian Soldiers,” marched to the present building at 400 North Michigan Street. The church has been served by approximately 78 pastors since its beginning. In 1968, through the merger of the Methodist Episcopal and United Brethren denominations, the church became the First United Methodist Church.
The church has been renovated several times. A 1978 tornado demolished the skylight atop the dome which was then removed. The Educational Building west of the church was erected in 1957.
The church began its year-long celebration with a birthday carry-in dinner in January. Long-time church members were honored. Events to follow include a vesper concert by the IUSB Chorale and Chamber Choir in the church sanctuary scheduled for Sunday, March 6, at 5:00 p.m. The concert will be free and open to the public.
Other events are being planned, including a special celebration on Sunday, September 25. Bishop Michael Coyner of the Indiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church will speak at the morning worship service and will be the honored guest at a celebration dinner at Christo’s Banquet Center.
Current pastors Larry Marhanka and Matthew Pickut extend a welcome to the entire community..