Brownstown Church celebrating 190 years


Tribune staff reports

Members of the Brownstown United Methodist Church will celebrate the church’s 190th anniversary with a special service at 10 a.m. Sunday.

The public is invited to attend.

The service will include music by the church choir, organist Madge Fountain and pianist Jan Willey and a medley of old-time hymns by a trio consisting of Joe Persinger, Angela Persinger Barnes and Curt Kovener.

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Several speakers will relate highlights of the church’s history and development, including the Rev. Bob Riggs, a former pastor, Angie Sibrel, Dave Lucas, David Greger, Jane Lucas, Jan Willey and Velma Crees.

Appropriate scriptural passages will be read by Pastor Kevin Stiles. Liturgist will be Eric Kruse.

Following a prayer for the church and a hymn of dedication, a group photograph will be taken, and all those attending are encouraged to stay for a meal, organized by the church’s hospitality committee, in the church fellowship hall.

The church was founded in 1825 through the efforts of Walter Benton of Brownstown and the Rev. Ebenezer Patrick of Salem.

In the early days, the church was served by circuit riders who traveled on horseback.

The congregation first met in a log building and later a wood frame church before a brick church was built in 1861 on the northwest corner of Poplar and Walnut streets, where the present church also stands.

The 1861 structure was remodeled in 1892 and again in 1923.

In 1950, the congregation started plans for a new house of worship at the same location. Final services in the old church were conducted April 1, 1951, and razing of the building began immediately.

During construction of the new church, services were conducted in Brownstown Consolidated High School on Walnut Street.

On Aug. 12, 1951, the cornerstone was laid, and the first worship service was conducted in the new sanctuary March 30, 1952.

An education annex was added in 1971, providing classrooms, a nursery, kindergarten and crib room, office space, meditation court and a lobby connecting the church and the annex.

On April 30, 1958, the board authorized construction of a new parsonage, which is located just north of the church.

The all-electric ranch-style brick veneer home was built on the site of the former two-story parsonage.

Throughout the years, various improvements have been made to the church, including air conditioning, an access lift for the handicapped and a new steeple.

Stiles, the current pastor, is the 88th to have served the church since its beginning.

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What: Brownstown United Methodist Church’s 190th anniversary

When: 10 a.m. Sunday

Where: 110 N. Poplar St., Brownstown


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