GALLIA COUNTY — Local church-goers are celebrating 200 years of the Methodist tradition in Gallia County.
Beginning July 16 through Sept. 17, United Methodist Churches in Gallia County will be celebrating their fellowship and history every Sunday (except for Aug. 6) at their various church buildings.
These events will hold several different services, including worship and song, refreshments, communion, an ice cream social, and a tour of the John Gee Black Historical Center, a former Methodist church. The culminating event will be held at Grace United Methodist Church at 600 Second Avenue with dinner, entertainment, historical displays from local Methodist Churches, and a service with District Superintendent Dennis Miller.
The event series will kick off this coming Sunday at 1-3 p.m. at Thurman UMC in Centerville with an ice cream social and historical displays about the congregation. John Gee Black Historical Center will host an event July 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. Simpson Chapel in Rio Grande will hold another event July 30 at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Aug. 13, Fair Haven will host from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 20 will see Christ United Methodist Church hold a service and communion from 6 to 8 p.m. On Aug. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m., Centenary United Methodist Church will holst a service and communion. River of Life United Methodist Church will host a service and communion Sept. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. Bethesda United Methodist Church will host a service and communion from 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 10 with the Singing Shafers performing. Grace United Methodist Church will hold a final service and communion along with entertainment and history of local UMC churches from 3 to 8 p.m. Sept. 17.
According to current Pastor John Rozewicz, “It’s congregation history because it’s about the people more than the buildings.”
The congregation first met in Centerville under the name of Mount Zion in October of 1820, three years after the first Methodist Sermon was preached in Gallipolis. Since then the Thurman UMC congregation has moved into its current location from where Mount Zion Cemetery sits. Methodism has grown into several congregations across Gallia County, transitioned from John Wesley’s Circuit Riders to more long term pastors, and served in the community for 200 years.
Grace United Methodist Church, the largest of the Methodists in Gallia County can trace its roots back to the first sermon given by itinerant circuit rider Henry Baker and the congregation that was present. This took place at the home of Ahaz S. Morehouse at the mouth of Mill Creek. That congregation was incorporated as Grace United Church in 1898.
To learn more about the events celebrating 200 years, make sure to keep an eye on the church calendar, or visit a Methodist Church in Gallia County, or call Grace UMC at 740-446-0555.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext. 2108.