(The following was written by Janet Shailer and is reprinted from “Reflections II”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)

Grove City United Methodist Church

The first minister was assigned to serve the Grove City United Methodist Episcopal Church in 1856 and, in 1859, the Beulah Methodist Episcopal Church was built on the southwest corner of West Park and Front Street at a cost of $1,500.

During the 1880s, the framed structure was moved to West Park and Lincoln and was remodeled. The location was much improved from the location near the railroad tracks and soothed the congregation’s concerns that “the trains regularly frightened the horses during the services”.

By 1903, the congregation had grown to over 300 members, and a new building committee was organized. The group agreed to move the framed structure east of the railroad tracks and built a new church at the old site.

The Midland Methodist newsletter dated May 1905 stated of the new Grove City Methodist Church, “nearly 75 years ago methodism obtained a footing in Grove City. The old building discarded this year was erected 45 years ago. For a long time our people have dreamed and hoped for a new, modern, church edifice. Four years ago, under the leadership of Pastor J.I. Tyler, the Ladies Aid Society started a new church fund, which grew to $1,100.”

“On the recommendation of then Pastor Smiley, the quarterly conference appointed a building committee. Subscriptions amounting to $1,100 were taken. Brother John Linebaugh gave $500 in addition to this, and brother A.G. Grant subscribed ‘one tenth of the entire cost of the new building, whatever that may be.’”

The new structure was Romanesque in style and made of pressed brick “with a large finished basement, elegant pews and massive brass chancel”. The finished building cost $7,000 and was dedicated April 16, 1905. One of the significant gifts to the church was the bell, which was purchased by the boys Sunday school class at a cost of $50. The same bell now hangs in the belfry of the present church.

On December 17th, 1917, a fire swept through the church, burning most of the furnishings and all of the church records. The congregation met in the Jackson Township High School until the sanctuary could be rebuilt. In 1939, the word “Episcopal” was dropped from the name as the three major branches of methodism – the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant church and the Methodist Church South united to form the Methodist Church.

In 1945, the church’s sanctuary was remodeled and redecorated. By 1956, Grove City’s population was growing rapidly and the congregation purchased a 4.8 acre tract at 2684 Columbus Street for a new and larger church. The old church was sold to The Grove City Temple Corporation, who turned it into a Masonic Lodge.

Ground was broken on Palm Sunday 1957 and the cornerstone laid in August of the same year. The church was constructed at a cost of $225,600. The membership at that time was 728.

On April 21, 1967 a new educational Wing was consecrated by Bishop F. Gerald Hensley. On April 23, 1968 the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church were united and the denomination became known as United Methodist Church.

By the mid-1980s the congregation felt the need to expand again and, on October 13, 1985, the new Family Life Center was dedicated. On February 4, 1996, Bishop Judith Craig of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church concentrated the completion of an extensive renovation project, which included renovation of the sanctuary and meeting rooms.