VUMC: History
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History

A group of seven people met with Rev. J. H. Benson in July, 1831, to discuss Wesleyan Theology and decided to unite as Methodists. Others soon joined the congregation which met with two other churches in the “House of Worship” a small building situated where the Old Presbyterian Church (now Fayette County Museum) is presently located. The Methodists continued to worship in this building until 1835, when disharmony among the denominations prompted the Methodist congregation to begin work for the construction of a new and larger building of their own. After meeting in other temporary facilities, Dr. Nathaniel M. McCurdy, a physician, spearheaded a drive to construct a new place of worship. His dedication, inspiration and leadership resulted in the construction of the McCurdy Methodist Episcopal Church on the comer of North Fourth and Madison Streets. This church was dedicated in 1868 and was the most imposing structure of its kind in the County. Dr. McCurdy and his wife, Olivia, were buried outside the church which was later destroyed by fire on March 17, 1899.

At once, it was determined to rebuild. Some subscriptions were given while the fire raged. The youth of the church proclaimed with eagerness that a church could and would be built. The realization of their dream was completed and dedicated on January 20, 1901 and is now the First United Methodist Church. For the most part, the exterior has remained unchanged. However, the interior was totally gutted and a new interior was built inside the old brick shell in 1972-73. At the same time, the parsonage that sat immediately south of the church was razed to provide adequate space for the construction of an Education Building. A new parsonage was built at 630 Riverview Drive. There was excellent cooperation and support from members of our church as evidenced by the fact that the entire debt for the new parsonage and church building was retired in November, 1979 , that during this time all church operational bills and conference apportionments were paid, and the church maintained its firm commitment to missionary work. Thanks to God, the entire project was a harmonious venture.

An “Educational Building” with foyer, chapel, classrooms, fellowship hall, kitchen, library, offices, restrooms, and all-weather parking lot has been added. Additionally, and built recently, is a “Family Center” which will provide space for sports and activities for all ages. The burial site of Dr. McCurdy and Olivia remains with the Church and is located beneath the double doors that provide an entry to the foyer of the Education Building.

Buildings alone do not convey the ministry of Christ. It is the teaching, fellowship and outreach of a community of believers that can strive to fulfill God's hope for the world. Accordingly, the First United Methodist Church of Vandalia provides worship services, Sunday school, committee involvement, youth summer camps, Bible studies, weekly outings for residents of nursing homes, social meetings and dinners, weekly prison ministry, coates/gloves/shoes for needy students in Vandalia and surrounding schools, and monetary support for 37 local, national and world missions.

First United Methodist Church is located at 127 N. Fourth Street (comer of Fourth and Madison). Worship services are held every Sunday morning from 9:30a to 10:40a. These services are comprised of interesting and stimulating sermons coupled with traditional and contemporary music.

The following pastors have served First United Methodist Church of Vandalia:

1831   Rev. J. H. Benson   1883-1886   Rev. J. B. Thompson
1832   Rev. Nicholas Bastain   1886-1891   Rev. Joseph Earp
1833-1834   Rev. Ezekiel Blackwell   1891-1893   Rev. B. R. Pierce
1835   Rev. E. R. Ames   1893-1895   Rev. C. B. Besse
1836   Rev. N. P. Cunningham   1895-1897   Rev. R. D. Woodley
1837   Rev. John Dew   1897-1901   Rev. J. G. Tucker
1838   Rev. James B. Woolard   1901-1903   Rev. J. H. Ford
1839   Rev. Nicholas Bastain   1903-1908   Rev. Nathaniel Crow
1840   Rev. Ezekiel Blackwell   1908-1910   Rev. J. A. Taylor
1841   Rev. Simeon Walker   1910-1914   Rev. C. C. Hall
1842   Rev. Jesse Haile   1914-1918   Rev. C. D. Shumard
1843   Rev. Jerry Estip   1918-1921   Rev. W. I. Terhune
1844   Rev. J. M. Massey   1921-1923   Rev. E. Crouse
1845   Rev. Solomon McCall   6 months   Rev. George Dunn
1846   Rev. B. Shonk   1924-1927   Rev. J. R. Slaten
1847   Rev. James Montogomery   1927-1929   Rev. J. D. Shaddrick
1848   Rev. B. Randel   1929-1931   Rev. L. S. McKown
1849   Rev. J. B. Moor   1931-1934   Rev. N. C. Henderson
1850   Rev. T. A. Eaton   1934-1938   Rev. O. F. Whitlock
1851-1854   Rev. John W. Caldwell   1938   Rev. Paul B. Brown
1854-1855   Rev. J. Earp   1939-1944   Rev. W. E. Bush
1855-1857   Rev. I. W. Toms   1944-1951   Rev. M. B. VanLeer
1857-1858   Rev. George W. Jenks   1951-1956   Rev. William M. Henderson
1858-1859   Rev. J. W. Lowe   1956-1959   Rev. H. Hilton Longberry
1859-1861   Rev. C. M. Holiday   1959-1965   Rev. Stephen B. Phillips
1861-1863   Rev. Hugh Carrington   1965-1972   Rev. Ray Porter
1863-1864   Rev. B. Babbit   1972-1981   Rev. Gary Jenkins
1864-1866   Rev. J. W. Phillips   1981-1986   Rev. Arthur Holland
1866-1869   Rev. Hiram Sears   1986-1990   Rev. David Myers
1869-1872   Rev. Joseph Earp   1990-1999   Rev. Louis Frick
1872-1875   Rev. Joseph Harris   1999-2004   Rev. Kenneth Cox
1875-1878   Rev. T. H. Herdman   2004-2008   Rev John McIntosh
1878-1880   Rev. O. H. Clark   2008-2014   Rev. Dr. Roger Grimmett
1880-1883   Rev. F. M. Vantreese   2014   Rev. Terry L. Westerfield

Compiled by Jim Staff



First United Methodist Church of Vandalia :: 618.283.3684