Center_Methodist old white church BW.jpg

A Brief History of
Center United Methodist Church

Established - 1830

The wooden church used
prior to the new brick building
that was completed in 1956

A History of Service Since 1830

Including historic details provided by Bill Seaford


1830 – Church members gathered in the home of Joel Penry.

1833 – Land deed for a church building was acquired from John Smith to several men – 2 acres.

The first church was a log structure located where the cemetery is today.

1870 – More land was acquired (3 acres) from the Tutterows, Richards, and other families across the road from the cemetery.

A new frame building was constructed. The wood was hand-hewn with a broad ax and put together with wooden pegs.

Only the best forest pine was used.

1876 – An arbor was erected to be used for Camp Meetings.

1877 – The first Camp Meeting was held. A large crowd came from miles around to attend these events which often lasted for several days.

1931 – The wood church was moved west of the current

church and five classrooms were added. A bell tower was

added along with a large bell donated

by Mr. & Mrs. George Evans, Sr.

1946-50 – Talk began of some work on the church and it

was decided that a new structure should be built.

1951 – The congregation began raising money for the new

building. Plans were drawn by George Evans, Sr.

1953 – Ground was broken.

A well was drilled and work began.

1954 – Brick was layed and the outside was completed.

1955 – Work was completed on inside. All work was done

on a "pay-as-you-go" basis. 

1956 – New church complete. Much of the labor was

done by members of the congregation who met every

Monday night to work.

April 1 – Last service held in the old church. 

The building was sold, dismantled and moved.

April 8 – First service in the new church. 

July 1 – Furniture was in the sanctuary.

Quarterly conference was held with Rev. Hipps

(District Superintendent) preaching.

Sept. 1, 1957 – Formal dedication of the new building at


Church cost $45,000 to build (due to donated labor).

1958 – Church consisted of 164 members.

A cornerstone was layed on May 4.

Since then...

A new Family Life Center has been added including a

large kitchen, classrooms, storage, library, office, and

restrooms. The parking lot around the church has been

paved. A log cabin was moved to the property and is the

meeting place for Center's Boy Scout Troop 505. A Pre-School program has been added to the church. The Historic Center Arbor weathered near tornado force winds in 2004 which destroyed the roof and is now covered with a new metal roof.

Center Choir old pix2.jpg

Center UMC Choir from 1935 or 1936

Drilling the well for the new church in 1953 from behind the old church.