History of Christ United Methodist Church
Christ United Methodist Church was founded in 2004 after a merger of the former First United Methodist Church and St. Mark United Methodist Church.
The first records of a Methodist class meeting in Galion are found in 1818 when such gatherings took place in various cabins in the area. This was only one year after the first settlers arrived. On Sunday, September 20, 1820, the first recorded Methodist service took place in the cabin on the farm owned by Benjamin Leveredge, the first settler of Galion. The service was conducted by a layman, Benjamin Sharrock. A log schoolhouse on the corner of North Market Street and Church Street was used as a place for Sunday School sessions of all denominations.
The first pastor, Russell Bigelow, came to Galion in 1827 to serve the new Methodist circuit which included Galion (forerunners of both congregations), Leesville, West Liberty, Iberia, Ebeneezer, and West Point. Work was commenced on the first church buildings in Galion in 1840. The first church building to begin construction was on the corner of North Union and West Church Streets, and was built by Lutheran and Reformed congregations, and the Methodists broke ground soon thereafter. Though the Methodist Meeting House was not the first church building to be commenced, it was the first to be completed and ready for service, and in 1841 earned the title of “First Church of Galion”. The land for this church building was donated by Jonathan Fellows who had purchased the farm from Benjamin Leveredge. This first building stood on the south side of West Main Street, just west of Union Street on what is now Harding Way West. It was a wood frame building and was called the English Methodist Episcopal Church (forerunner of First United Methodist Church).
Growing from a Class Meeting that began in 1836 by Wilhelm Christian Nast in the home of John Schneider, the Galion German Methodist Episcopal Church (forerunner of St. Mark United Methodist Church) was founded in 1846. The first building was actually the original First Church building. The German Methodists purchased the building from the English Methodists in 1859, and it was used until it was sold in 1873. All worship services were held in German at the time. The second building, located on the corner of South Market and Atwood Streets, stood from 1873-1956. The steeple of that building was removed in 1915. It was renamed Market Street Methodist Church in 1918 when the primary language became English in the wake of WWI. The third building was built in 1956 at 554 Portland Way North and was renamed St. Mark Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 1857, the English Methodist Episcopal Church was able to support its own pastor. A red brick building was built on the corner of South Columbus and East Walnut Streets in 1860 and was renamed First Methodist Episcopal Church. It was remodeled in 1869 to add an educational wing. That building was razed in 1916 to make room for what is now the current building of Christ United Methodist Church. The current church building was dedicated on July 1, 1917. The first major remodel of the building occurred in 1967, and the Bell Tower and elevator were added in 1978.
On April 23, 1968, the Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Episcopal Church South, and Evangelical United Brethren Churches merged to create the United Methodist Church. Subsequently, the congregations were renamed First United Methodist Church and St. Mark United Methodist Church, respectively.
The two congregations merged in 2004, and the choice was made to use the former First United Methodist Church building and call the new congregation Christ United Methodist Church. St. Mark United Methodist Church sold their building. An extensive remodel of the sanctuary and fellowship halls was undertaken in 2010.
The Pastors of the former First United Methodist Church:
Methodist Class Meetings
Benjamin Sharrock, Lay Preacher (1818-1827), Russell Bigelow (1827-1841)
English Methodist Episcopal Church (Building #1)
John Bier (1841-1850), William Thatcher (1850-____), John Orr, E.H. Bush, William Hudson, Z.C. Morton, A.J. Lyon, S.H. Alderman
First Methodist Episcopal Church (Building #2)
W.S. Paul (1860), Amos Wilson, L.B. Gurley, F. Merriott, W. Winters, A. Nelson, H.G. Duboys, S. McBurney, J.W. Baxton, George W. Pepper (1872-1875), L.D. Warner, J. Whitworth, E.Y. Warner, S.A. Thomson, C.H. Stocking, F.M. Searles, George Mather (1888-____), M.J. Keyes, E. Persons (____-1894), O. Badgley (1894-1899), George Mather (1899-1901), S.E. Idleman (1901-1904), R.H. Balmer (1904-1908), G.W. Huddleston (1908-1912), J.H. Anderson (1912-1914), L.I. Hart (1914-1916)
First United Methodist Church (Building #3)
J.W. Dowds (1916-1919), Harry E. Bright (1919-1923), E.S. Collier (1923-1925), S.A. Stephan (1925-1928), W.N. Robertson (1928-1944), N.R. Somerville (1944-1958), Olyn F. Hull (1958-1962), Walter C. Eyster (1962-1965), Charles W. Stoneburner (1965-1967), Frank C. Marlett (1967-1975), Clarence E. Archberger, Assoc. (1974-1978), L. Mark George (1975-1980), Wilbur B. Meiser, Assoc. (1978-1996), Forrest G. Nees (1980-1983), George E. Bender (1983-1988), Larry A. Draper (1988-1995), Jeffrey W. Hanna (1995-2000), James Randas, Assoc. (1996-2004), David M. Phillips (2000-2002), Thomas D. Matus (2002-2004)
The Pastors of the former St. Mark United Methodist Church:
German Methodist Class Meetings
Wilhelm Christian Nast, Lay Preacher(1836-1846), N. Nuhfer (1846-1849),
German Methodist Episcopal Church (Building #1):
George Berg (1849-____),
Market Street Methodist Church (Building #2):
John Horst (1873-____), Paul Plueddemann (1916), S.E. Kaetzel (____-1925). Joseph Lamy (1925-____), John F. Link (1930), Raymond Butler (1951-1956)
St. Mark United Methodist Church (Building #3):
Raymond Butler (1956-____), William Tucker, Donald Taylor (1965), Gerald Crawford, James McGaw (1970-1974), Barry Wolfe (1974-1979), Robert Buckley (1979-1984), Millard Mead (1984-1991), Beth McGuire (1991-1993), Phil Raynes (1994-2001), Paul Atkinson (2001-2004)
The Pastors of Christ United Methodist Church:
Thomas D. Matus (2004-2007), James Randas, Assoc. (2004-2007), Don Trigg (2007-2012), Jerry Penrod, Jr. (2012-2017), Matthew Weaver (2017-2019), Heather McLeod (2019-present)