LIMA — Meredith Bradshaw was a member of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Lima up until about three years ago, when she moved to Delphos. She came back to the church on Sunday for its 100th anniversary service.
“I miss this,” said Bradshaw. “It’s a wonderful church. It looks so pretty now, and I miss the people.”
The church, now located on North Metcalf Street, had simple beginnings.
“In 1919 there was a group of women, the Lima Missionary Society. These women decided there needed to be a Protestant presence on the north end of Lima,” said Pastor Ted Bible. “This group of women met with the pastor at Trinity church, which is today Trinity United Methodist Church. They had three meetings in May as a group, and on that third meeting, they purchased a house that became the North Broadway Chapel, and so that’s when it was started.”
The church continued to grow and needed more space.
“They moved from there, then they acquired some property on Grand Avenue and became the Grand Avenue Tabernacle,” Bible said. “So they went from initially tent meetings to actually having a wooden structure, and that structure burned down, which then ultimately moved them here (at 1110 N. Metcalf St.).”
In 1922, the current building was built as a community center that they used for church services.
“Rev. Bud Allison would tell you he knows of stories where they played tennis in here on this floor,” Bible said. “They would have played basketball and other kinds of sports as well. They were very mission community-oriented, and I think today our church is very mission- and community-oriented too.”
Barry Burns, the United Methodist Church Northwest Plains District Superintendent, was the featured speaker at the 100th anniversary service.
“Not many churches can celebrate 100 years like this, and it’s a pleasure to be invited,” Burns said. “Historically, they’ve been committed to their community, and even through downtimes, up times, that’s the one common factor: They’ve been committed to serving the needs of this community and connecting with the people here. As the community has changed, and as it has changed a lot in 100 years, they have tried different things and are doing different things to reach that community.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.