Grace United Methodist Church Spencer, Iowa
 

"but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."
1 John 1:7
History of Grace United Methodist Church

One of the earliest entries in the history of the Spencer German Society Methodist Episcopal church, what is now Grace United Methodist Church, goes this way:

The first house of worship was built in 1873 on the corner of East Second and First Avenue East. Pledges were received to cover all the indebtedness, but no one dreamed that the grasshoppers would descent upon them by the millions and devour their crops. Instead of being able to take care of their indebtedness, they had to accept aid from friends and seed from the state for the coming year. In February of 1877 the building caught fire and burned to the ground.

The history then states that many people were forced to move from this area “and the society, which had grown to 57 members, began to dwindle.”

The history of this church is not uncommon. It involves stories of tremendous sacrifice, decisions made with huge faith, acceptance of challenges in the midst of difficult economic times. Prior to the presence of a bridge over the river, families from the south side would ford the river in their horse-pulled wagon. If the water was high, they went upstream a mile, forded the river there, and came back the mile to get to church.

In the late 1800’s and first century of the 1900’s, a pastor John A. Lemke came to be the pastor three different times, for a total of only eight years. It was the 2nd time he was here that the church filed Articles of Incorporation, dated April 7, 1888. The purpose of the church, stated in the application, was “the promotion of the interests of religion in our midst and the spread of scriptural holiness throughout the world.”

W. M. Hein arrived to be pastor in October 1900. He was an ex-buggy maker, and knew how to use wood! After only seven months he had lead the people in building a new building. The June 2nd, 1901 dedication documents stated that it cost $1,500 and they were debt-free! Pastor Hein had done much of the work himself.

While at Spencer he received $100 per year in salary plus varying amounts of chickens, butter, eggs, fruit, vegetables and other edibles.

In the days of WW I, there was strong anti-German sentiment in the country.

In the midst of that hysteria, many hardships and much bitterness occurred toward any group that citizens felt favored Germany rather than the U.S. It was because of the anti-German attitude that the members of the church felt it would be better for them to disband and become affiliated with other parishes.

In fact, they even deeded their church building and parsonage to the Northwest German Episcopal church. Yet, here it is, in 2016, still proclaiming the “interests of religion” and spreading “scriptural holiness throughout the world.” Our history provides testimony that even as Jesus came “up from the grave,” the Church he formed and empowers is also resilient.

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All are welcome.
Staffed nursery available during worship September thru May.


Grace United Methodist Church
311 2nd Ave W, Spencer, IA 51301
Phone: 712-262-5970