In the wilderness of Indiana in 1852, Indiana had been a state for only 36 years, America’s thirteenth president Millard Fillmore was in office; a Circuit Rider organized the first Methodist class in Lafayette Township, in Allen County. The Reverend Uhlman Greenman was the Circuit Rider and the class that he organized was the beginning of Monson Chapel United Methodist Church. The eighty members of this first class met at the Beech Schoolhouse at irregular intervals for three years. The class then moved to the Hoosier Schoolhouse, which was situated west of the present site of Monson Chapel. Services were then conducted at intervals of three weeks for several years.
During the Civil War, as in all parts of the country, political differences took its toll on the class and the number of members was reduced. In 1869 after the war had ended a reorganized class of about twenty members began worship with the Reverend Curtis. Walter Kress was appointed steward and H.L. Riley was the class leader.
In 1869-70 they erected a frame structure for worship that measured 36 by 50 feet on land that was donated by Mr. and Mrs. John Trainer and Mr. and Mrs. George Lawrence. The cost of the building project was $2200. The building was named Monson Chapel in honor of L.W. Monson, the presiding Elder of the previous year.
In 1911 plans were laid in the early summer to remodel the church. A new vestibule and fifty-foot high tower were built. A new Blymier bell was placed in the tower. Panel work was installed and the windows were replaced with art glass. In 1930 a basement was put under the church and furnace installed.
During the dark days of the depression the ladies aid society played no small part in meeting the financial obligations of the church. In 1937 three women’s groups, the Ladies Aid, Home and Foreign Missionary Societies United, becoming the Women’s Society of Christian Service.
As we celebrate these 150 years as a congregation and look back, we also look forward; seeking God’s will in our body of believers. It is not the building that makes a church it is the people.
Join Monson Chapel‑in‑celebration‑of the first 150 years on September 15, 2002 beginning with Worship Service at 10:00. Lunch will be served after services and at 1:00 there will be an outdoor concert. The celebration will include commemorative items, food, and fellowship.
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