Urban Explorer Episode 3: Wesley United Methodist Church

By Brent Cotter

For a number of years, I lived across the street from the Wesley United Methodist Church (Wesley UMC). At the time, the neighborhood had an entirely different life to it. (The firehouse was on Plum street, and West Side Middle School was still open.)

Working third shift at the time, I'd sometimes be awoken as both fire trucks and children screamed loudly past my apartment, and the speakers of the First Christian Church began trumpeting The Lords Prayer. But eventually, these unexpected alarms melted into the comforting rhythm of my neighborhood. This rhythm was kept in time by the towering clock of the Wesley UMC.

With the church and its accompanying clock tower playing such a prominent role in my former neighborhood, I've always been eager to explore it in detail. Thanks to the Wesley UMC and Pastor Alex Hershey, I recently got the chance to do just that.

I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Visit our flickr photostream for all the photos.

In 1851, when Union City was a half-dozen cabins in a wilderness, Rev, Thomas Colclazer came to the Deerfield Circuit. his first meeting place in Union City was the home of Henry DeBolt, with a congregation of four.

Rev. Marmaduke H. Mendenhall came to Union City in 1858 with instructions to "build a church." After a Methodist revival in February 1859, 121 probationers were added to the church's roll. A church was built on Columbia Street, just north of Oak Street, which soon became too small. In 1869 the present location was secured on the southwest corner of Oak and Plum. Since then, various versions of the church building have been built, rebuilt, and added on.

A merger of the Protestant, North, and South Methodist Episcopal Churches, resulted in the church changing its name from "First M. E. Church" to First Methodist." Another merger, in 1969, of the Methodist and the Evangelical United Brethren Churches, to form the United Methodist Church, caused one more name change. The congregation voted on "Wesley United Methodist."

Today, the people of Wesley UMC continue to serve God through children and youth ministries, various mission opportunities, Wonderful Wednesday gatherings, small groups, recreational ministries, and traditional and contemporary worship services. - Provided by Wesley UMC

Just inside the main entrance, looking up to the second level of the clock tower

Second level of the clock tower

Bell on the third level of the clock tower
Looking up to the fourth level of the clock tower

Looking below to the third level

Fourth level of the clock tower