The year 1971 marks the 100th year United Methodist Church has been serving God and the people of Lincoln.
Methodism had its beginning in this area in December 1870 when 28 people gathered in a pioneer home. In January of 1871 an estimated 40 person met at the Schermerhorn Store on Elkhorn Creek when a minister from Salina preached the first Methodist sermon in Lincoln County. Rev. J.N. Bartell was appointed by the conference as pastor of the Salina circuit, which included Lincoln, and he preached the first sermon on Sunday, April 2, 1871, in a private home. A Sunday School was also formed that April day. At the time of the organization, perhaps the first of any denomination in the county, the membership was listed at 13. Rev. John Medcraft, a minister from London, England, moved to the community; and on April 16, 1971, he preached at the store in Abram. Rev. Medcraft was the first resident Methodist ministering Lincoln County and figured prominently in organizing the fledging church.
The first church building was erected at the corner of Fourth and School streets, the site where the present church now stands. A white frame structure was built in 1885 at a cost of $1,535. Only five years later the congregation had grown to the number of 197 and the building was enlarged and a choir loft and belfry were added. An annex for the Sunday School was built south of this frame church in 1912.
With passing years and a constantly growing membership, plans were formulated to build the present-day brick structure. The complete church with beautiful stained-glass windows was dedicated Sept. 10, 1916, at a cost of $25,000. Improvements to the present church have been made throughout the years. Sanctuary remodeling was done in 1940 and again in the 1960s. An air conditioner was a gift in 1957 and memorial gifts provided a speaker system last year. In 1953 a house located at 101 E. Lost St. was purchased, remodeled and relocated for use as a church parsonage.
Forty-one ministers have served the Lincoln church since the time of its organization. The present minister is Rev. Garner Berg. Rev. Berg’s family includes his wife Harriet, their two sons, Barry and Jon, and small daughter Brenda.
Organizations within the church include the Women’s Society of Christian Service and Wesleyan Service Guild.
When the Prairie Grove Methodist Church disbanded in 1953 many of its members united with the local church. In 1967 it was proposed that the Lincoln Church share a minister with the Beverly Methodist Church and both churches agreed to this arrangement.
The Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church nationally and the name was changed to the United Methodist Church in 1968.
The centennial year observance has included the return of former pastors on designated Sundays. A history has been written and printed and Centennial plates picturing the present church are being made available.
Sunday, May 16, has been designated as Centennial Sunday and the Bishop of the Kansas Area, Bishop W. McFerrin Stowe, will be the guest speaker at the morning worship service. An “Old Fashioned Sunday School Hour” will precede the worship service. Centennial costumes will be worn Centennial Sunday to add to the festivities. Displays of pictures, furniture and other items pertaining to church history will be shown. An afternoon program including an historical skit and special music will follow the basket dinner in Fellowship Hall.
Many former members and friends who live away from our community are planning to attend and celebrate this day of “A Century of Faith” for the United Methodist Church.