BLOOMINGTON — An anchor church on Bloomington’s west side is inviting the public to join its celebration of 125 years in the community next month.
Park United Methodist Church, 704 S. Allin St., was founded in 1892 and continues to offer several Sunday services, choirs, youth groups, Bible studies and Christmas Eve services.
The church will host an open house from 3 to 6 p.m. Dec. 9 with food, caroling, a display of church history and fellowship.
A special service at 11:10 a.m. Dec 10 will be followed by a lunch for its current congregation and past clergy.
“This congregation has a servant heart for the neighborhood, a joyful heart for worship and a strong dependence upon prayer,” said the Rev. Stephanie Soon, who became pastor of the congregation this year.
Park United also hosts the Methodist Ministries Food Pantry at 5 p.m. every other Monday and back-to-school celebrations.
The church began when the Epworth League of First Methodist Church sponsored a Sunday school at 1005 W. Washington St. in Bloomington. A church was built on the property and completed in 1897.
A cornerstone for the new (and current) church building was laid in 1906 at the corner of Allin Street and Oakland Avenue (then Clay Street). The cornerstone contained a Bible, a copy of the church discipline, a list of original members and illustrations of the building then under construction.
The brick building was completed in 1907 for $17,000. The church had 103 members at the time.
In 1928, an educational addition was added to the church, giving the building its current appearance.
According to Pantagraph archives, it was originally named Park Methodist Episcopal Church because of its proximity to Miller Park. Due to a national merger between the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren churches, the Bloomington location was renamed Park United Methodist Church in 1968.
A growing congregation in the 1960s caused the church add service times and expand the parking lot.
The church currently worships at 11:10 a.m. every Sunday, with coffee hour at 10:30 a.m.