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Historical Ministry

Date: 1st Monday of the Month
Time: 9:00a to Noon
Location: Library
Ministry Leader: Keith Brown

Manchester United Methodist Church has a most interesting and remarkable history. Its rich past includes being part of the establishment of the City of Manchester and being the original Methodist church west of the Mississippi.

All are welcome to join this team of volunteers, called the Historical Ministry, who are a dedicated group of individuals interested in preserving the rich history of Manchester UMC for future generations.

Historical Ministry’s History & Mission

On February 8, 2022, the Historical Ministry was held to state that the purpose of the ministry is to establish and preserve archives which document the past, present and future people, and events of Manchester UMC. The Historical Ministry developed a catalog system containing: documents, photographs, electronic media (DVDs, VHS tapes, movies, audio tapes) artifacts, books paintings, and more.

The Historical Ministry is composed of individuals who have the desire to preserve the history of Manchester UMC’s past, present and future. All ages and stages of life are welcome to assist the Historical Ministry. No experience or Manchester UMC membership are required.

Historical Ministry’s Mission

The Manchester UMC Historical Ministry will serve the Leadership Board, the pastors, various ministries of the Church, the congregation and the community to record its service to Christ. Primary responsibilities include the recording of accurate records, preservation of records and historical materials, and promoting the understanding and appreciation of the history and heritage of MUMC.

The Manchester UMC Historical Ministry has an obligation to preserve the history of the church and its people. The history of the church is about the people involved in building the church, their struggles, their success, and the many accomplishments along the way. Many have contributed to the building of an institution, not just the structure housing the institution.

Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are needed to help catalog new items, organize and input materials into the ministry’s software program. Flexible shifts allow the volunteers to help when they are able.

Current On-Going Projects:

  • Organize documents, photographs, books, DVD’s, etc.
  • Record these items into the Historical Ministry’s database.
  • Convert VHS tapes and scan photographs to digital formats.

Please complete one form per person:

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When converting these paper or media materials (i.e., slides, VHS tapes, etc.) to digital format, there is a cost incurred. The Historical Ministry is seeking donations to cover these expenses.

To securely donate to the Historical Ministry, please use the following button. In the memo line, please state “Historical Ministry“.

History of Manchester United Methodist Church

The Beginning

Ministers, known as “Circuit Riders”, traveled to a “circuit” of Methodist churches to hold worship services. These Circuit Riders braved the elements as they traveled by horseback to minister to area Methodists. Below is a high level timeline and facts about Manchester UMC.

Timeline and Facts about Manchester UMC

1803The Louisiana Purchase brought freedom of religion to Missouri
1826John Ball, founder of the City of Ballwin, donated the first permanent place of worship to the Methodists
1837The congregation built a frame church on Woods Mill Road
1852The oldest known grave sites in the Manchester UMC Cemetery are Joseph Harrison (August 9) and Elizabeth Duvall (August 12)
1856Construction of the current brick Chapel
1859John Ball died and buried in the Manchester UMC Cemetery on August 31
1920-1950Membership declined to only a few dozen families, including Finlays, Shotwells, Stoeckers, Schroeders, and Fergusons. They refused to abandon the church
1959Purchase of the cottage, south of the church, renovation of the Chapel
1965Construction of Education Building
1966Groundbreaking for Sanctuary on December 17th; new parsonage built for senior minister on Creve Coeur Avenue.
1967Second parsonage purchased on Creve Coeur for first full-time associate minister
1968Cornerstone laid for new sanctuary
1969Consecration of Sanctuary on May 11
1982Listing of the Chapel in the National Register of Historic Places
1986Construction of new Administrative Offices, narthex, youth and music rooms
1988Renovation of the Historic Chapel-rededication Service December 4
1997Ground breaking for a new Sanctuary on February 16
1998First service held in the new Sanctuary on December 20
1999Consecration of new Sanctuary on February 14
2000First meeting of the Historical Committee ministry on February 8
2006Chapel’s 150th Anniversary Celebration
2015Heritage Brook honors those “Circuit Riders” and was constructed on northside of the Historic Chapel
2021Hitching Post which represented the “Circuit Rider” era was installed on the northside of the Historic Chapel
The Church on the Hill Book

Between 2010 and 2011, the first edition of the book, The Church on the Hill, was written by members of the Historical Ministry. This original book had a wealth of information about most all areas of Manchester UMC. Previous sales from this book provided funds to offset the Historical Ministries expenses.

A printing of the second edition is in consideration and the interest in ordering will assist in making that decision. If interested in purchasing a copy of the second edition, please email the Historical Ministry Leader, Keith Brown.

Historical Photos of Manchester United Methodist Church

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Questions? Please email the Historical Ministry Leader, Keith Brown.

Check out these websites:


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