||Grace United Methodist Church
Contributed by Linda Cheal
The History of the Grace United Methodist Church, Wautoma, WI
Written in 1981
1863 THE FIRST METHODIST CHURCH
The history of Methodism in Wautoma goes back almost to the beginning of Wautoma as a village. In 1859 Methodism sent its first preacher to Wautoma. His name was M.D. Warner. The Oxford Street lot on which the former Wautoma Methodist Church stood was purchased from Joseph White. The deed is dated August 8, 1863. The first Methodist Church was erected on this lot the same year and continued to serve as a place of worship until 1893, when it was sold and moved away.
1875 SOUTH DAKOTA CHURCH
(formerly called the Zion Church of the Evangelical Association)
The Grace Evangelical United Brethren had its beginning when three men, Gustav Zinke, Alfred Mueller, and Wilhem Doge were elected by the president and secretary of the Evangelical Association of North America to form a church under the name of the Zion Church of the Evangelical Association. This church was formed in the village of Dakota and the document was signed by the Governor and assistant Secretary of the State of Wisconsin on the eighteenth of October, 1875.
1894 THE SECOND METHODIST CHURCH
The second church building was constructed in 1894 on the same location. The cost of that building was $6,000. Rev. F.G. Parish was pastor at that time. A house was purchased from L.J. Larsen for a parsonage in 1902 at the cost of $1,500. It is located on the corner of Main Street and Oxford Street, next to the church. For 50 years the members of this Gothic-spired Church met for worship. One morning on January 18, 1944 this church was practically destroyed by fire. Rev. S.B. Lewis, the pastor, soon began to make plans for a new structure set farther back from the street. Church services were held in the Norwegian Lutheran Church for about three and one half years.
1903 NORTH DAKOTA CHURCH
In 1903, the Evangelical Church was built about 4 miles south of Wautoma in the township of Dakota and was known as the North Dakota Church. This church served the congregation for 35 years. This organization became a part of the Neshkoro Circuit which included Neshkoro, Germania, Crystal Lake, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Deerfield in 1915. The South Dakota Church closed in the late 1920s and most of the members joined the North Dakota. The South Dakota Church was purchased by the Seventh Day Adventist congregation and moved to Wautoma where it is still used today.
1918 SPRING LAKE CHURCH
At the quarterly conference in October 1918, Spring Lake Church was added to the Wautoma charge and is part of the circuit today.
1938 NORTH DAKOTA CHURCH BEING MOVED
At the quarterly conference at Neshkoro in 1938, the North Dakota church was allowed to sell the closed Deerfield church or salvage the materials. Then on August 29 and 30, 1938, the North Dakota Church was moved into Wautoma, remodeled and extended with a full basement. Most of the work was done by members with salvaged materials from the Deerfield Church.
1938 THE NEW EVANGELICAL CHURCH
A merger took place in 1946 between the Evangelical church and the United Brethren and the combined group became the Evangelical United Brethren Church of Wautoma. Finally, in 1967 Grace United Brethren and the Wautoma Methodist Church joined together under the National merger to become the Grace United Methodist Church of Wautoma, to worship together at Wautoma Methodist Church. The Grace Evangelical United Brethren was sold to the Baptist congregation of Wautoma where its members are now worshipping.
1948 THE THIRD METHODIST CHURCH
Although World War II was over, building operations proceeded slowly due to shortages of material and labor, and it was not until November 27, 1948 that the cornerstone was laid. The services of the occasion were conducted by Bishop H. Clifford Northcott. A copy of the program with the records was enclosed in a copper receptacle placed in the cornerstone. In 1949 the Methodist congregation was able to conduct services in the basement of its own new church building. The church was formerly consecrated by Bishop Northcott on March 11, 1951. Many gifts and donated labor, together with Memorials helped defray the expenses of $70,000.
1952 RAYMOND CHURCH SEVERED
The Raymond Methodist Church had been part of the Wautoma charge before 1918. The Wisconsin Annual Conference in 1952 severed the Raymond parish from that of the Wautoma circuit – leaving only Spring Lake and Wautoma churches in this circuit.
1981 THE FOURTH METHODIST CHURCH
This church, located at State Hwy 22 in Southgate Tr. was consecrated on July 12, 1981. The former church building, located on Oxford Street, was sold, remodeled and used for housing.