HISTORY

Byron UMC

The Byron United Methodist church had its beginnings with the first families that settled this area. The first sermons preached were by Rev. David L. King, an ordained Deacon from Illinois, at Salem and Hartford near Oxbow park where he had settled in 1855. Following the “circuit riders” meeting in various schools and homes a class was formed at Byron when the town was platted out in 1866. A year later a group of trustees was formed to find suitable lots for a parsonage and a church building. A parsonage was built in 1868 and the first church was erected in 1873 on the present site under the leadership of Re. Forbes.

The congregation grew slowly, then for 5 years under Rev. Wm. King in 1890 there was an increase in numbers and spirituality. There was a bell added to the belfry at Christmas time 1895. That bell still calls people to worship from the bell tower in front of the present building.

By 1914 during the pastorate of Rev. Hickman there was need for Sunday school space so a 2-story addition was put onto the sanctuary and a basement dining hall and gym were also added. The ladies were very active at this time so this provided space for meeting and dinners to be held. This became a community center and meeting hall as well as a gym for the school to use. Stained glass windows were added on 2 sides and are now part of our front entrance.

Improvements continued to be made as new pews and new flooring were added. In the mid 1930’s the sanctuary was remodeled also new Chancel furnishings, lights and a pipe organ were added. Much of this has been incorporated into our present church.

An education building was erected in 1963 under the direction of Rev. Achterkirch to accommodate our growing Sunday school rolls. A new sanctuary, fellowship hall and kitchen was built in 1987 on the site of the original church. In 1997 a new parsonage was purchased and the old parsonage removed to make room for a much-needed parking lot.

From 1866 until the present time a total of 48 pastors have served our church and about a dozen men and women from its membership have become ministers or are engaged in church related work.


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