Countless hours of preparation culminate Sunday as Grace United Methodist Church in Galva celebrates its 150th anniversary.

Countless hours of preparation culminate Sunday as Grace United Methodist Church in Galva celebrates its 150th anniversary.

“We would like to take this opportunity to invite all past members, their families and friends to celebrate with us,” Grace United Methodist Church Pastor Karen Martin said in a press release.

Sunday’s celebration is set for 2 p.m. with Rev. Frank Beard, bishop of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church, serving as the guest speaker at the 150th anniversary worship service.

Following the service, a reception will be held downstairs at the church in Grace Hall. The building is handicap accessible.

The church has compiled a special historical booklet, which will be given to all families in attendance Sunday, documenting its 150 years.

Those unable to attend can still contribute to the celebration.

“We would love to have a personal letter about your time here or of fond memories of Grace United Methodist Church,” Pastor Martin said. “Our plans are to place the letters in a scrapbook for future generations.”

The address for letters is Grace UMC, 108 S.E. Second St., Galva IL, 61434.

 

The history of Grace UMC

On May 3, 1867, Rev. A.J. Anderson, then pastor of Bishop Hill, organized the Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church of Galva with 15 members. This was 13 years after the founding of Galva as a town.

The new organization purchased two lots facing south at S.E. First Avenue and S.E. Second Street, and work was soon started on the construction of a church at the cost of $3,000 for the land and building.

“It seems incredible that such a small group could purchase lots and build a church since most worked for less than $1 a day,” Pastor Martin said.

On the evening of June 13, 1892, a tornado passed through Galva leaving destruction in its path. The church was badly damaged, as well as many other dwellings and businesses. The cost of the rebuild was the same as the original cost of the land and building — $3,000.

When the work was completed, a re-dedication service was held on Nov. 22, 1892.

“Because of the dedication of these early Swedish Christians, and many other generations that came after, we are filled with excitement as Grace UMC gets ready for this historic celebration,” Pastor Martin said.