Gashland United Methodist Church History
Brief History of Gashland United Methodist Church
Under the leadership of the Rev. A. B. Coffman, the Gashland Methodist Church organized on December 17, 1926, with thirty-one charter members. The chief place of meeting was a little cottage on Barry Road which had been donated for the year by Mr. Charles R. Bigham.
Early in 1927 this congregation faced up to its responsibility and started its first building and the following October the building was occupied for services at 300 Northeast 83rd Terrace. It was a basement building about fifty feet square with worship, pastor’s study, kitchen, social and utility rooms. It was the plan of the congregation to erect an upper structure on this as soon as feasible. But before the indebtedness could be retired, the financial adversities of the 1930’s came and progressive plans were shelved until June 1947 when work was begun for the new addition. The plans were well laid and the work proceeded until completion. Worship was first held in the beautiful new sanctuary Easter Sunday 1950.
In November 1956 a building fund was started and with part of these funds a five-acre building site at North Oak and Northeast Seventy-Seventh Street was purchased in February 1958. By September 1961, the congregation decided to add two more acres to this site and the purchase was made, making a 346 foot frontage on North Oak Street and a depth of 900 feet. In December 1961, the congregation voted to authorize the trustees and the building committee to supervise construction of a new church building according to plans and specifications adopted, and to make the necessary arrangements and decisions. The Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new church sanctuary was held November 4, 1962. About two hundred people attended. The progress of the building was swift and satisfactory. Members of the church, Dr. Harold Pilcher and Damon Pursell served lead contractors. The first service in the new Gashland United Methodist sanctuary at North Oak Street and Northeast Seventy-Seventh Street was held on Sunday, May 5, 1963. The total indebtedness was paid off in late 1982. Bishop W. T. Handy dedicated the Church on March 13, 1983.
Through the years, the Gashland UMC church and grounds have served the community in many ways. In the mid 1960’s, the church opened its doors to lease space to the Missouri Highway Patrol and thousands of young people came to GUMC to take their driving tests. The ball field on the back part of the church property served as a practice and game field for adult league softball and the youngest age of baseball. The church still hosts meetings for the largest quilting group in the northland and a community square Dance group. GUMC also has hosts some off-campus events for Oak Park High school.
1997 GUMC remodeled the sanctuary to update and install screen for powerpoint presentations and video during worship. And then in 2008, over 40 years after the move to the top of the hill on the border of Gladstone and Kansas City, the congregation at Gashland United Methodist Church realized that the building that was welcoming over 40 years ago needed some help to continue the hospitality it has shared over the decades. A capital campaign raised pledges for over $600,000 of the eventual $1.1 million to remodel, add new gathering area and offices. The new addition and remodel was completed in September, 2009.
Through the years, Gashland has had steady growth in worship attendance from 30 in 1926 to 180 in 1963 to 274 at its peak in 1985. Sunday school has always had been a place to learn and to build relationships with others working to grow in their faith. GUMC has had full-time pre-school until 2000 and today we offer the Bright-Start pre-school which serves 30-40 children per year with a wonderful and committed staff of 7. The climbing tower was built by the church in 1996 to help continue to grow the scouting program and add an outdoor ministry to the community. It currently serves as training for fire departments and rescue workers in the northland, as well as an outing for many youth groups and scout troops among others.
Throughout its 84 year history; through ups and downs of life together, Gashland United Methodist has tried to live our mission:
At Gashland United Methodist Church we are called by God to Transform lives through Christ, so that all people can experience what it means to live their faith daily.