Nebraska City church dates back to 1850′s

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 3:36 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - First United Methodist Church is considered to be the first Methodist church in Nebraska. It is believed to have started in 1853.

“It has its roots with a Reverend Gage who was in the area. He was a itinerant preacher,” Peru State College history professor Sara Crook said. “Because this had been the site of the original Fort Kearny, there were people in the area even in 1853. So that’s when the church started to meet as a group. In 1854 when the Kansas-Nebraska Act was official, and Nebraska was a territory, a group of people started to form the church. In the winter of 1855, they started to built it.”

An original part of a wall can be seen outside the chancel area of the church, and there is a sign on the outside wall that tells visitors where it is. “Parts of the original church are still here,” Crook said.

Lucille Sharp is from the Nebraska City area, and she remembers going to First United Methodist Church throughout her life. “This church is special because I came into the church when I was a young person, and we’ve always participated,” Sharp said. “I became a member of the choir, my mother belonged to women’s groups, and I often think of the pioneers who worked so hard to plant the seeds of our faith here.”

The First United Methodist Church was a featured stop on this year’s 10/11 Can Care A Van.

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