KENOVA — Kenova United Methodist Church, located at 503 15th St. in Kenova, will celebrate 125 years next weekend.
All are welcome to celebrate at the church on Sunday, Oct. 27. The guest speaker will be the Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball. Other invited guests are Okey Harless, Western District superintendent, and several former pastors and leaders who were instrumental in the vision, planning and construction of the church building. There will be only one Sunday morning service starting at 10:30 a.m. The combined service will feature a joint choir of the Golden Chords and Chancel Choir members. A commemorative booklet is being published with church history as well as photos of former ministers and the church building throughout the years. Lunch will be provided following the service.
In addition to celebrating the anniversary next weekend, church members will celebrate the burning of the church mortgage.
According to members, the church itself has a rich history that began in 1890, when the Grace Episcopal Church was organized by L.T. Peck and Charles C. Coe. The church building was located on the northwest corner of 18th and Chestnut streets and was moved there from Volcano, West Virginia, via barges on the Ohio River. This church was later disbanded because of the lack of interested members, after which the Kenova Methodist Episcopal Church used the building for its beginning. On Oct. 28, 1894, the Kenova Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by the Rev. E. A. Davis, the first pastor. Since Davis was already pastor of the Ceredo Church, the histories of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Kenova and the Methodist Episcopal Church of Ceredo are intertwined. On Nov. 21, 1895, a lot was purchased at 16th and Sycamore streets for a church building. This original church was a small white frame building built on the lot and valued at $1,450. The debt on this building was paid in 1903 with a dedication service, which was held Sept. 27, 1903.
In 1939, the union of three Methodist Churches — the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and the Methodist Protestant Church — led to a milestone in the history of Methodism and is known as the “Methodist Unification” movement. Locally, in 1940, this led to the union of the Kenova Methodist Episcopal and the Kenova Methodist Episcopal Church South. After the union of these two churches, the new church was known as the Kenova Methodist Church and the former Kenova Methodist Episcopal Church, South building was sold to the Kenova Church of God, which is still in use today.
The next major milestone came in 1968 with the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church which brought into existence a church of more than 10 million members. This resulted in the name change to “The United Methodist Church” — thus Kenova United Methodist Church, as it is known today.