To say that we have an interesting history is something of an understatement. Today’s Dwight United Methodist Church stems from 3 previous area churches with around 10 prior church names.
The oldest former church is Salem Evangelical United Brethern Church, which was started in 1852 in Goodfarm Township. The Methodist Episcopal Church (or Dwight Methodist Church) started a few years later in 1855. Finally, the Zion Evangelical United Brethern Church formed in 1862. All three churches espent their earliest years meeting in stores, homes, farms, and tents under the direction of traveling pastors who would stop at the churches to preach once every few weeks. By 1877, all three churches had constructed their own buildings to meet in, but only the Dwight Methodist Church had a permanent pastor. The Salem and Zion churches began operating jointly in 1907 as the “Dwight Mission” under their first permanent pastor, Reverend John Marth. Meanwhile, the Dwight Methodist Church flourished – boasting around 450 Sunday School students (children and adults), a brand new building, and a beautiful pipe organ installed in 1909. In 1964 and 1965, the Salem EUB and Zion EUB churches met together as one church, and a year later, the initial union was formed between all 3 churches. Finally, in 1968, the Evangelical United Brethern and the Methodist Episcopal churches were merged into one church known as the United Methodist Church. That same year, the Salem and Zion EUB churches officially merged with the Dwight Methodist Church to form what we now call the Dwight United Methodist Church.
Today, you can find many reminders of our heritage throughout our building. We have several stained glass windows from the old churches hung in the Welcome Area and in the Fellowship Hall. Cornerstones from each church can also be found mounted in the wall of the Fellowship Hall below a picture of all 3 churches. You can even find a stained glass portrait of Jesus from the original DUMC building framed in the Library. For more artifacts, have a look in the cabinet in the Welcome Area.
Today’s DUMC is quite a bit different from the churches it was formed out of, but one thing hasn’t changed: our dedication to Christ. Through over 150 years of church history, we have dedicated ourselves to spreading the light of Christ to our neighbors and to the world. We have also been consistent in our generous support of other great organizations dedicated to helping people here and abroad, including several organizations who have continuously received our support for nearly a century.
Come visit us some time and see where God is taking us now.