East Side Methodist Church will celebrate its 50th anniversary the weekend of June 25 and 26.
The theme for the event is “Celebrating 50 Years of Sharing God’s Love.”
The church was founded on Jan. 15, 1961, with 17 members. The congregation first met in a home at 1220 Manchester St. in Newton.
However, on Sept. 4, 1961, ground was broken for the congregation’s current building at 1520 E. Broadway.
The first service was conducted in that building on March 18, 1962.
During the years, multiple additions and renovations have been done to the church building and grounds.
In 2001, the Methodist Flame and Cross insignia was made and installed at the south end of the church building by Dallice, David and Alan Baumgartner.
In 2007, handicap access was added to the restrooms, and in 2008, an illuminated church sign was added to the church lot and a video projector system was installed in the church sanctuary.
In 1968, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church joined, and the church changed its name to East Side United Methodist Church.
Missions have long been an important part of the congregation’s mission. In 1980, the church designated the fifth Sunday of the month as the time for special offering for special missions.
The congregation takes part in annual Harvest of Love food drive and fills shoe boxes for Billy Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse project for needy children.
Several of the church’s members have gone on to be missionaries or gone into ministry. These include the Rev. Laurence Hastings, the Rev John Bland, Jennifer Clark Veer, MAF missionary in Africa and Jennifer King Soderquist with Team Missions, currently living and working in inner-city Chicago. Soderquist and her husband, Mark, also conduct short sports ministry trips to Guatemala, Eastern Europe, Russia, China and Hong Kong.
Jennifer Soderquist has written a special reader’s theater, titled “Front Lines,” for the anniversary celebration.
The scripture for the celebration weekend will be “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3.
Former ministers in attendance will be Jack Harris, Harry Liggett, Jim Swank and J. Ray Swearingen. Living charter members in attendance will be Clifford King, Marian Zook Heidner and Alberta King.
Kansas area Bishop the Rev. Dr. Scott Jones will be the featured speaker. His message will be titled “Confidently, Crazily Loving God and Neighbor.”
District Superintendent the Rev. Richard Saylor and current minister the Rev. John J. Goering also will participant in the festivities.
For more information on the weekend’s events contact Alice Miller at 283-2957 or Mary Watts at email@example.com.