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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Faith for 175 Years

Central United Methodist Church observes anniversary

Gloria Millay’s family moved to Evansville when she was 7 years old and her parents, who wanted a good place for their four kids to attend Sunday school, decided to visit Central United Methodist Church.

Millay is 78 today, and she’s still a member. Central UMC celebrated its 175th anniversary with a special service April 14 that retiring Indiana Conference Bishop Julius Trimble attended.

Millay says the church remains a treasured place to nurture faith and friendship. She adds that UMC’s youth ministry is one of the church’s most endearing qualities, and “we’re all still trying to carry that on.”

Central UMC originated in 1849 when the Methodist Church established Evansville City Mission at North Main and Pennsylvania streets.

In 1853, a church was built on Ingle Street between Seventh and Eighth and named Ingle Street Methodist Episcopal Church. That building was outgrown, but an attempt to build anew on Eighth Street in the 1870s was abandoned due to a nationwide recession.

A new church opened at Franklin and Mary streets in 1906, and it was renamed Central United Methodist Church. That building rapidly ran out of space, and construction of the present sanctuary at 300 Mary St. started in 1924. Congregants met at Veterans Memorial Coliseum while the church was under construction.

The current building has been expanded over the years with an educational wing and family life center.

The church’s eldest and newest member. Photo provided by Stan Schmitt

Central UMC is active on many fronts in Evansville — it was a charter member of Congregations Acting for Justice and Empowerment in 2003.

“The thing that stands out the most to me is some really good people who are deeply committed to their faith and to their church,” says the Rev. Dewey Miller, who has pastored the church since 2019. “… We’re looking forward to a good long future.”

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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