History of Greenup United Methodist Church
John Wesley and his brother Charles formed a group that ministered to the needs of the English society while attending Oxford University. Wesley and his followers were very devout and methodical in meeting and studying the Bible, providing aid to indigent people in England, and generally promoting the general welfare of the poor, and those who were not able to attend church due to repressive work conditions. Eventually, eventually people derisively referred to Wesley and his followers as Methodists. After John and Charles graduated, they became ministers in the Church of England. In 1735, they responded to a request of Governor Oglethorpe to come to Georgia and convert Indians. They spend about one year in Georgia and then returned to England, where they continued working within the Church of England organizing the Methodist movement.
After its establishment in England, the Methodist movement spread to Ireland and then to the American colonies. Lay ministers carried the Gospel of Jesus Christ to pioneers on the American frontier. Wesley did not intend to establish a new denomination in the American Colonies before the American Revolution. He was only trying to work within the Church of England by expanding his Methodist movement in the Colonies.
In 1771 Francis Asbury, a blacksmith, arrived in the American colonies to spread Methodistism. He sided with the American colonists during the Revolutionary War. Later, Thomas Coke arrived to aid Asbury. They worked incessantly to establish the Methodist movement.
At the end of the American Revolution, it became apparent that the Church of England could not survive in the newly liberated Colonies. On December 24, 1784, sixty preachers gathered in Baltimore, Maryland and organized the Methodist Episcopal Church at the gathering known as the Christmas Conference and a new denomination was born separate from the Church of England.
The newly formed Church sent several lay preachers including James Haw to the Kentucky frontier. He wrote to the Bishop Asbury saying “no man must be sent to this frontier unless he isn’t afraid to die.” One such man was Samuel Demint, an old time circuit rider, who was assigned to Greenup County that then comprised Greenup, Boyd, Carter, and Lewis Counties. He was instrumental in establishing a Methodist church in Old Town, where he lived, Springville (South Portsmouth), and Mt. Zion (Fullerton).
It is a reasonable conjecture (from deeds) that the Methodist church at Greenup originally met during the early years prior to 1845 in a preaching house on lot 27 north of our present day church (deeds conveyed July 10, 1854 witnesses by Trustees of Greenup Seminary George Wurtz, E.I.Hockaday, C.M. Wilson, and J.C.Kouns). Today, this lot is present site of the church parking lot.
In April 14, 1845, John C. Kouns deeded two lots to the church where it stands today.
In 1845, the Methodist Episcopal Church divided over the issue of slavery forming the Methodist Episcopal, South, and the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Methodist Episcopal Church Conference declared that laymen who owned slaves were required to free them within two years (2), or be excluded from membership. Later, they withdrew this declaration because Virginia and the southern states opposed the freeing of slaves. But, the damage was done and the church splint anyway.
In May 1844 in New York at the General Conference the church drafted a declaration that a southern bishop, Bishop Andrew, should resign his office because he had to potential to own slaves. Actually, his wife was the slave holder, but Bishop Andrew was stripped from his bishop’s position in the church. At the same conference a plan of separation for the two jurisdictions for Northern and Southern states was approved by the Methodist Episcopal Church. On May 1, 1845, the organizing conference of the Southern Church met in Lousiville, Kentucky, and created the new Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
John C. Kouns deeded lot 26 to the Methodist Episcopal Church on April 14, 1845, in Greenup, Kentucky. Thus, the land for the Greenup Methodist Church was acquired two weeks before the Methodist Episcopal Church South existed. A coincidence that the acquisition of the property and the split occurred at approximately the same time, therefore it was designated a Methodist Episcopal Church, South. From September 15th to the 22nd 1858, an annual conference was held at Greenupsburg, but was changed to Greenup around 1873. In 1876, the Methodist Episcopal Church established a church on Perry Street in Greenup and its members began to worship in the courthouse.
In February 1880, A.C. Van Dyke and wife deeded a sixty foot portion on lot 56 to the trustees of Methodist Episcopal Church in Greenup. Three of the trustees were W. Crawford, John Moran, and J.H. Jacobs.
The Kouns family was a prominent family in the Methodist Episcopal Church Kouns and become upset when a minister preached sermon chastising members for dancing and card playing. The Kouns family withdrew their membership and financied the construction of the Catholic mission in Greenup on Laurel Street.
Merger of Northern and Southern Churches
Both churches operated independently until May 10, 1939 when the Board minutes indicated that the new churches would unit in conformity with the merge of both churches nationwide. Rev. B.L. Allen, pastor, and Rev. W.H. Muncy were present at meeting. Rev. Muncy became the last pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church because of the merger. The new church became known as the United Methodist Church.
Later Development of the Church
The church officers decided that they would alternate services every six months in both churches. However, after six months of conducting services in the Methodist Episcopal Church at the site of the present church, they decided to stay on Main street and build a new church. In 1945, the church constructed a new fellowship hall while Rev. B.L. Allen was the pastor.
On September 14, 1945, the church purchased a parsonage from Mrs. Annie Bennett for $3,000. It was such a drain on the budget that it was razed and the present parsonage built at a cost of $18,000. Later, the church moved the parsonage to the upper end of Greenup to make room for the new sanctuary constructed in 2004.
The Ladies Aid, a forerunner of United Methodist Women, from the church on Perry St. quilted, served dinners, and held bake sales to purchase six $100 war bonds. After the war, the church officers decided to purchase carpeting with the matured bonds for the sanctuary in early the 1980’s.
In 1968 The Methodist Church and the The Evangelical United Brethren Church united to become the United Methodist Church.
In 1968 the Administrative Council gave the Virginia Dover class the authority to build the parsonage. Pete Nicholls was given the authority to make day-to-day decisions of the construction of the parsonage and Pat Wurts, a descent of George Wurts (early member of the church) was the contractor. The congregation paid for the parsonage in two years and celebrated with a mortgage-burning ceremony.
In 1963, the church purchased new benches and a communion table. Brass plates, in memory or in honor of members, were placed on furniture. Rolly Patterson constsructed the paneling (Lucille Mauk’s father), and benches were turned to face north. April 20, 1994, the church hired Mike Norman to build the new Family Life Center. On August 27, 1995, the church executed a mortgage of $150,000 from First and People’s Bank to finance construction of the new Family Life Center. The sanctuary was turned back to its original state with benches facing the alcove. C.H. Hurn, Jeff Hurn’s father, made new kneeling rails and bell tables. Paneling that was removed which revealed the north stained glass window. The only existing item from the church on Perry St. is the communion set presently located in a glass case in the new sanctuary.
In 2003, the Administrative Council voted to build the new sanctuary at a cost of almost $900,000. The Council appointed a Building Committee under the leadership of Judge Jeff Preston to build the sanctuary. Workers completed construction just in time to be utilized for Christmas 2004. In 2005, the church acquired the property next door that was the former Sizemore residence. The house was given to a family who moved it just behind the church, but it was later razed. The church blacktopped the property and uses it today as the parking lot.
In the spring on 1989 Kate Dunn, Louis Chandler, and Gordon Thomas passed away a few weeks apart. Each family asked for donations to a bell fund in lieu of flowers. The church opened an account to purchase the hand bells. When Barbara Nicholls presented the bill to the treasurer, the bill was $3,043, the exact amount given in the memory of the three saints.
After Barb’s Grandmother Cole passed away, she inherited some money that Barb Nicholls donated to buy an additional octave of bells. Later, Thelma Hurn donated the chimes in memory of her husband Charles Thomas Hurn.
Mollie Leslie Class
Mollie Freye was very active in the church located on Perry Street. Quilting frames stayed up all the time in her upstairs bedroom. Mrs. Grace Thompson, Miss Bertha Crawford, Lial Callihan, Anna Dunn, and Kate Dunn would come every Monday and quilt at Mollie Freye’s house. Mollie was also on the administrative board when the church voted to merge with the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Also, Mrs. Florence Leslie was as active in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. So, when the United Methodist Women named the present circle it became the Mollie Leslie Circle after the two very active members of both two churches.