Carson City’s United Methodist Church to celebrate 160th birthday
The First United Methodist Church is inviting Carson City to help celebrate the congregation’s 160th birthday.
The event is set for Sept. 29 with services at 10 a.m. and a catered lunch at 11:30.
There will also be guided tours of the complex for those interested in the church’s history.
Church historian Cora Cowan said First United Methodist is Carson City’s oldest congregation.
“It was started in 1859 with just meetings in people’s homes,” she said. “Rev. Bennett started the Methodist Church at that time.”
As the congregation grew, she said it outgrew the homes they were holding meetings in and work began planning construction of a church building. That effort really got started when Warren Nims arrived as the minister in 1863.
“He was quite a go-getter,” she said.
Nims began hauling stone from the prison quarry to the piece of land the church purchased at Musser and Division streets. Cowan said they bought the property for “$25 and a pair of cowboy boots.”
It took him about four years of hauling to get enough stone to build the sanctuary. That structure is the core of the church and was dedicated in 1867.
She said the church had difficulties keeping ministers in those days, in part because of the low pay that ranged from $200 to $600 a year. Despite that, she said the church has only had 53 ministers in its 160 years.
Over the years, the church itself has been expanded, mostly using the same quarried stone from the prison.
“The original building is still the same,” she said.
But the complex now includes a pastor’s office and meeting rooms as well as upstairs space for Sunday school. And it includes the pre-school next door.
In addition, the church owns the office building at 400 W. King St., where it has some of its administrative offices. Most of that building is rented to state agencies including the Department of Agriculture.
In 1997, Cowan said the church welcomed its first female minister, Linda Inlow.
In 2000, Rob Jennings-Teates became minister with his wife Dixie as associate pastor. They served until 2017.
Now Maggie McNaught is minister.
Cowan and Church Administrator Pam Houghton said the congregation, now numbering more than 300, wants to invite Carson City residents to help celebrate the 160th on the 29th.
Houghton said lunch for adults will be just $15 and $5 for children aged 5-12. Children four and under are free.
They said those interested should call the church office at 882-1436 or visit the administrative offices on the first floor of the King Street building.