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History of the Aurora United Methodist Church|
in Aurora, Minnesota
In 1903, J. R. Lewis and Mr. Clemans conducted services every other Monday night in an old saloon building. Just after the town of Aurora was moved to its present location, Longyear Mining Company donated a parcel of land for a Protestant church. The congregation soon secured a lot and built on the northeast corner of Second Avenue North and First Avenue West—about one-half block west of the current City Hall.
The building was constructed and dedicated in 1907 as the “Gilbert Simmons Memorial Church”. It later became the Methodist/Episcopal Church and was commonly known as “The Protestant Church,” since it was the only one in town. The town saloon keepers collected and donated $100.00 to purchase the first organ.
The small congregation supported their church mostly through Sunday school and Ladies Aid. Rev. Arthur Cartwright was the minister from 1928 to 1953. In the mid-1930’s tragedy struck one Sunday morning and the church was heavily damaged by fire. The church was rebuilt several years later and the structure still remains in the same location. Pot luck dinners were held on a regular basis, there was an active choir, Sunday school, Confirmation class and many other programs. The annual Sunday School program was well-attended on Christmas Eve by many who “came home” for Christmas and the regular parishioners.
With the reopening of the St. James Mine in the 1950’s and the increase in population there was a need for more churches in town. Some members transferred to the new Baptist and Lutheran churches but the congregation was able to support a full-time minister and his family. A choir was added and an Episcopal League was organized. In 1955, a parsonage was purchased, and under Rev. Glenn Martin’s dedicated service, the church was organized into various commissions and committees established in the Methodist Discipline. By 1957 the town of Hoyt Lakes was built and the two congregations split, developing Trinity United Methodist there. Since that time, the two churches have shared a minister.
In 1960, a parcel of land was received form the St. James Mining Company and groundbreaking took place in June, 1964. Progress on the building was held up due to heavy rains and material delays. The date for the first service in the new church was set for December 20, 1964. Work was progressing, but the pews still had not arrived by December 13. The last week was one to remember:
Monday – Organ was moved
Tuesday – Official board received the latest building information.
Wednesday – Final building inspection, choir rehearsal and Christmas decorating was completed.
Thursday – Men moved all but cross and candles from the old church in 20 below weather.
Friday – Women cleaned and settled the equipment.
Saturday – Trucks arrived with the new pews and after midnight the pews were all assembled.
Sunday – First service was held on December 20, as scheduled!
Two church members, both teachers, had a great deal of influence on the congregation. Gertrude Boase was a dedicated member who served as the Sunday School Superintendent for over fifty years. Josephine Sharp came to Aurora in 1929 and inspired students for many years. Upon her death in 1992, she left a sizeable bequest to the church. The interest on that fund has helped in many ways through the years, including the re-roofing of the church in 2001.
With the completion of the new Methodist church the old building was sold to Beacon Bible Church and was a retail store for some years, the Liberty Bible church for a number of years and currently is a boarding house for construction workers.
Those who have served as Church Pastors include the following:
? -1928 Rev. R. H. Warren
1928-1953 Rev. Arthur Cartwright
1954-1957 Rev. Glenn Martin
1957-1959 Rev. E. Taylor Hare
1959-1962 Rev. Richard Mathison
1962-1965 Rev. Paul Ingelin
1965-1967 Rev. Lloyd Osborne
1967-1974 Rev. Willard Bell
1974-1979 Rev. Roger Parks
1979-1984 Rev. Mark Johnson
1984-1987 Rev. Ronald Hume
1984-1994 Rev. Brian Marshall
1994-2002 Rev. Ruth Gangloff
2002-2009 Rev. Elton Brown
2009- Rev. Barbara Hegfors
Rev. Barbara J Hegfors | firstname.lastname@example.org
110 East Fourth Ave North, Aurora, MN 55705-0036
P O Box 36
Aurora, MN 55705-0036