ASHTON – From the pages of the Ashton History book, compiled by Bob Dean, we learn that the merger of two Ashton churches, the Methodist and the Presbyterian, was approved as result of a vote conducted in each church. The E.U.B. did not take part in the initial vote.
The Methodists and the Presbyterians united on June 30, 1963 and formed a new church, the United Methodist Church of Ashton. On July 14, 1963 there were 153 uniting in membership at the constituting service.
The E. U. B. joined the Ashton merger in 1967 after a vote of their respective general conferences in Chicago approved the union of the two denominational bodies.
The movement to build a new church building was culminated in a 105-81 vote taken May 3, 1970. Ground was broken on Oct. 1, 1970 for a new $265,000 church building at the corner of Richardson Ave. and North Fourth St. the site of the former Kersten ballpark.
The new church building was consecrated on Oct. 3, 1971 and dedicated free of debt on Oct. 13, 1981.
Through the past 50 years, the church has employed 15 pastors: Robert Prater, Gene Henrikson, David Frain, Clyde Gallow, Marshal Esty, Romir Esquerra, Young Johnshik Choe, Joan Lecther, Nancy Dvorachek, John Rathod, Monica William, Thomas Renardo, Sang Hun Han, Laura Crites, Glen Stewart, Satya Sudhakar and Jan Shaulis.
Many of the current members were present at the first service held in the new sanctuary.
In celebration of the churches 50th anniversary, there will be a special service on Sunday, Oct. 17 at 10:30 a.m. followed by a catered luncheon.
Members are also creating a keepsake of favorite recipes for attendees to take home and it will include photos and history of the church.
All are invited to attend, please RSVP to the church at 815-453-2328 for a proper count for the luncheon. Please join us for a day of food, fellowship and fun.