In 1862, amidst the bloody cataclysm that was the American Civil War, Frank Turner founded a church that has endured long after those guns of war fell silent.
Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church in Golden Valley will celebrate its 150th anniversary during services the first two Sundays in November. The Nov. 4 service will celebrate All Saints Day, and former pastors have been invited to attend worship followed by a meal served by United Methodist Women dressed in old-time garb. The Nov. 11 service will feature old-fashioned hymns and a homemade pie auction after the service.
During both Sunday services, congregants will be asked to write messages to be opened by church-goers 20 years from now.
Spirit of Hope’s physical roots in Golden Valley go back to 1882. Its first building is a little white church now being used by the Golden Valley Historical Society. The current church was built in 1960, with additions in 1965 and 2003. The church, according to its pastor, has a history of outgrowing spaces, which contrasts somewhat with the recent history of the Methodist Church.
“In the 1960s, the Methodist Church reached its peak,” said Rev. Ed DuBose, who has been pastor at Spirit of Hope for the past three years. “It’s been in decline ever since, unfortunately. We are bucking that trend. We are growing. Five years ago, we had 10 students in our Sunday school. Now, we have 50. We are very kid-friendly and family oriented.”
Part of the church’s history is buried in a time capsule that went in to the cornerstone of the new addition in 2003. Other historical items will be on display as part of the 150th anniversary events, including a photograph of Spirit of Hope’s founder, Frank Turner. DuBose has also ordered a blank eight-foot timeline for the celebration, and plans to have children fill it in with world, national and church events.
“I think it’s important to realize the history of the church because there is a progression,” he said. “Christianity isn’t what it was 2,000 years ago – it’s not even what it was 50 years ago, and it will be different 50 years from now. People are sometimes upset because they see parts of the church declining, but that’s always happening, it happens from one stage to the next.
“I’d like to think we’re a community of believers where it is OK to have doubts and questions. We come together and celebrate the things we have in common.”
For more information on Spirit of Hope’s 150th anniversary, go to spiritofhopeumc.org or call 763-545-0239.