The United Methodist Church of La Junta
The United Methodist Church of La Junta

History of                              The United Methodist Church of La Junta

Like many Methodist churches across the United States, the story of the United Methodist Church of La Junta began when John Wesley sent his lay preachers to the newly established American colonies to strengthen the Methodist work already being done in those areas.  As time went on, the message of Methodism spread throughout the country.  New Methodist churches were organized in towns and cities across America.

 

The first Methodist services held in La Junta were in December 1886 at the Presbyterian Church.  The Rev. L.T. Hall, pastor of the Methodist Church in Trinidad, came to La Junta to conduct a funeral service and stayed through Sunday to preach morning and evening services.

 

On February 6, 1887, the Methodist Church of La Junta was organized with twelve (12) charter members:

  • Mrs. Lizzie Alexander
  • Mrs. Flora N. Baldridge
  • Miss Callie Coulter
  • Dell Cuthbert
  • Dr. and Mrs. Cyrus W. France
  • Mrs. Mary Gilchrist
  • F. P. Harlow
  • Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Lyon
  • Dr. and Mrs. G.W. Phillips

 

The Rev. A.B. Bruner, who organized the La Junta congregation, sadly did not return for further services.  However, the Rev. John R. Wood, a young and devoted pastor arrived on March 13, 1887 and the new church in La Junta prospered under his leadership.

 

A building for the new congregation was started in 1888 at the corner of Fourth and Santa Fe (where the Santa Fe office building currently stands) and was dedicated on July 31 or August 1, 1888.  This building was remodeled in 1904 and was subsequently sold to the Santa Fe Railway in 1912.

The cornerstone of the present church building, located at Sixth and San Juan, was laid on December 15, 1913.  At the request of the pastor, Rev. Howard Goldie (pictured), Marion F. Miller assembled the following materials which were deposited in the cornerstone:

  1. a statement showing the name of the architect and the names of the contractors with a cost sheet totaling slightly over $29,000 (the furnace had been omitted; this included an "extra" $500 to have the church finished in oak wood)
  2. a list of the Otero County officials
  3. a list of the La Junta City officials
  4. copies of the latest editions of the local papers
  5. the Central Christian Advocate of December 13, 1913
  6. a post card picture of the old church building
  7. a post card picture of the new church building
  8. the December 13th Classmate
  9. the December 13th Sunday School Advocate
  10. "Powell" pink program
  11. "Powell" yellow program
  12. "Powell" pink envelope
  13. a copy of "Everybody's Gospel Songs"

Gifts and pledges were sufficient that by dedication day, the building financing was considered "covered".

 

Regular meetings of the church organizations were held in Woodruff Hall, otherwise known as Library Hall, during the period of the construction of the new building.  Dr. T.C. Iliff of Denver officiated the dedication ceremony of the church, which was held on October 18, 1914.

 

The decade of the 1950's witnessed an era of expansion and much needed improvements.  Beginning in September 1952, two air conditioning units were installed.  The church was able to add central air at a cost under $400, a phenomenal acheivement for the time.  In April 1955, the remodeling of the North entrance of the church was completed at a cost of $1,500.

With Sunday School attendance reaching an all-time high of 352 in February 1955, plans were made to expand the building to the South.  The parsonage was sold and moved, thus making space available for construction of new classrooms.  The Education Building was dedicated May 30, 1959.  The present parsonage, located next to the education unit was purchased at the same time.

 

In the Summer of 1999, the chancel platform in the Sanctuary was expanded by moving the communion railing toward the pews.  It was also opened in the middle to allow for the construction of a center aisle.  The side access aisles were widened for greater safety.

Upcoming Events:

Summer Bible Studies:

      Sunday - 4:00 PM

      Monday - 1:00 PM

 

 

Contact Us

La Junta United Methodist Church

601 San Juan Ave

La Junta, CO 81050

 

Phone: (719) 384-7717

E-mail: umclj@centurytel.net

Facebook: La Junta United Methodist Church

Instagram: La Junta UMC

Twitter: @LJUMC1

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