First United Methodist Church of Arkansas City is the community's oldest congregation, founded in 1870 by Rev. Benjamin C. Swarts. Rev. Swarts erected a log cabin near the confluence of the Walnut and Arkansas rivers and invited his neighbors to worshipservices held in his home. Arkansas City itself was not officially organized until later in that same year.
First United Methodist Church
2448 Edgemont Drive
Arkansas City, KS
Web page: www.arkcityfirst.org
Pastor: Lance Carrithers
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The first permanent church building was built in 1875 on block 92 of the original townsite, what is now the corner of Central and Second. In March of 1876, the church was chartered as a coporate existence with the Kansas Secretary of State's office.
In 1913 a new building was constructed at 5th Avenue and Second to accomodate a growing congregation. This building contained the first pipe organ in Arkansas City.
In 1965, the congregation moved to its present site high atop a hill in the north part of Arkansas City. Edgemont Drive encircles a 9 acre site, with the church building located in the center. The educational wing was completed first, and also served as the worship center until the present day Sanctuary was completed in 1973.
In 1968, the name of the congregation was formally changed from "First Methodist Episcopal Church" to "First United Methodist Church" following the merger of two denominations, the Methodist Church and the United Brethren Church.
Worship services are at 8:30 and 10:30 each Sunday morning.
Tom & Carolyn Ward, Columbus, KS