Carmen United Methodist Church will celebrate its 125th anniversary during a 10:30 a.m. Oct. 13 service at the church across from Carmen Park.
District Superintendent Charlie Graves will give the message. The church is currently under the direction of Don Jones. A catered meal will follow the service.
McCager Lakey, a circuit-riding preacher held a meeting in July 1894 at Shockley’s Grove, which was 2 miles south of Carmen. The initial gathering was called Eagle Chief Class and would eventually grow into Carmen Methodist Church. Lakey organized the Eagle Chief Circuit, which had 21 appointments. He preached at least once a month at the different churches.
As winter approached, the class moved to Augusta, west of Carmen, and church was held in the post office, a sod school house and blacksmith’s shop.
The congregation bought a workshop in Kiowa, Kan., and moved it to Augusta. A new frame building was begun in Augusta, but was dismantled and moved in pieces to Carmen in 1901.
In May 3, 1903, a tornado destroyed the church and much of the town. A brick church was built on South Grand Avenue. In 1916, a half block on Main Street was purchased and a basement began in 1917.
The first services were held in 1918. In November 1925, the structure began on top of the basement, and the first service was held in May 1926.
After many years of negotiations, Carmen Episcopal, Carmen Methodist Episcopal Church South and Carmen Methodist Protestant Church united to form the Carmen Methodist Church in May 1939. Carmen Methodist and Carmen Evangelical United Brethren united in 1968 and became Carmen United Methodist Church.
The church thrived on Main Street many years and saw changes and growth until June 2010 when years of water damage deteriorated the structure and repairs were too costly.
The church met in Dacoma from June 2010 until 2011. Groundbreaking on the building across from the park was held in March 2011 and the first services were held in September.
Demolition of the old building was in February 2017. Windows, pews, doors and other furnishings were sold before demolition.