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First United Methodist Church celebrates 125 years

SHERIDAN — Today marks the 125th anniversary of the First United Methodist Church, the oldest church in Sheridan.

On August 30, 1888, Methodist circuit riding preacher R.L. Rader arrived in Sheridan and he found it to be “a village without a church or minister.”

He preached twice on Sunday, Aug. 31 in the little frame school and those present requested a resident minister.

Rev. D.B. Vasseller took charge on Oct. 24,1888, and on Dec. 23, 1888, the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Sheridan opened on the corner of West Works Street and Thurmond Avenue.

In its 125 years what is now First United Methodist Church has played home to 31 pastors and four associate ministers.

“As the first on going worshipping community in Sheridan, it has shared in and supported the growth of our town,” current Pastor Don Derryberry said.

Many other aspects of the original church carry on today.

The Ladies Aide Society organized on Feb. 12, 1889, began a woman’s ministry that continues it’s local and world outreach to this day as the United Methodist Women.

The Early “Brotherhood” that is now the United Methodist Men’s organization has carried on fellowship and mission since 1908.

Since the beginning of the Epworth League in 1890, youth ministry has remained an important part of the church, and what is now the Sunday school has taught a great number of children, youth and adults.

“Lives have been change and the world made a better place.” Derryberry said. “Thanks be to God and thanks be to all who have, for the past 125 years, heard God’s call though this community.”


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