Solid Rock United Methodist Church
Monday, March 20, 2023
... building lives on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Warren UMC History

         In September of 1838, a Methodist circuit rider, Rev. Ezra Lank of Wayne County, Indiana, held services in a barn belonging to James Morrison. At the close of the meeting, he asked whether any other citizen would open his home for holding meetings. If a meeting place could be found, Rev. Lank would request that the church conference send a missionary to the township.

         Mrs. Nancy Swaim offered the home of her and her husband, Simeon, two miles east of Warren, as a meeting place, and a class of seven members was started. The conference sent Rev. G.W. Bowers as a missionary.

         A few years later, another class was organized in Warren under the leadership of Jason Brown, and the first class moved its membership to join the new class and form the Warren Methodist Episcopal Church. The congregation met in various school houses and vacant storerooms for several years.

         In 1856, the church purchased two lots from Lemuel C. Ewart and built a white frame structure at the southwest corner of Third and Main Streets at a cost of $1,200. This structure served the congregation for the next 40 years.

         The need for a larger building became evident by 1895. The old frame structure was moved to a lot Second Street, and eventually sold to the United Brethren congregation who remodeled it and moved it to First Street near the intersection of Main Street, using it as their church home until the congregation disbanded.

         Under the direction of an architectural firm from Jonesboro, the new Methodist church was constructed, beginning in the summer of 1896, at a cost of nearly $10,000. The March 11, 1897 edition of the Warren Republican describes the new building: “It is brick, of course, built in modern style, with basement, heated by furnaces, lighted by gas, and has a seating capacity of nearly or quite one thousand. The roof is slate, large circular windows in the two gables fronting on Main and Third streets, all the glass stained and arranged for beautiful and pleasing effects.” On the pulpit was “a new bible … made expressly for use on pulpits and is the best that could be bought.” “The floor in the main part of the auditorium is covered with a good carpet and the seats are fine. The walls and ceiling are painted in pink and blue and present a beautiful appearance.”

         In 1956, extensive remodeling was undertaken at a cost of $81,000. Fourteen new classrooms were built in the basement, and a new fellowship hall was built on the first floor with a well-equipped adjoining kitchen. In 1983, a ramp was constructed on the north side of the church.

         In 1979, the Huntington County South Parish was formed, consisting of Warren, Jefferson Center, Majenica, and Mt. Etna United Methodist Churches. The parish disbanded in 1992, after which the Warren church retained its own pastor.

         In 1986, a fire broke out in the area above the sanctuary and some redecorating was necessary. Due to the careful response of the Warren Fire Department, damage was minimal.