Historic and still active

Nestled in Marietta at the corner of Third and Wooster streets with bright stained glass windows and a tall spire sits the Christ United Methodist Church.

Local historian Kurt Ludwig, 73, long-time church member, said the building was constructed in the late-1800’s, around 1883 to 1885.

“It had a bell tower with a bell in it,” he said. “In the 1950s, it was reconstructed somewhat. Another coating of brick was put on the 1880’s brick and the bell tower was removed and a spire put in its place. When you look at it (today), it’s hard to identify it with the building built (130) years ago.”

Ludwig said the church was originally known as the First Methodist Church.

Senior Pastor Don Archer said the church has seen many changes over the years, not all of them structural.

“At one point, we merged (with Trinity Church) and held services across the street and here,” he said.

Ludwig said Trinity Methodist was the former German Methodist Church which had a German-speaking congregation and denomination.

“The two congregations went on independently until 1967 when they united to form the Christ United Methodist Church,” he said. “The combined congregation used Trinity Church as a chapel, until 1985 when the church sold the building to the Evangelical Lutherans, (who made the building) the Crown of Life Evangelical Lutheran Church.”

Archer said after selling the building, many former members of the Trinity Church stayed on with the Christ United Methodist Church.

“We’ve gone on as a united congregation for the last 30 years,” Ludwig said.

Cheryl Arnold, associate pastor for the church, said the church has many activities available, including a praise team which consists of musicians.

“Methodists have a lot of music,” she said.

Arnold said a Bible school was started between the church, the Presbyterian Church and the Journey Church, and an after-school ministry was given for students from Washington Elementary School, which has been active for around 13 years.

“One of the things we’re best known for is being the homebase for Harvest of Hope,” Arnold added.

Harvest of Hope is a faith-based nonprofit organization that focuses on food rescue and community gardens to help feed the hungry in Washington County. Much of the food goes to area food pantries.

Arnold said the future of the church and helping people is not only for the clergy to determine, but also the laity, or congregation members.

“The lay people can (usually) change more lives than the pastor, simply because there’s so many of them,” Arnold said. “They are out there everyday, sharing their faith, sharing (information) about their faith.”