Our HistoryWritten by admin on Apr 17, 2011
The Methodist Episcopal Church at Cicero was organized in 1843 with forty three constituent members. The first building used as a church by this denomination stood at the corner of Buckeye and East Street. It was first a private residence, but was later fitted up for a church by Dr. Wm. Clifford, one of the early residents and a member of this denomination. The members worshiped in this house for four or five years then they went to the schoolhouse to hold services.
The schoolhouse was a small building located in the west part of town. Here they held services a few years. In 1854, the members erected a building at a cost of $1,500. the early church was a very comfortable frame building. It had no foundation under it; but each corner and the center was supported by huge boulders, leaving plenty of room for hogs to root, sleep and often fight under it. There were two entrances. There was one for the women and one for the men. The men were seated on one side of the auditorium and the women on the other. There was a partition running through the center of the room and it was as high as the tops of the seats. It was heated by two large box stoves, one on each side of the room.
It was the site of many weddings, funerals and other events which make up the history of any church community. As the church prospered, many of the progressive members began to talk of adding an organ to accompany singing. Among the older members this caused much dissension and some left to join other, less progressive, churches. An organ was added, however, but after a few useful years met a tragic end at the hands of a fanatic. Fired by his religious zeal, he entered the church during a revival service, carrying a sledge hammer and saying the Lord had commanded him to destroy it and he did. After several more years of worship in this building, it was completely destroyed by a tornado in June, 1880. This left the congregation without a place to worship.
The Christian church offered the use of their building for services until new arrangements could be made. The Methodists worshiped there until the following year when a new building was completed.
Since the town was beginning to build towards the east, it was decided to secure a site for a church in that part of town. A frame building was erected and it was not much of an improvement over the former building. The custom of seating men and women separately had become out of date and only one door was required. An organ was placed in the church without objection.
The church grew. Its many organizations made it an active and progressive congregation. As the town grew it was decided to build a new church. After much objection, discussion, work and planning, it was decided to erect the building that houses the sanctuary, library and part of the narthex. This was completed in the summer of 1913. A major renovation was completed in 1961 and they switched from a hand fired coal hot air furnace to a gas fired hot water system. The next renovation occurred in 1998 when the sanctuary received a much needed facelift. Until that time, the altar stood where the choir alcove is now. The old pews were removed and were replaced with moveable chairs. The altar was shifted to the south wall and the back wall was completely enclosed and updated. This gave the sanctuary a much airier look. Our next major project was expansion of the building in 2003 & 2004. The addition expanded our narthex, kitchen and fellowship hall. It included the new parlor, choir room, administrative offices and many classrooms.
Cicero United Methodist is a growing and active congregation. We base our faith on the Holy Word of God. We offer many opportunities for Bible Study during the year. It is our belief that this study leads to action. The Disciple Bible Studies have trained us to be a more active and committed congregation. Our ministry continues to expand into the community through members working at Angel’s Attic, Atlanta Afterschool Program as well as preparing and serving meals at Fletcher Place. We also include Birthright in Cicero, Brightwood in Indianapolis and McCurdy School in New Mexico in our giving ministries. We support missionaries, as well as UMCOR, Heifer International and Operation Classroom through our penny raider program and special collections. There is a mission trip to North Carolina planned this year with several members of our congregation participating.