The Free Methodist Church
The organization of the Free Methodist church in the Rushville community dates back almost 70 years, when in the year 1880 an independent group of Christ-loving people from the territory lying west and north of Rushville who were interested in the promotion of the holiness work in the community, held a meeting at the Camden-Macomb crossroads for the purpose of perfecting an organization according to their belief. Present at this meeting were the following prominent early day residents of the community: Rev. William Ross, John Bartlow Sparks, Rosella Sparks, Alex Young, Isaac Garrison, and Allen R. Turner.

Following the perfecting of this organization, an evangelist by the name of Patterson, a Methodist, held a revival at the White Oak church, northwest of Rushville, in the year 1881. Among those to become sanctified in this revival were Vete Bartlow, William Loring, and Marion Peterson.

Others who united with the above-mentioned persons in the building of the church, known as Antioch, down thru the intervening years, were: Bill and Lucy Ross, Rozella Sparks (who donated the building site), Dana and Anna Sherman, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Garrison, Alex and Eliza Young, John S. Sparks, Mr. and Mrs. Allen Turner, and Adam Corrie, the latter providing the lumber for the church frame.

In the year 1882 Antioch church  joined the Central Illinois conference of Free Methodists, and was taken over by that denomination, and Rev. A. J. Smith was one of the first resident pastors to be sent here by the Free Methodist conference. Among the other early day preachers were Rev. Douty, Rev. Thomas Marsh, Rev. Robert Sanderson, and Rev. William Bone.

The founders of the Antioch church were a happy group of God-loving people, and it has been related how Marion Peterson, Bill Loring, Adam Corrie, and Vete Bartlow would pass the Bartlow homestead, going on horseback to some holiness convention. As the horses were making their way thru the mud, their riders were heard singing and shouting the praises of God.

Many able pastors have since served the Antioch Free Methodist church, and it was during the pastorate of the present pastor, Rev. Lester Banning, that the decision was made to erect a larger church edifice, and one in a more centrally located place. As the result of this determination on the part of the pastor and members of the Free Methodist congregations at Antioch and the other churches on the  circuit,  their dreams and hopes were realized, and the beautiful, modern brick church edifice, which now stands at the corner of South Liberty and East Clinton streets in Rushville, was completed and dedicated free from debt at services held July 4, 1948.

The Rushville Times, October 7, 1948
The Rushville Times by permission.

Copyright 1999, 2000 Robin L. W. Petersen; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with the information.

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