TheFree Methodist Church 

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

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

Others who united with theabove-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. IsaacGarrison, 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 Antiochchurch  joined the Central Illinois conference of Free Methodists,and was taken over by that denomination, and Rev. A. J. Smith was one ofthe 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 Antiochchurch were a happy group of God-loving people, and it has been relatedhow Marion Peterson, Bill Loring, Adam Corrie, and Vete Bartlow would passthe Bartlow homestead, going on horseback to some holiness convention.As the horses were making their way thru the mud, their riders were heardsinging and shouting the praises of God.

Many able pastors have sinceserved the Antioch Free Methodist church, and it was during the pastorateof the present pastor, Rev. Lester Banning, that the decision was madeto 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 membersof the Free Methodist congregations at Antioch and the other churches onthe  circuit,  their dreams and hopes were realized, and thebeautiful, modern brick church edifice, which now stands at the cornerof South Liberty and East Clinton streets in Rushville, was completed anddedicated free from debt at services held July 4, 1948.

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

Copyright 1999, 2000 RobinL. W. Petersen; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercialuse of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibitedwithout prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with theinformation.

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