Many years ago a young woman came to Minot to join her brother on his homestead in the area. She arrived by train on a Saturday, but her brother could not come for her until Sunday, so it was necessary for her to spend a night in a hotel. She barricaded the door the best she could. She had heard what a tough and terrible town Minot was.
During the night a handbill was slid under her door. It read, "You are invited to attend services at the Methodist Episcopal Church today."
So it goes. According to anniversary publications, the history of Vincent United Methodist Church in Minot is as long as the history of Minot itself.
Vincent United Methodist Church,
at 1024-2nd St. SE, was consecrated
on Oct. 27, 1957.
A park-like setting can be found on the east side of the church.
The first Methodist service was held and the first sermon preached by Rev. D.C. Plannette of Grand Forks in an unfinished hotel on lower Main Street in the early fall of 1886.
W.C. Hackett was assigned as supply to the Minot circuit that fall and in January 1887, a church was organized. The church was authorized to incorporate under the name of Vincent Methodist Episcopal Church on May 18, 1887. The five members of the newly formed church were Luke Bruce, F.W. Spear, Emma Spear and the Rev. and Mrs. Hackett.
The 125th anniversary of Vincent United Methodist Church, 1024-2nd St. SE, will be celebrated Aug. 4-5. Anniversary worship services will be Aug. 4 at 5 p.m. with a potluck picnic following, and Aug. 5 at 11 a.m., with dinner and a program to follow. Reservations are requested for the Sunday dinner and can be made by calling 838-4425. The theme for the quasquicentennial event is "Rooted in Christ, Nourished by God's Word, Growing in Service."
The church has been known under three names during its 125 years: Vincent Methodist Episcopal Church, Vincent Methodist Church and Vincent United Methodist Church, which it came to be known as in 1968. It has been served by 49 pastors. The current pastor is the Rev. Gary Ball-Kilbourne. Three former pastors, the Revs. Michelle Brennan, Lou Whitmer and Art Scanson, plan to return for the event.
Land was donated at Second Avenue and First Street Southeast for a church and parsonage. That September a committee authorized the purchase of an additional lot at the same site and funds were solicited for construction of a small church building measuring 24 feet by 38 feet. Souris River Telecommunications still owns a building on the site of the former church property.
The church building was remodeled in 1902 and in 1906 the remodeled church was sold and moved to 104-2nd St. SE and demolished in 1978. A brick building, with stained glass windows in the sanctuary, took the place of the old structure.
More space needed
Before the Depression in the 1930s, a building fund was started for use in construction of more space for the church, but hard times prevented going ahead with the plan. In the mid-1950s parishioners again began to envision the need for additional space.
The primary fund-raising method consisted of asking member families, prospective church members, parents of Sunday school children and any other persons and families who considered themselves affiliated with the church to commit funds for the church. The quality of the new building would depend on their commitment.
Three sites were considered: The same site as the old church; across the street from Oak Park in northwest Minot; and a South Hill location. The South Hill location, where the church is now located at 1024-2nd St. SE, came with what appeared to be insurmountable problems such as a deep ravine and many trees. The trees were removed and the ravine filled and on Oct. 13, 1957, the Rev. Thomas Barnard conducted the first service in the new church, which was consecrated on Oct. 27, 1957. A mortgage-burning service was held on June 17-18, 1978.
Another major campaign drive, "Vincent Vision," was initiated in the spring of 1993 to raise $900,000 for a variety of renovation projects. An addition to the south side of the church included a fellowship hall, kitchen, bathrooms, furnaces and chapel. The lower level education area was improved. In the sanctuary the pews were refinished, a new sound system installed and the back wall behind the pulpit enhanced.
Still with all the work that has ensued during the years, some things from the past remain: the stained-glass window from the very first church in downtown Minot was made ready as a lighted picture and placed on the east wall of the south stairwell of the new church and the pulpit, communion table, three chairs, baptismal font and altar rail were refinished from dark to light wood tones to match the new structure's interior and then put to use in the chapel a fitting reminder of the church's earlier days.
Many years have passed but still the members of the church remain dedicated. As a paragraph in its anniversary cookbook says, "We hope to remain a worshipping member of the Minot Christian community for years to come."