LAPEL — The final chapter in a more than century-long history was written Monday with the demolition of Ford Street United Methodist Church in Lapel.

The church has occupied its place at 925 Ford St. since 1891, when the first sanctuary was built.

“There’s a lot of sentiment tied into all the experiences people have had here,” Pastor Mark Helm told The Herald Bulletin. “This is where people have had weddings, funerals and baptisms. It’s a sad thing to have to give that place up.”

In 2004, church officials learned of structural problems with the sanctuary roof and made short-term repairs. But in April, church services moved to the auditorium at Lapel High School.

Thirty-two pastors have served the church since 1890. Helm has served the congregation since June 2001.

A building and planning committee was formed and has been searching for a new home to erect a new sanctuary. Ford Street Childcare Ministry is expected to remain open.



Journey of Faith

Ford Street United Methodist Church, 925 Ford St. in Lapel, has more than 100 years of history in Madison County. The rise and fall of a house of worship:

• 1890 — Lapel First united Brethren is founded with 22 members after a tent revival; services are held in Fishersburg and Lapel school buildings

• 1891 — The church’s first sanctuary, a wood-frame building, is built on the current site

• 1917 — A brick edifice is constructed after fire destroyed the wooden church

• 1946 — The church become known as Lapel First Evangelical United Brethren Church after a denominational merger

• 1968 — A merger between the Evangelical United Brethren and the Methodist Church results in a new name: Ford Street United Methodist Church

• 1969 — Smith Hall education wing and gymnasium added in honor of Harry Smith, pastor from 1959 to 1979

• 2004 — Building and planning committee formed in response to the discovery of roof problems

• Aug. 25, 2008 — Sanctuary demolished

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