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HISTORICAL POSTCARDS OF SPRINGFIELD,
Methodist Episcopal Church
Grace Methodist Episcopal Church began during the Civil War, in
1864, when only one church in Springfield, the Old Calvary Presbyterian
Church, was holding services. The Union army held the services and
allowed civilian worshippers of all denominations to attend. The
Methodists held a Sunday School after the church service, signaling
the beginning of what later became Grace Methodist Episcopal Church.
In May of 1864 a church was organized with 54 names on its rolls.
The Methodist church had earlier divided into the original branch
(north) and the Methodist Episcopal South branch. The new church
began to meet in the M.E. South church, assuming that south branch
would die out with the Confederacy. The church, like most of the
churches in Springfield, had been commandeered by both sides in
the Civil War. It had also been damaged during the Battle of Springfield
on January 8, 1863. After much work the church was reopened in 1864.
On May 28, 1868, a tornado damaged the building. While it was being
repaired, the congregation met in the courthouse.
In 1870 a plain frame building was erected at the southeast corner
of South and Pearl (now Pershing) Streets. It was named Bentley
Chapel for pioneer minister J.J. Bentley. Not until 1879 did the
congregation adopt the name Grace Methodist Episcopal Church. This
building only served as the Grace M.E. Church for 25 years. In 1895
a new larger building was built on the same site. It was a gothic
style red brick building erected on the front of the lot, facing
South Street. This is the building portrayed in the postcard.
In 1904 Grace had 597 members and an additional 450 in its mission
churches. In April of 1920 a location at Cherry Street and Jefferson
Avenue was chosen to build a new church. The building was constructed
in 1921 and continues to serve as the Grace Methodist-Episcopal