The sesquicentennial of Central United Methodist Church took place in 1999. The importance of this event is not due to the age of a building, but to the beliefs and ideals of the people who have called Central (and its Ingle Street predecessor) their church for the past 150 years. In order to understand where we as a church are going, we need to look back to our roots,to discover how we got to where we are today.
Central began in 1849 as a mission Sunday school of the Locust Street Methodist Church. Its original meeting place was on Main Street near the northern edge of town, probably in the vicinity of the present day Lloyd Expressway. Four years later this group of Christians had grown sufficiently to erect a permanent house of worship near the corner of Ingle and Seventh Street. Dedication of the Ingle Street Methodist Church was held in October, 1853, during the annual conference which was being held in town.
The subsequent years showed periods of growth and decline for the church. Conflicts within the membership over the direction the church was taking led to several setbacks, the earliest being in 1860 when organ music was introduced. The most serious setback came in 1874 when work was begun on a new church at the corner of Eighth and Sycamore Streets. Soon after the foundation was laid, half of the membership left over the expense of the new edifice. As a result, construction was halted and the church was left heavily in debt. The process of rebuilding the church continued until 1905. In that year property was obtained two blocks north in the residential neighborhood at Franklin and Mary Streets.
With the move on March 4, 1906, came the name change to Central Methodist Church. Due to continuing growth this gothic style brick structure was short lived. Within 20 years the building was razed and the present enlarged church was built on the site.”, Prior to the April 12, 1925, dedication, services were held in the Coliseum. Years of continued growth followed with the completion of the Finke Hall addition on January 5, 1958, to house the office and education needs of the church.
Throughout its history, the members of Central United Methodist Church have not been content to dwell on the past. This planning for the future continues to this day, most recently with the Vision 21 program. As we, the present members of Central United Methodist Church, celebrate over 150 years of Christian service in Evansville, let us remember the past, but look forward to the future!