Congregation bids good-bye to church home since 1876

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 October 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – The Medina United Methodist Church had its final service this morning at 222 West Center St. The church will continue to own the property and use it for a childcare site. A Spanish-speaking congregation, River of Living Waters, also will continue to use the building.

MEDINA – Many of the members of Medina United Methodist Church were married at 222 West Center St. Their children were baptized there.

Today, the church said good-bye to the building. The congregation held its final church service at the site.

“I’m going to miss this building,” member Bill Dunn told the church during the farewell service this morning. “It’s meant a lot to me. But the people mean more.”

Pastor Tony Hipes leads the church in a farewell service at the Medina United Methodist Church today. The church is leaving the structure which is in deteriorating condition.

The church has spent the past three years and $875,000 to transform the former Apple Grove Inn into a modern church home. After today’s service, church members walked or drove a mile down the road to the former Apple Grove, where they celebrated their new home.

Tony Hipes, the church pastor, wanted members to give the old church, built in 1876, a fond farewell. The church moved to acquire and renovate the former Apple Grove, wanting a modern one-story building that would be more accessible for the community.

The church was built in 1876 and originally had a steeple. It toppled after a wind storm in 1889.

The site, which includes a large reception area and commercial kitchen, also will allow the church to host receptions and community events.

“It’s a church for everyone,” Hipes said during today’s service. “Hopefully many people in the community will join us.”

The older church building needed lots of repairs, particularly with the masonry on the brick structure. The building wasn’t energy efficient.

Church members carried Bibles, crosses and other treasured church artifacts up to the congregation’s new home following a service today.

However, it’s not in danger of collapse. The church will continue to run a childcare site from 222 West Center St. The building will also be available for a Spanish-speaking church, the River of Living Waters.

Hipes told the congregation to treasure their memories from the older building, and to look forward to the new memories awaiting them in the former Apple Grove.

After the service today at 222 West Center St., members of the Medina United Methodist Church walked a mile on West Center Street to their new church home at the former Apple Grove Inn.