About us and our history


Who We Are

The people of The United Methodist Church are part of the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Our worldwide connection includes approximately 12.5 million members. The United Methodist Church was formed when the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged in 1968, but we trace our heritage back to the movement begun in 1729 in England by John and Charles Wesley. Learn More.

What We Believe

The United Methodist Church opens hearts, opens minds and open doors through active engagement with our world. John Wesley and the early Methodists placed primary emphasis on Christian living, on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as “practical divinity” has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today. We invite you to learn more about our rich theological heritage.

How We Serve

United Methodists continue to heed the lessons John Wesley taught his followers: to live lovingly and justly as servants of Christ by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, caring for the stranger, freeing the oppressed; being a compassionate presence, and working to develop social structures that are consistent with the gospel. We achieve this goal by serving throughout the world in different ways.  We invite you to learn the many ways we serve.

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About us ... 

Our Vision

We are a gathering of people who have decided to join together to follow Jesus Christ.

We Connect to God: As followers of Christ, we are in the business of healing and reconciliation for all. No matter with whom it might be, we connect to God and help others to connect to God and to know the love of God. Jesus ate with sinners – those who had been rejected by the respectable people of his day. He brought God’s healing, God’s love, and God’s reconciliation to all those who were broken down, whether by circumstances or by their own wrong-doing. We welcome all to experience God’s love with us.

We Grow: Our lives are being transformed by the Holy Spirit working within us. We help each other to grow together in Christ by committing to support one another in our discipleship. Our goal: to become a people whose actions, words, and even whose thoughts are rooted in love for God and love for others.

We Serve: As followers of Christ, we join together in service, to be a channel of God’s blessing to Star City and to the world. We remember that we are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:9)

Star City United Methodist Church. Connect. Grow. Serve.

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An ongoing and ever evolving history of the Star City United Methodist Church

Following is a transcript from a booklet titled:

History of the Star City Methodist Congregation / Souvenir of the Centennial Celebration October 28 to November 4, 1956

In 1856, a Methodist church building was moved from the southwestern part of Harrison Township (possibly near Mill Creek and the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks) to a point in northwestern Van Buren Township, where religious services were held. It is said that this church stood on the northeast corner of the Samuel Fisher farm (now the Charles Weisjahn farm). The rev. Ruben Saunders is recorded as one of the first preachers.

About 1865, the old church, called “Mount Zion” was considered unsafe and the building was sold and moved into the village, where it was used as a store room until it was destroyed by fire. In the meantime the congregation met in a one-room frame school house, (just north of the present Adolph Tack home) until the year 1867 when the first church in the town was built on the present location. This site was given by Andrew Wirick and his wife Mary, for a consideration of $50. The property was conveyed to the trustees, Henry Souder, George Kahler and J.R. Korner. It was described as lots 138 and 147 in the town of “Scarboro” which later became Star City. At the time of building, Andrew Wirick, Thomas Carey and George Kahler were trustees. J.J. Hines was the pastor.


The little town was first called “Two Mile Prairie” from the name of the post office serving the farmers of the community. The town had been laid out by the postmaster, John Nickles and Andrew Wirick. Mrs. Wirick was a Nickles before her marriage.

The early name “Two Mile Prairie” was changed to “Scarboro” but the name did not find favor among the inhabitants and it was later changed again to “Star City” upon petition by the citizens.

The school building which once housed the Methodist congregation was moved into Star City to a location near the present Post office (east side of Judson St.) and was used as a blacksmith shop.

The newly built church of which the Rev. Mr. Hines was pastor, was dedicated in the fall of

1867 by the Rev. John L. Smith. The cost of the building was about $2,600. The lumber used was native yellow poplar, sawed at a mill that stood near where the Pennsylvania Railroad crosses the Tippecanoe River south of Winamac. The lumber was hauled to a kiln erected near the church building site, where it was dried before being used in construction.


Records show that J.H. Potter served as pastor in 1869-1870. The names of D.G. LaSourd and B.H. Beal appear in 1871. A Winamac – Star City circuit was established in 1871 in the Valparaiso district, with R.B. Beaty assigned to the charge. It appears that Pulaski too, was in the Winamac circuit, for a notation in 1873 by the pastor of that period, Rev. Reder, states that Pulaski was dropped from the Winamac circuit causing a reduction of membership from Brother R.B. Beaty’s report. Meanwhile, during 1872, Presiding Elder Mikels had assigned P.S. Cook to the circuit but he served only part of the year.

The conference year in these times ran from September to September. Rev. R.O. Beebe reports having received twenty persons into full membership. Thornhope (Rosedale) appears as part of the circuit. No mention is made as to the date of separation from Winamac. Familiar names appearing on the membership rolls are Dilts, Agnew and Bruce. The preachers salary was $600 per year. The Rev. F. Taylor received an assignment as pastor in 1874. In 1875 the Rev. John Harrison was appointed by Presiding Elder R.D. Utter. Then followed G.J. Vaught and J.M. Jackson. Note here a tightening of purse strings, since the salary of the minister dropped from $700 per year to $500 per year for Jackson during a four-year period.


The Revs. Vaught and Jackson list many as baptized by “pouring, sprinkling and immersion”. According to notation, during the years other members were dropped for various reasons: “Removed by letter; Dropped; Gone back to Missouri; Died in peace”, and saddest of all, “Expelled by Quarterly conference because of doubtful character”.

The Rev. A.J. Clifton served in 1879-1880, followed by the Rev. Allen Lewis, 1880-1883. In three years, Lewis married seventy-three couples. “Beat that if you can”, he writes in his record. He married E.T. Blue and Mary J. Kahler in 1880. The Rev. L.S. Buckles, 1883-1884, notes fees from a dollar to ten dollars. The Rev. T. Cox, 1884-1886, married William Knebel and Harriet Sullivan, John White (not the venerable John White, blacksmith, still living in Star City) and Jemima Stewart. The Rev. J.J. Emery was called to England because of illness of his father.

We now arrive at an era graced by names familiar to some of our older residents. In 1886, the Rev. T.F. Drake was in charge of the pastorate. Kindliness evidently prevailed, as Mr. Drake was recorded as “a good penman, an orderly record keeper, a busy man among his people”. Among marriages he preformed were those of Peter Kahler and Jenny Lyle, Dec. 6, 1888. Mr. Washburn now lives with his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. William McClure at Star City and is recognized as the oldest living member of the Star City congregation.


Mrs. Anna Noel Washburn was received into the church during Mr. Drake’s pastorate. She is the author of the script delineating the history of the Star City church to be presented during the present centennial celebration. She has been active in directing the presentation.

In succession follow the names of the Rev. J.S. White, W.A. Matthews, A.P. DeLong as pastors with such well known and active members as Mr. and Mrs. R.A. Phillips and Mr. and Mrs. Ed Woods, along with the Ambler sisters, Maud, Molly and Idella. Of these, Mrs. Ed Woods survives and attends services regularly, although in frail health.

In 1895, the Rev. C.H. Leeson came to Star City church.

During the pastorates of A.W. Smith, D. Handley and A.G. Yount (1897-1903), Mrs. Maude Wirick was received into full membership; Mr. and Mrs. Harlon Hiatt and Mr. and Mrs. H.S. Blinn by letter. The Hiatt children, Pearl, Archie and Harvey, Miss Clara Noel and Mr. and Mrs. Emanuel Geier were received from probation of faith. William Noel and Emanuel Geier were members of the official board.


Moorsburg, which had been on the Star City circuit for some time, suffered the loss of their building by fire in January, 1904, during the pastorate of the Rev. A.L. Clark. It was rebuilt in dedicated in July of the same year. It is recorded that an aged local preacher, John Ambler, took part in the dedication. The Wm. Clark and family lived at the time in the house a block north of the Star City church, since remodeled and the home of Mr. and Mrs. Loran Warner.

The present parsonage was built in 1906 at a cost of $2,000. The small house just south of the church had been used for a parsonage in the early days. Rev. A. Fertich was pastor at that time.

The Rev. C.E. Beebe (1909-1911) records an active membership. Among the names of the young people of the period were Myrtle Geyer, Ray Geyer, Lucy and Will Leiter.

The pastorate of Rev. Chalmer C. Harlod in 1911-1913 saw the ripening of sentiment in favor of a new church and work was started July 22, 1912. The building was dedicated April 20, 1913. The building committee was composed of H.S. Blinn, G.W. Yount, Henry Kahler and W.L. Bott as treasurer of the building fund. G.A. Comptin and J.T. Washburn audited the final report and “found the books in good order”.

The dedication program for that occasion reads: “The building cost a little over $12,000 and measures 61 feet, ten inches wide and 83 feet long. It is made with auditorium, Epworth League room, Sunday School auditorium, Five class rooms, balcony and choir room.. The basement extends under the entire building and contains kitchen, social and dining rooms, boys’ room, etc. These features, together with the art glass windows, frescoed walls, steam heating, all contribute to the making of a thoroughly modern and well equipped church of which the congregation is justly proud.”


In line with the cost of the building it is interesting to note the price of farm products prevailing at the time the funds were solicited: Hogs $8.00 to $8.25; Cattle $2.00 to $6.50; Sp. chicken .13; Eggs .16; Oats .30; Yellow corn .70; Butter .20 lb. There is not much of record during the succeeding years, the pastorates of F.C. Sager, J.J. Wilson and John F. Clearwater. Names of officers and committees include Blinn, Compton, Yount, Hiatt, Kahler, N. Brown, R.B. Minton, R.A Phillips, W.J. Leiter, J.T. Washburn, and Clara Noel; Mrs. Cora Hamilton, president of the Ladies’ Aid and Mrs. H. Blinn president of Home Missionary.

Rev. D.A. Rogers (1919-1921) married several well known local couples – Hubert Hoesel and Sadie Powers, Floyd Knebel and Opal Blinn, Carl Grostefon and Nellie Powers.


A long list of baptisms marks the record of the Rev. R.J. Hicks (1921-1923). The Rev. A.M. Hagenbook took the charge in 1923 to remain as pastor until 1926, when he retired and retained his residence in Star City until his death. His pastorate enjoyed steady activities, Mr. and Mrs. Milo Bonnell presented six children for baptism, the baby, Howard, not quite four months old. The family continues active in church affairs.

C.L. Reinhart, P.B. Burleigh, and P.B. Noland each served a year as pastor and the Rev. W.D. Archibald came to Star City in 1931. He will speak during the Centennial services on Thursday evening, Nov. 1.

At this point of our narrative almost ceases to be history. The Rev. Walter B. Collier followed Mr. Archibald and served Star City from 1934 to 1939. He is retired and lives in Flora, Ind. He will be heard on Sunday morning, Oct. 28, the opening session of the Centennial observance. A bouquet of the living-“He was surely one fine man” is recorded of Mr. Collier.

A popular student pastor, the Rev. Merlin Schwein, occupied the Star City pulpit and the Star City, White Oak and Fletchers Lake circuit. He was called to Delphi and later to Salem, Ind. from where he will come to address the Centennial congregation Monday evening, Oct. 29. During Merlin Schwein’s pastorate, Richard Reed, son of Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Reed, served as the first MYF president. Young Reed later lost his life while navigator of a Flying Fortress over the Mediterranean, in 1943. The one gold star on the church’s service flag.

The church progressed from 1943-1945 under the able leadership of the Rev. John Paul Jones, present pastor of the Winamac Methodist church. Rev. Jones and his family added another link of strength to our ever growing organization.

The Rev. James Burroughs, now in South Bend, as pastor in 1945-1947. He will return to Star City for the Centennial and will speak the evening of Friday, Nov. 2. The Rev. Gordon Clews served the pastorate in 1947-1949.

The Rev. Theodore Roberts enjoyed a pleasant and prosperous two years at Star City. Organization of the Methodist Men, improvement of property, new oil furnace, garage at the parsonage, remodeling at Thornhope church.

Rev. Harold came back to Star City for a few months in 1952, following the resignation of Luther Page.

In June of 1952 the Rev. Ivan Guddal came to Star City as a student pastor. The Guddals, with their three children, endeared themselves to Star City people, who were reluctant to see them leave for a new field in California. New entrances were made in the basement, a nursery room and kitchen equipment added.

The work of the church continues. Echoes of history are detected in the names of present active workers: Lay Leader, Neal Hiatt; President Methodist Men, Ralph Bishop; Supt. Church Sunday School, Everett Knebel; President Methodist Youth, Arthur Sutton; Church Secretary, Mae Blue; Trustees, Hubert Hosel, Tom Davis, Harold Brown, Sherald Bonnell, Lloyd Royer, William Wagner, Karl Brust, Raymond Maxwell, William B. Powers; Organists and Pianists, Clara Noel, Mrs. Don Grostefon, Mrs. Darl Knebel, Mrs. Fred Cords, Mella Perry, Glenn Woods, Jr.

The Rev. Bryan K. Johnson has been minister at Star City since June 1955. Constant improvement is being made in the church property and activities are keeping pace with the demands of an enlarging society.

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And the story continues.

Come back here often as we add to the story of the evolution of the Star City United Methodist Church as it continues to live on in the lives of the people and community it serves.

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