Church History

History of Our Church

Lisbon United Methodist Church, founded in 1840, has a rich history. 


1840     Dr. Nelson Rathbun, a local preacher and physician, preached the first Methodist sermon in Yankee Grove (Lisbon) in the log cabin home of John Danahoo, just east of the creek in the present South Street. Only a few settlers were here at that time. The early ministers were circuit riders with a large area to serve.

1840     The first preacher, Rev. John Hedges, was appointed to the Marion Mission, of which Yankee Grove was a part.

1841     The first class meeting was organized at Yankee Grove.

1842     A log school was built. Services were held there for many years.

1845     Sunday School was organized.

1851     The town was laid out called Lisbon.

1858     Lisbon received first resident minister. He also served several rural churches.

1866     A revival increased membership from 28 to 80.

1867     The First Methodist church was built on the site of the present church at the cost of $5,350. It was dedicated July 5th, 1868.

1878     The parsonage was built at a cost of $1,375.69.

1879     Ladies Aid Society was organized.

1898     The old church was torn down. The present church was built at a cost of $14,000, including $1000 for the large stain glass window. The bell from the old church was used.

1899     The church was dedicated on April 9th, 1899 with an estimated 900 people present. There were 150 members at that time. The Steinway grand piano, which we still use, was purchased at that time for $450.  

1915     The pipe organ was installed, sponsored by the Ladies Aid Society for $3,000.

1926     The Parsonage was enlarged and remodeled.

1956     The steeple was struck by lightning and burned.

1959     The organ was rebuilt at a cost of $3,000.

1970     The dining room was enlarged and new kitchen was built.

1979     Before this time our church always shared a minister. With the arrival of Rev. Kalen Fristad, it began a new era of pastoral ministry and he served only this church.

1981     The western half of the basement was finished off with firewalls, fire escape and dropped ceiling. Signs with the name of the church and address were put along the highway.

1983     The restrooms were remodeled and the western half of the basement was carpeted.

1985     The pews were upholstered with memorial money from Willard Light and new folding chairs were purchased for the overflow room. The overflow room was renovated, including new lights, curtains, carpeting and ceiling fans. Ceiling fans were also purchased for the Sanctuary. A parsonage located at 101 Alexander Avenue was purchased for and the old parsonage was then used for Sunday school rooms.

1989     Front entrance to the church was enclosed as a memorial to Bettye Kelly. Organ pipes were taken down, sanded and repainted. Channel area was painted and new light fixtures were installed. Bell tower project was done for $2,300.

1995     The old parsonage was torn down and an addition was added to the church for $500,000. This money was raised by a special stewardship campaign and with help of memorial funds.

1996     A house was purchased across the street from the church and was torn down and becam todays parking lot.

1999     Members Neil Bieber and Bob Kelley took the task of replacing the steeple, which had been struck by lightning 43 years earlier. Plus a cross was placed on the top.

2000     We received a new pastor, Tom Mattson and wife Jan.

2001     Parsonage kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and new windows in the front were installed at a cost of $12,000. A new roof was added as well. New church signs for the highway were made.

2004     The parsonage was sold.

2005     Two sections of the stain glass window were repaired. A Youth Center was born in the basement. The gift came to life with a gift of memorial and the work of many including a young man who took on the first phase of this project to earn his Eagle Scout Badge. The band enJoy has become a regular part of worship one Sunday a month.

2009     A new sound system, projector and large projection screen were added to the sanctuary.

2010     The church received a totally new metal roof and steeple.

2013     The stained glass windows in the sanctuary, on the south wall of the church, were removed and restored.  Along with the window repairs, much of the plaster on the wall was repaired and painted.

2014      The 1899 original grand piano was completely restored to its original glory and is used and enjoyed in many church services.

2014      The church website is started.

2014      Started work on fixing the "Jesus" stained glass window.

2016      Pastor Tom Mattson Retires.

2016      Karen Nelson becomes new pastor.

2019      Pastor Karen leaves

2019      Welcome Pastor Joshua Swaim and family

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