Vandalia First United Methodist Church
A Thriving Congregation in Vandalia, Illinois
Vandalia First United Methodist Church is open to worshippers of all ages and backgrounds. We lead our congregation in worship, deepening the connection to God, understanding the teachings of Christ, and ultimately to a vibrant faith.
We have a long, proud history of serving the people of Vandalia.
A group of seven people met with Rev. J. H. Benson in July, 1831, to discuss Wesleyan Theology and decided to unite as Methodists. Others soon joined the congregation which met with two other churches in the “House of Worship” a small building situated where the Old Presbyterian Church (now Fayette County Museum) is presently located. The Methodists continued to worship in this building until 1835, when disharmony among the denominations prompted the Methodist congregation to begin work for the construction of a new and larger building of their own. After meeting in other temporary facilities, Dr. Nathaniel M. McCurdy, a physician, spearheaded a drive to construct a new place of worship. His dedication, inspiration and leadership resulted in the construction of the McCurdy Methodist Episcopal Church on the comer of North Fourth and Madison Streets. This church was dedicated in 1868 and was the most imposing structure of its kind in the County. Dr. McCurdy and his wife, Olivia, were buried outside the church which was later destroyed by fire on March 17, 1899.
At once, it was determined to rebuild. Some subscriptions were given while the fire raged. The youth of the church proclaimed with eagerness that a church could and would be built. The realization of their dream was completed and dedicated on January 20, 1901 and is now the First United Methodist Church. For the most part, the exterior has remained unchanged. However, the interior was totally gutted and a new interior was built inside the old brick shell in 1972-73. At the same time, the parsonage that sat immediately south of the church was razed to provide adequate space for the construction of an Education Building. A new parsonage was built at 630 Riverview Drive. There was excellent cooperation and support from members of our church as evidenced by the fact that the entire debt for the new parsonage and church building was retired in November, 1979 , that during this time all church operational bills and conference apportionments were paid, and the church maintained its firm commitment to missionary work. Thanks to God, the entire project was a harmonious venture.
An “Educational Building” with foyer, chapel, classrooms, fellowship hall, kitchen, library, offices, restrooms, and all-weather parking lot has been added. Additionally, and built recently, is a “Family Center” which will provide space for sports and activities for all ages. The burial site of Dr. McCurdy and Olivia remains with the Church and is located beneath the double doors that provide an entry to the foyer of the Education Building.
Buildings alone do not convey the ministry of Christ. It is the teaching, fellowship and outreach of a community of believers that can strive to fulfill God's hope for the world. Accordingly, the First United Methodist Church of Vandalia provides worship services, Sunday school, committee involvement, youth summer camps, Bible studies, social meetings and dinners, coats/gloves/shoes for Fayette County children and youth in need, Backpack 2 School Ministry, Tools 4 School, and monetary support for 37 local, national and world missions.