Ashland Historic Commission HISTORICALLY COMPATIBLE CIVIC 2008
Location: 175 North Main Street
Owner: First United Methodist Church
Designer: Jac Nichols & Beverly Thruston, Architectural Design Works
Contractor: Corey Vitus, Vitus Construction
The First United Methodist Church building has been a significant architectural and cultural landmark inAshland. This first permanent church was originally built in 1875-1877. It is important to note that it remains the oldest continuously used religious structure in Ashland and for over a century and a quarter has served its congregation.
A number of changes and additions have occurred through the years as the congregation has grown. The current addition and renovation, which includes classrooms, administrative offices and storage was completed this year. Both the owner and architect worked with the Historic Commission from the initial design concept to the refinement of architectural details. The addition and renovation visually complements the beautiful historic church as well as providing a bridge between the non-historic assembly hall and the original church building. The design of the addition is nicely in scale and proportion with both the original church as well as the Skidmore/Academy Historic District.
As our significant historic homes and buildings advance in age, it is important that our community recognizes the work that retains and preserves their historic architectural features, their sense of design, proportion and detail, while modernizing them for the needs of todayâ€™s community.
We applaud the Congregation of the First United Methodist Church, the team of architects, and the contractor for making the effort to design and build such a high quality project that will communicate the historic architectural styles of the past and still answer the needs of the current church community.
The Ashland Methodist Church has been my Spiritual Home almost my entire life. My earliest memories are of attending Sunday School in the two small rooms at the top of the stairway leading out of the old Fireside Room. I was taught my earliest bible stories, learned the simple songs (which I still sing to myself). and learned the skills of getting along with other children and respect for my elders. (Ask me about the first Christmas Program I can remember).
I was confirmed in this church in the 1930â€™s, at the time when Dr. Sydney Hall was pastor. As an active member of the Epworth League I was privileged to attend many League conferences, camp at Little River, all with the support (prayer and financial) of the members of the congregation.
The prayer support of the Congregation followed me even when I moved across the country, I felt its strength at the time of my sonâ€™s first illness. When I returned to Ashland with my family to live out our retirement years, the prayers, and fellowship were still there.
When I walk into the Sanctuary each Sunday morning, I feel as though I am coming home, there is a sense of love, communion and fellowship radiating from those present, and the aura of those who are no longer present in the flesh. Worship becomes a community endeavor as we join together in our songs, prayers and messages.
I pray that I will be able to be apart of that Fellowship until the day my Savior calls me home to his Sanctuary.
As an Uncle Foodâ€™s Diner volunteer, I am always amazed as I watch a feast emerge from a shoestring budget. Boxes of produce that most people would not touch are carefully sorted through, restaurant leftovers are recreated and in a few short hours a substantial hot meal is finished and ready to be served. It is a blessing to be able to put faith in to action as a small part of this outreach program.
I love the First United Methodist Church of Ashland because of the atmosphere. Not only is it located it a beautiful town, but the people are so wonderful. I've always felt like I am a part of the congregation, even though I only became a member a few years ago. The people are joyous and always make visitors feel welcome. There are services for people who like a contemporary service or a more traditional service, but both are beautiful and the creativity of the people in the church just blossoms. Our new building allows for many more wonderful activities and plenty of space for what already happens in our church. No matter what activity is going on, a hike, a meeting, or a church service, I know that God is always there looking out for us. I am sure that anybody who comes will enjoy our beautiful church and the happy people in it.
The "People Called Methodists" were the first community of faith to establish a church in Ashland. We are proud to maintain our church building as one of the most beautiful of the city's many historical landmarks. A church, however, is far more than a building. Our mission statement calls us:
- To proclaim our understanding of God as known in Jesus Christ.
- To nurture all people in their spiritual journey through personal fellowship and the challenge of study.
- To love, support, and serve beyond our doors and members.