The realization that we are the spiritual heirs of those who have kept the church alive here should inspire us as we, in turn, continue to build and plan not only for the present but for the generations still to come.Sharon United Methodist Church 1973 Pictorial Directory
In 1818, the territory of Illinois was admitted to the Union. About 1821 or 1822, Leonard Stevens and his family came from New York and settled along what we now know as Stevens Creek.
Camp meetings began in the Stevens Creek settlement about 1829. Settlers in that area held religious services in their own homes and the service usually consisted of singing, praying and the giving of testimonies. When occasionally a traveling preacher or Methodist circuit rider came along, there would be a preaching service.
The first Methodist “society” or church, as it would be called today, was organized that same year, 1829. This society was part of the Salt Creek Circuit served by Reverend W. L. Deneen. Rev. Deneen organized the society at the time that Peter Cartwright was District Superintendent of the Sangamon District. Church services were held in the homes of individuals such as David Owens, Glenn Church, John Gulick and others.
On March 18, 1852, Trustees were elected “to establish a meetinghouse west of Stevens Creek.” The name adopted at that time was the Stevens Creek Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
On August 8, 1873, John J. Funk and his wife conveyed to the Trustees ½ acre of land at the corner of Wyckles Road and Center Street to be used for church purposes. A new church was erected on the site and dedicated in October 1873. Trustee Peter Troutman named it “Sharon”, presumably from Biblical references in Isaiah 35:2 and 65:10 to Sharon, a part of Israel noted for its beauty.
In 1907, the church was raised and a basement was added under the building. Concrete steps and a concrete walk bearing the date “1907” were added. In 1947, Mr. George S. Foster gave the church an adjacent ½ acre of land to provide for three additional Sunday school rooms, which were added in 1948.
Growth in the community and the increase in the post war birth rate began to challenge the church, and plans were approved in 1957 to build a new education unit and multi-purpose worship center as the first step in building an entirely new church plant. Using congregational labor, the new building was completed and the first service was held on December 7, 1958. Consecration services were held on January 22 of the next year. This lovely building served our congregation well but was completely destroyed by a tornado on April 19, 1996.
The congregation remained together and continued to worship in the older sanctuary of Grace United Methodist Church in Decatur. New building plans were approved in November 1996, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held that December. The congregation commenced worship in the new building on September 21, 1997. Bishop Sharon A. Brown Christopher dedicated the facility to God’s glory on November 16, 1997.