University United Methodist Church infancy began in 1913. A small group of people longing for spiritual fellowship met in a tiny schoolhouse at 21st and Hydraulic, near what is presently the northbound entrance to I-135 from 21st street. After complaints that a religious group was meeting in a public school, they moved to an abandoned two-room schoolhouse in the 1600 block of Kansas avenue. Soon this building was moved away, leaving the group again without at meeting place. For several months this determined group met at various homes. Lots at 17th and Minnesota were soon acquired. A small building was erected in the fall of 1918. The first services were known as the 17th Street Union Sunday School. Students from the Rhoe Indian Institute (located at 21st and Yale, the present location of UUMC) attended.

By 1924, the need for an organized church was evident. A mission church was formed with St. Paulís Methodist as the sponsor. In 1931 we were known as St. Lukeís Methodist church, because of the association of Paul and Luke on their missionary journeys. The congregation grew, and in January 1933, St. Lukeís became an independent church.

In 1942 St. Paulís deeded property at 17th and Volutsia to St. Lukeís. The little wooden structure was moved from 17th and Minnesota, placed over a prepared basement and covered with stone. The church name was changed from St. Lukeís Methodist to University Methodist at this time. Two major additions were later made to this building, making it more than twice as large as the original chapel.

In 1956 the Volutsia property was sold and land at the present location at 21st and Yale was purchased. Sunday school was held in the old Graber farmhouse (originally the Rhoe Indian Institute building), and worship services were conducted in the Mathewson School Building (Northeast Magnet) at 16th and Chautauqua. The present sanctuary was completed in 1957, and the education building was completed in 1960, over the site of the old Rhoe Institute. We became University United Methodist in 1969, with the merger of the Methodist and the Evangelical United Brethren Conferences. Formal dedication and debt retirement on sanctuary and education buildings became a reality in 1971.

God has richly blessed us through our ministers, programs, challenges and members.


By Marlene Wentz, Historian

February 7, 2000