A Historical Review of Rose Hill Methodism
Methodism began in the Rose Hill vicinity with people meeting at a schoolhouse known as Spring Creek School, located five miles west of Rose Hill. The Spring Creek Class was organized in January of 1876, by Sullivan Clard, president of the Methodist Protestant Kansas Conference.
Reverend McCoin was the first pastor. No records could be located prior to 1881. That year, the Spring Creek Circuit was formed with classes at Spring Creek, McCluggage, College Corners, Maple Creek and Douglass Pleasant Hill. At one time, Prairie Grove and Providence were also part of the circuit.
A parsonage was built in 1882, at Douglass, Kansas. It must have been a financial burden to the circuit, because in 1890 it was sold for taxes. Money was scarce at that time, so a pastor might simply share in the crops rather than get paid cash. Pastor Ongette agreed to a salary of $200 in 1885.
The name of Spring Creek was changed to Rose Hill on August 9, 1889. This was the year the Santa Fe Railroad came through. Old Rose Hill moved one mile west to the railroad.
The new Rose Hill Class bought ground from Mr. Berry and built a church building. Perry Silknitter and Mr. Oldham were the carpenters, assisted by the men of the congregation.
Trustees names appearing on the deed were H.A. Baker, Elias Mitchell, and H.P. Silknitter. The pastor was T. G. Shepherd. A class holding services at Prairie Grove schoolhouse joined the circuit at Rose Hill at that time.
The Ladies Aid Society was organized in 1890 with Sister Harris as president. A Christian Endeavor Society was organized in 1894 and a Women’s Foreign Missionary Society was organized in 1894.
Red Bud Class was organized in 1898 and became a part of the Rose Hill Methodist Protestant Circuit.
Two lots north of the church were purchased and a parsonage was built in 1901. The structure stood until late 1972 and served as home for the parsonage families until a new modern brick home was built on North Rose Hill Road in 1965.
Rose Hill was made a station in 1909 under the ministry of E.M. Snyder. There were 41 names on the roll at that time. Pleasant Hill and Red Bud were left as a circuit.
By 1929 the Red Bud Building had been disbanded and was moved to Rose Hill. It was attached to the west end of the Rose Hill sanctuary and used as a combination fellowship hall and Sunday School classroom.
The Methodist Protestant Annual Conference was twice entertained by Rose Hill; once in 1922, with D.M. Pentz as pastor, and again in 1939 with J.L. Whitney as pastor. The latter was an important “uniting” conference.
May 10, 1939, the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the Methodist Protestant Church united and became the Methodist Church. Rose Hill changed from Methodist Protestant to Methodist.
From 1881 until the present, 43 pastors have served the people, called Methodists, in Rose Hill. The longest pastorate was Paul Johnson (1977-1989). E.M. Snyder and J.T. Shepherd were called back for second pastorates. The Quarterly Conference recommended E. Dale Dunlap to the Annual Conference for a license to preach in 1941.
A brick veneered educational building was built in 1956 and dedicated in 1962. It included a pastor’s study, classrooms, a kitchen and a fellowship hall. It was erected in the lot north of the old wooden church and was designed so a new sanctuary might be attached some day,
In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church united to form the United Methodist Church.
The church building, which was erected in 1889, was torn down in order to build a new sanctuary with a basement. The congregation moved into the new sanctuary in June of 1974. It was attached to the educational building and extended south. The basement held classrooms.
In 1996, a member of the congregation, Nancy McFall, began a preschool in the fellowship hall of the church. It was named the “Wee Rockets” Preschool.
In 1998, Ivan and Charlene Rexroat, members of the Rose Hill United Methodist Church, donated ten acres of land, south of the city of Rose Hill, to the church to be used to build a new church building. In May of 2001 the Rose Hill congregation consecrated a new sanctuary/multi-purpose room and began meeting in the new building. The building also contained a kitchen, parlor, choir room, restrooms, offices, large foyer and storage space. Members of the church helped finish the educational wing and it’s dedication was held in September of 2001.
The old church building has been renovated and is now the Wee Rockets Child Development Center with a preschool, latch key and child care center on the main floor and a teen center in the basement. A grant from the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund was given to the church in order for the building to be renovated and the programs expanded.