“In the summer of 1853 Chauncey Hobart was sent to visit this area to establish churches. He went to Mankato, St. Peter, Traverse des Sioux, LeSueur, Henderson and Shakopee (all of which were small frontier settlements along the lower Minnesota River) holding services and arranging with landowners for lots (of land) usually 6 to 8 lots, for future Methodist Church buildings. These (lots) were to be marked on plats as soon as a recorder’s office was established.”
-Rev. Frank B. Cowgill, 1902
In the course of his tour, Mr. Hobart preached the first Methodist sermon in Mankato to a gathering of nearly 200 people on the first Sunday in July 1853. This service was conducted in the open air near the confluence of Blue Earth and Minnesota Rivers where Sibley Park now lies.
In September 1854, Lewis Bell was appointed Preacher-in-Charge at the new Mankato Mission. In the summer of 1855, Mr. Bell organized his parishioners at Mankato into a class and since that time Methodism has had continuous organized existence in this city.
Centenary is proud to have hosted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday, November 12, 1961. Dr King presented a lecture entitled “The Good Neighbor” at two morning events that day.
In March of 1974, Centenary United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church, and First Congregational United Church of Christ voted to build a combined facility, where each congregation would maintain their own identity. A corporation was formed and the Multi-Church Foundation was begun. Centenary’s building was demolished in June of 1975 and the new facility opened in the summer of 1976. In 1993, the First Baptist church closed its doors. In 2002, First Congregational moved to a separate building and the Multi-Church was dissolved.
Today, Centenary United Methodist Church serves the Mankato area as a downtown church that provides assistance to people in need, a welcoming community for those seeking fellowship and a place for families to grow in faith.
To read a complete history of Centenary, download the PDF: Church History (763.6 KB)