The MISSION of the New Baden United Methodist Church is to be a lighthouse to the people of New Baden and surrounding communities, guiding them into a faithful relationship with Jesus Christ. We do this through vibrant worship, teaching Biblical truth, and service to those in need.
The New Baden United Methodist Church was organized July 21, 1902 in a small white church building on Railroad Avenue. The first trustees were Rudolph Hertenstein, Charles Harpstrite, Oscar Mitzel, Oscar Harper, Mrs. Barbara Singler, Philip Weiss, Joseph Arbegg, Charles Engelhardt, and Oscar Carney. The name adopted was the Methodist Episcopal Church of New Baden, Illinois. This was set forth in an affidavit by Z.J. Farmer, a minister from Trenton, Illinois, and notarized by George J. Monken, Notary Public, on August 25, 1902. It was recorded with the County Recorder of Deeds on August 26, 1902. There were 105 charter members when the church was established as part of a dual charge with the Trenton Methodist United Methodist Church.
The original building was used for over twenty years until the congregation grew too large for the facility. On April 3, 1922, Rudolph Hertenstein deeded the two lots to the congregation on which the current building now stands. The contract proposal, submitted by H. & E. Fochtmann, was awarded to said company on July 9, 1922 to build the new church for $12,200.00. The Official Board of the Methodist Episcopal Church of New Baden petitioned the Board of Home Missions and Church Extension of the Methodist Episcopal church in November of 1922 for a $12,000.00 grant to build the church. On November 29, 1922 the Board of Church Extension appropriated a grant of $1,500.00 to the building project. The Official Board secured a loan of $12,000.00 from Mary C. Gass Mueller of St. Louis, Missouri and the New Baden church building was completed in the spring of 1923. The congregation installed pews, windows, lighting fixtures, and various other items in the new church. By the time all was said and done, the finished building project was completed for a cost of $17,252.54.
The new church building was dedicated as the First Methodist Episcopal Church of New Baden Illinois on Sunday, May 17, 1925, with Bishop Joseph Berry of Philadelphia and Pastor S.A. Matthews officiating. In 1990 the dual charge of Trenton and New Baden Methodist churches was dissolved. In less than one year a parsonage was built and the mortgage loan was then paid off in fewer than five years. The New Baden church continues to this day as a single charge UM church.
Over the years, since the current New Baden Methodist church was built, it has been remodeled several times. This included the enclosing of the front steps in the foyer, the addition of air conditioning units, the building of a black-top finished parking lot, the installation of a chair lift, the laying of new carpeting, the purchase a new organ and the installation of plexiglass-protection for the church’s beautiful stained-glass windows. In recent years, projects to add a children’s crying room upstairs and the repartitioning of the basement to make a church office and a separate activity room were completed.
The church is currently planning a major building expansion project. This ambitious effort will add an annex to provide more space for church activities, modernize and add restroom facilities and install an elevator to have access between church levels for handicapped and elderly church people. Our goal, with God’s help, is to complete this expansion effort within the next 3 years.
In Summary, the church has withstood the nationwide depression, the closing of the local mines, the dissolution of the dual charge and several financial challenges. Despite these trials, the resolve of the congregation has been strong and as our mission states: “we continue to be a lighthouse to the people of New Baden and surrounding communities”.