Most people don’t realize that the Emporium Free Methodist Church has been in Cameron County for 137 years! The church was organized March 14th, 1873 by Rev. G.R. Harvey, and actually consisted of two churches. One church met in the small village of Rathbun, just a few miles from Beechwood, and the other met in West Creek. The church in Rathbun was declared closed in 1956, as most of the members had moved to Emporium.
Before the first Emporium church was built, the congregation worshiped in West Creek (1873) and then later at a dance hall near the old high school at East 4th Street, and then in the election hall below the bridge at the east end of town. Later services were held in the building known as the Sweikart apartments.
In 1923 with money donated by Rev. Ella Culp, blocks made by Fred Bliss, and laid by Rev. G.A. Garret, with Earl Towner in charge of construction, a new church was built on the same location. That building still stands today!
In 1950 a new, red brick and stone church was built on the corner of 5th and Maple street, once again with Earl Towner in charge of construction. The new church was under the direction of Rev. Weaver. From 1873 to 1950 a pastor was only permitted to serve at any one location a maximum of 3 years, and was reappointed to another charge.
In the year 2000, the church had an opportunity to acquire the former East 4th Street School building. With much prayer and fasting, and a great deal of faith, we made the acquisition and moved in. The following is a list of those who have served the ministry here in Emporium.