PARKE Co., Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Rockville First United Methodist Church has been a staple in the Parke County community for nearly 200 years.
“It’s the oldest brick structure in Parke county. We’re the second oldest active Methodist congregation in the conference. The only one older is in Terre Haute,” said Rob Belcher, a member of the church.
With over a century of history, comes a list of necessary changes.
“Any building that old needs repairs. And to preserve this building, our most pressing item is tuck pointing on the church to protect the bricks outside. That was done 30 years ago and it’s time to do it again. The water is seeping in through the bricks and causing some structural damage. We’ve also got some roofing issues that we need to take care of,” Belcher said.
But, the repairs are coming with a hefty price tag of around $200,000.
“The windows alone are $65,000. The tuck pointing is about $80,000. We’ve got about $30,000 on roof repairs,” he said.
The church is hopeful that the community will help get the work done just in time for their bi-centennial.
“We plan to have not just a one day, but kind of an extended celebration of that 200 years. Including the county people and tying that with the town and the county for the historical significance that the church has had,” said Pastor Jon Overbey.
They also hope to keep the church around for centuries to come.
“It’s not just about being able to celebrate that we’ve had a 200th anniversary of a congregation in a couple years. But also to be able to hand this over to the next generation to continue it on so that 200 years from now, all these services and the work of God can be done out of this building like it is today,” said Pastor Overbey.
The church says to help with the monetary need, they’ve applied for grants, started a building fund and plan to hold community fundraisers.
The congregation will celebrate 200 years in 2022.