Second Methodist Church

Second Methodist.jpg

A photo of Second Methodist Church, date unknown. Source: Book of Beloit, 1936)

Second Methodist Episcopal Church, first founded in 1917, has undergone several name and location changes, becoming Wesleyan Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and later splitting into St. Matthias, and Henderson Avenue United Methodist Church. The first meeting of the congregation was held by Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Prince at their home on 1041 Forest Avenue, with meetings later being moved to the Booth and G. A. R. halls. In 1920, plans for the actual building of the Church were made with it eventually being dedicated in December 1935.

Notable individuals who were involved in the original organizing of the Church included Mr. Brown, Mr. Stevenson, and Mr. Williams who, according to Lorenzo Grady (interviewed in 1976) built a loose community for Beloit’s black population. Mr. Grady, who himself aided in building Second Methodist Episcopal Church, credited Reverend Zimmerman, a man who came to Beloit from Chicago to aid in the construction and organization of the Church, with “[getting] all of his members to come down and work free” during the construction of the Church. (From a 1976 Oral History conducted by Clem Imhoff) Reverend Zimmerman also aided in construction by doing things such as “[mixing] cement, [carrying] hod, [laying] bricks, [swinging] a hammer and [seeing] the edifice rise under his own hands” according to the Book of Beloit (1936).

One of the most notable persons in the history of the church was Pastor Gibson, who served as its pastor for a time. Pastor Gibson, according to the Beloit Daily News, worked towards equal employment opportunities for African Americans in Beloit, and was active within the local and state level NAACP.

Second Methodist Church