On September 5, 1865 six men met at the home of A.C. Mason and elected a Board of Trustees for the church. The following week, a President and Secretary were elected, and the next week, on September 20th, the Illinois Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was addressed by the President of ISNU. President Richard Edwards, (Presbyterian by the way), urged them strongly that a Methodist Church was needed in the village to accommodate the many Methodist students who attended the University. The Conference approved and combined the Twin Grove church and the new Normal church into the Normal Circuit. The Reverend C.D. Jones was appointed pastor.
The village was settled in 1854 and simply called “The Junction” for several years. Also for a while it was referred to as “North Bloomington.” In 1865, the name Normal was given named for the University connection. On September 30, 1865 the village leaders voted to incorporate the town, and in February of 1867, it was approved by the Illinois State Legislature. Our first formal sanctuary was built and dedicated in 1867 at the corner of Fell Avenue and Ash Street (now College Ave). In 1957, the church moved to its current location at 211 North School Street in the heart of the campus of Illinois State University.
Towards the end of 1865, our church, its community, its neighbor Bloomington, the State of Illinois and all of the United States were still haunted by the assassination of a President the previous April — and still suffering from four horrifying years of war. During the same days in which the Methodist Church was organizing and the Town of Normal was incorporated, an 9/30/1865 article in The Pantagragh tells of four Black soldiers who had come home that week to Bloomington. They were the only men remaining of nearly a dozen who had answered the Union’s call three years prior. The article ends with these words: “We suggest to our colored brethren get up a ball in honor of these heroes of Petersburg, Ft Wagner and other hard fought battles.”
Normal First United Methodist Church has been a downtown church since its founding in 1865. Our first formal sanctuary was built and dedicated in 1867 at the corner of Fell Avenue and Ash Street (now College Ave). In 1957, the church moved to its current location at 211 North School Street in the heart of the campus of Illinois State University.
We hope you were able to join us in 2015 as we worked “One Church Under God” in celebrating 150 Years of Service to our Community, our Nation and our World.
We are a child and youth Safe Sanctuary Church.