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Meeker Methodist Church 1960's now White River Methodist Church. Meeker, Colorado

Our History

Our History


Meeker United Methodist Church, located at 809 Park Ave in Meeker Colorado, began July 10, 1893 and is one of the three oldest churches in this quaint, historic town located in Northwest Colorado.


Fred L. Davis. Meeker’s third pastor (1896-1898), was a part of the significant event of purchasing property for a future building. April 21, 1898 – Lots 10,11,12 of Block 48 of the Town of Meeker were purchased from Mr. Ambrose Oldland. Today, we know it as 8th and Park but at that time it was on the edge of town. 


Sanctuary is Built

Then, came Rev. William John (1898 – 1901). There were 22 members when he arrived and 44 members when he left. Also, under his leadership a church was built and completed by 1899. It’s value was listed as $1800 of which $1,747 was already paid! This accomplishment may not be totally due to the small congregation but old records indicate that the name Francis Billings was on the title as a trustee. Mr. Billings was not a person from Meeker. At that time the Board of Church Extension had a fund of several memorial endowments for building new churches in the west. It’s believed that a grant was awarded from the memorial of Francis Billings. 


Elbert Hall History


By 1957, the year Rev. Simmons came to Meeker, the enrollment had soared once again beyond the two hundred mark; indeed, two hundred four, a record enrollment.  


The Rev. Gordon J. Benesh followed Rev. Simmons to Meeker, and his six years of service to the local congregation were to be years of unprecedented building and growth in the Church.  The 1961 Conference report, the first under Rev. Benesh, for the Meeker Church showed a record Sunday School enrollment of two hundred thirty-four, as well as a new record one hundred thirteen enrollment for the Vacation Bible School.  In 1962’s Conference report the Church membership rose to the two hundred mark, the first time such a figure had been achieved for the Meeker Church


With very little space to function with this kind of growth, the final decision made was to renovate the interior of the existing sanctuary, preserving the original building constructed in 1899 and to proceed with a building program for a new annex building to the Church.  This, of course, was the culmination of a great deal of planning and discussion among the local congregation and with outside resource leadership. Plans were drawn up by April 18, 1962, after lengthy study and critical review.  


The Building Committee submitted an initial estimate of $40,000 for the new structure, augmented by liberal contributions of labor by the men and women of the Church. A Financial Crusade entitled, “Step Into the Future Through Faith,” began in the final weeks of 1963.

On the night of December 22, 1963, following a farewell dinner at the Church for the Wayne Luben family who were moving to Grand Junction, while the W. H. Jacobs family was returning home to their ranch on Piceance Creek, a freak accident occurred on the highway about twelve miles west of Meeker, resulting in the death of Elbert Jacobs, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs, and injury to their daughter, Katheryn.  As the accident was later reconstructed, a three hundred pound boulder came rolling down the hillside and crashed on the top of the Jacobs’ automobile, crushing in the top of the vehicle.  It was believed that this was the cause of young Elbert’s death, almost instantly.


At the request of his parents, memorial gifts for the forthcoming building program were asked for, and a sizable figure was received for this purpose.  It goes without saying that the building fund for the new annex received an appreciable impetus as a result of this tragedy and loss.  The new building became known almost from the beginning as “Elbert Hall,” in token of this young man’s life.


Part way through the construction of the new annex building tragedy once again struck the Meeker Church and community when another one of its bright and promising young men sustained a fatal injury.  On the evening of December 8, 1964, while rabbit hunting on his parent’s ranch land with two of his high school fellow-students, young Larry Amick, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Amick and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Amick, was accidentally shot and died soon thereafter.  (Also brother to Diana Amick Watson who currently serves as pianist here). Again the Church faced the stunning news of the tragic death of one of its young men, almost to the year when it was shaken with the death of young Elbert Jacobs.  Memorials to young Mr. Amick were quick to come to the Church in significant amounts, and at the request of his parents and other family members, the gifts were applied to the building and renovation program, giving noticeable assistance to these projects, and furthering their advancement. 

The new unit was finally completed, and full use was afforded the Church and community of this expansion of church facilities.  An impressive consecration service was conducted for the building on October 10, 1965.


New Sanctuary Built

The church kept growing and the sanctuary that was erected in 1901 and had served its people for 110 years was no longer structurally sound or large enough to continue. Under the leadership of Johnny Arrington, a new sanctuary was built and completed February, 2011.


New Kitchen

April 2, 2023 an Open House was held in Elbert Hall, celebrating a newly renovated kitchen – bringing it from 1964 into the 21st century and costing close to $75,000. All the funds were raised through grants, pledges and special fundraisers to get the kitchen in a position to serve the church and our community another sixty years.