Chenoa United Methodist Church has a philosophy of helping the community and supporting local and global missions. We collect special mission offerings such as: Chenoa Food Pantry, Home Sweet Home Mission, sponsor swimming at the Chenoa Swimming Pool, Back to School supplies for Prairie Central School students, Hope Pregnancy Center, UMCOR Disaster Relief, Our Conference Our Kids.
Annually we organize a 4th of July food stand, which helps our Chenoa community with the biggest event of the year!
Church Services are held at Mercy Creek and Evenglow in ministry.
Our church family makes home and hospital visits and participates in a card ministry.
Kids in Christ - 3:45 P.M. Wednesday – children gather to practice songs, learn Bible lessons, snack and play. The youth also participate in missions, such as creating birthday kits for the Chenoa Food Pantry.
Sunday School – 10:30 A.M. Sunday during school year – a time for children to develop a deeper faith with God and Jesus and share devotions with others.
Mission - Our children support various ministries during the year with prayer and action; one of the favorites has been collecting items for Operation Christmas Child.
Vacation Bible School – Every Summer we participate in a community Bible school for ages pre-school to Grade 6. Children join in song, fellowship, Bible stories and enjoy a fun week of learning the Good News!
We meet following Sunday worship for coffee and fellowship. Families provide refreshments and visit during Kids in Christ children's time.
Food, Fellowship & Finding God – 5:30 P.M. Thursday – community fellowship followed by a light meal and worship service
Craft Circle - 5:30 P.M. Wednesday – group friendship time to work on a craft or any type of project (bring your sewing, art, quilting, writing)
Prayer & Share Time – 6:30 P.M. Wednesday - sharing joys and concerns of our church, community and world in prayer
Bible Study - 4:00 P.M. Thursday – Bible study lesson
Picture of the church from 1966
The earliest records relate that in 1858, just 3 years after the first train passed through what is now Chenoa; the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in the Anderson Schoolhouse by a local class leader, Christopher Hetherington, and the minister assigned by the conference was Rev. D Ackerman. Anderson School was located in the area that is now Crittenden Street.
In the fall of 1867, during the leadership of Rev. O.W. Aldrich building of a new church commenced. A frame structure, crowned by a steeple with a yellow globe, the cost was $4,000. Planks on boxes were used for seats until pews could be afforded.
Other denominations were being established causing a decrease in the Methodist congregation. In 1873, the Weston Methodist Church was built with an organized congregation of 50 members. This further decreased the Chenoa membership. Whole families had left the church, expenses kept mounting, the building needed repairs... The few remaining became disheartened. Meetings were held irregularly because of bad weather or impassable roads as most families came to church in lumber wagons. Finances were at their lowest ebb.
Such was the situation when Rev. Benjamin Applebee, an Ohio native came to serve. In November, two months after his pastorate began, creditors came and removed the organ, two stoves, lamps, and chandeliers, and sued for a year's house rent for the previous pastor.
But Rev. Applebee, strong in his faith and the Power of God, went to work restoring the spirit of the people, motivating them to help pay the debts, believe in the church's future and take heart. He redeemed and replaced the church furnishings. Rev. Applebee excelled as a revivalist and began, at once, to hold meetings both for the Methodists in Chenoa and Weston churches, and in union with the other denominations. The union meetings were held in the Ballinger school house located 4 miles northwest of Chenoa. Within three months, enthusiasm and interest began to build and Sunday School attendance doubled. There is little doubt that Rev. Applebee did indeed save the Chenoa United Methodist Church.
Plans to build a new church began during the Rev. James McCormick's pastorate in 1889 and were finally realized during the pastorate of Rev. R.L. Vivian (1894-97). At this time, Chenoa had a population of 2,500, 12 miles of well cared for board walks, and boasted three enterprises which employed help; the tile factory, a coal mine, and a canning factory.
After much deliberation, a site west of the city park was decided upon. This is the site of the current church. Rock for the foundation was brought from the Jordan stone quarry north of town and the corner stone was laid by Hugh Jones. The church was built at a cost of $8,000 by an El Paso contractor with the help of day laborers. The indebtedness was fully met. The bell from the old church was installed in the new steeple and is still in use. The dedication of the new church, held in August, 1897, lasted nearly a week and one thousand people attended.
Excerpt, Chenoa Clipper, August 27, 1897: "The church today is completed, the finest cathedral glass fills the windows, frescoing adorns the walls, two galleries provide for large audiences, sixty incandescent lights hung form the beautiful chandeliers dispel all gloom. The audience seats are roomy and comfortable. New pulpit and pulpit chairs grace the platform. Enthusiasm pervades the entire congregation. New workers have been added and the dawn of Methodist prosperity has awakened the peopled to greater effort and vigor for the coming day."
- from "The United Methodist Church of Chenoa, Illinois: Celebrating 200 Years of Methodism in America" by Irene Baltz
Since these early days, Chenoa has faithfully lived its mission. Through many ups and downs they carried on with great enthusiasm. In 2004, the church built a new entrance, kitchen and fellowship hall. The design and construction of this building project was done largely by church members and all the debt incurred in its building was paid by the end of 2006.
This new building clearly demonstrates the commitment the church continues to have to a vibrant, missional future.