PARIS FIRST UMC
Where We've Been, Where We're Going
A living church is composed of people who join in a group as an organized body and who meet regularly in the worship of God. The first Methodists in Bourbon County were organized as the Mt. Gilead Methodist Society in the early 1790’s and met in a blue-ash log cabin three miles from Paris on the Millersburg Road. The present day Methodist Church in Paris was formally organized around 1807. For the first 10 years the preaching services were held in private homes. In 1817 a wooden structure was built on the property that is currently the parking lot next the current church. During this time the Paris congregation was a part of a large circuit with preaching only once or twice a month. That building was torn down and replaced with a brick building with a tall spire in 1860 that would hold 300 people. In the fall of 1863, the church was made a station church with a full-time minister for the first time.
In 1897 our present church building was completed on the corner where it now stands—Pleasant and Seventh Streets. When originally built, the structure had a corner tower build of wood and housed a church bell. The interior was antique oak. The foundation and walls were constructed of grey Rockcastle with blue Rockcastle stone trimmings. Beautiful stained glass windows were donated as memorials. This beautiful church was completed for $15,000 dollars and it was stated that “there was never an unkind word between members of the building committee during construction.” The congregation was growing and flourishing.
At 11:00 PM on Wednesday night, December 29, 1909, the church building was destroyed by fire. Firefighters across the city fought the fire in extreme sub-zero weather. The congregation rallied; willing hands and sacrificial hearts took up the task of rebuilding the church. However, during a planned expansion of the basement in 1930 to add Sunday School classrooms, it was discovered that the walls of the church were unsafe. The intense heat and freezing water from the 1909 fire had done immense damage. The Paris Methodists refused to fold despite the severe grip of the 1929 depression. With courageous hearts and a mighty faith, they spent two years essentially rebuilding the main sanctuary and classrooms.
Today our church continues to face trials and struggles. Our church structure requires constant maintenance and updating. The congregation continues with determination to grow and serve the Paris community. With over 200 years of history in this area, the church stands strong and its congregation faithful.