Our Story


Rapid City First United Methodist Church began when Rev. Hugh M. Jones, a pioneer preacher, joined a few community members in 1877. They met weekly wherever they could to lift up the needs of God’s people. The church was established in April, 1881, with five charter members and a pastor, Rev. Ira Wakefield. The church met in Lewis Hall which stood near 614 Main Street. By August 1882, there were twenty-three members. The lot for the first Methodist Church in Rapid City was purchased September 27, 1882 from William S. Fanshaw for $5,000, at the site of the present-day Masonic Temple. The initial building also cost $5,000, and was dedicated February 12, 1885.
 
As the congregation outgrew that building, plans were made to replace it. In 1919, the lots at the present church site were purchased, and construction began, only to be stopped for nearly two years because of on-going difficulties. The building  cost was $81,325 and was dedicated Easter Sunday, 1922.
 
On August 18, 1957, a fire left the building all but destroyed, with only an auditorium floor and the brick shell remaining. The congregation was offered the use of State Theater by the A. J. Johnson family, where they would continue to meet for two years. The new building, built over the ruins of the 1920’s structure, was contracted in October 1958, and finished by 1960. 
 
In 1972 a devastating flood swept through Rapid City. Our church was one of the founding members of “Church Response” – an organization founded to give aide and relief in the days and weeks after the flood. Although it moved out of the church basement many years ago, this organization continues to serve those in need. In 2008 our church purchased and renovated a building across the parking lot from the church. The church opened the HOPE Center, a day center for those dealing with homelessness and other issues related to poverty. In order to secure additional grants and funding to provide sustainability into the future, the HOPE Center became its own non-profit agency.