Reverend W.C. Williams was appointed to come to the Union County town of Afton in 1854, with the first class held in January 1855 in a private home. As membership grew, services relocated to the school house, then the old courthouse building, before the first permanent building was erected in the present-day church parking lot. In 1903, the present church facility was constructed.
Membership grew in the 1960s, when the local Presbyterian Evangelical Church disbanded. The church shares a pastor with congregations in nearby Lorimor and Arispe.
The United Methodist Church in the Union County town of Arispe can trace its history to the 1870s, when early services were held in a rural schoolhouse. In November 1897, a committee met at the home of Arispe resident G.W. DeLay to consider raising funds to construct a permanent church facility. Funds were raised quickly, and the $1,200 church was dedicated in October 1898. On April 1, 1915 the church was destroyed by fire, and services were temporarily held in the school building.
Plans for a new church were drawn up, and Lamoni-based Charles F. Church was hired as the architect. After much work by volunteer labor, the new church was finished just 8 months and 19 days after the first building was destroyed. In 1976, new siding and doors were installed, and a special service was held to commemorate the bi-centennial of the United States. Weekly services continue to be held in the church today; it shares a pastor with United Methodist churches in Afton and Lorimor.
July 1, 2007, marked the end of an era for residents of the Union County town of Shannon City. The local United Methodist Church held its last Sunday service that morning, after being a part of the community for 118 years. First services were held at a school house north of town before a permanent church facility was constructed in the summer of 1889. The building saw a number of upgrades through the years including the addition of a basement in the 1940s, exterior updates in the 1980s, and finally, changes to lower the sanctuary ceiling and remove stained glass to create a more comfortable environment.
In an article from the Creston News-Advertiser, church members recalled elaborate Easter pageants, the live Christmas nativity scene, and the annual fried chicken supper held each September. But, member Alice Ringberg summarized the challenges facing the church: “We couldn’t meet monthly expenses because of the declining congregation. People were getting older and passing away, [and] we just didn’t have many people on Sunday coming to worship.”
Though the United Methodist Church affiliation was discontinued in 2007, the well-maintained building now serves as the non-denominational Shannon City Community Church.
At one time, the now-tiny Union County town of Thayer was home to four churches: an Evangelical Church, Catholic Church, Christian Church and Methodist Church. Like many small towns in the state, Thayer saw residents, businesses, schools – and churches – close their doors. By the 1970s, only the Methodist Church remained.
The church building was moved to Thayer from a nearby settlement named West Union in 1900. A team of mules and horses hauled the building to its present location. A basement was later added, and the church served the community until 1995. By that time, membership numbered less than 20 and the church was discontinued. The building was given to the city and now serves as the Town Hall and Community Center for the 59 residents.
Catholic services were first held in 1875 in the Union County town of Afton, with the first church constructed four years later. Fire destroyed the building in 1921, and the present facility was completed in 1923. Another fire struck in 1951, though it was limited to the building’s interior, which was quickly repaired and redecorated. The church is served by the priest at Holy Spirit Parish in nearby Creston.