Brookfield United Methodist Church, 6951 Grove St., Brookfield, will celebrate its 175th anniversary Oct. 14. A continental breakfast will be at 9 a.m. in fellowship hall, where a historical display will show past newspaper articles, pictures, maps and documents. A written history of the church has been prepared. A special worship service at 10:45 will include with former church member, the Rev. Kenneth Chalker, giving the message. Rev. Mr. Chalker is senior pastor of University Circle United Methodist Church in Cleveland. At noon, there will be a tureen dinner and socializing. No reservations are required.
The beginning: In 1836, the Erie Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church sent the Rev. Stephen Hubbard and two assistants, A. Reeves and Wareham French, to the Hartford Circuit. Brookfield Methodist Episcopal Church was established in 1837. Church trustees bought a public lot in the southeast corner of the Village Green from Samuel Hinckley, the original owner of Brookfield Township. A frame building stood on the lot. It is unclear if this church was dismantled or destroyed by fire some time after 1860.
Second site: A larger church was built around 1865 on the west side of the green. On Jan. 28, 1928, the furnace overheated and the church caught fire and burned down. On Oct. 13, 1929, the cornerstone was laid and the third and current church, on the east side of the green, was renamed the Wheeler Methodist Church in memory of Wayne B. Wheeler, nationally known attorney for the Anti-Saloon League, who was born in Brookfield and was instrumental in the passing of the Eighteenth Amendment. Services were in the Sunday School room because the sanctuary could not be completed for another 12 years because of the Depression. Stained-glass windows were added as memorial gifts in 1943.
Renovations: A fellowship hall/education wing was built in 1965 and the church was renovated. When the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren churches merged in 1968, the church changed its name to Brookfield United Methodist Church. The church has undergone extensive renovations including paving its parking lot, adding energy efficient windows and air conditioning to the fellowship hall and restoring the stained-glass windows framing.
Stained-glass windows: The chancel window design features cup and crown of thorns to symbolize Gethsemane; rising sun, the Resurrection; cross and crown of thorns, the crucifixion; and grapes, chalice and wheat, the Last Supper. Colors symbolize red, divine love; blue, truth and constantcy; white, purity; and green, life. There are 12 side stained-glass windows. A dedication was April 11, 1943.
Source: Church history records