By Travis Moore
The quaint little town of Cuba has become known for its murals along “The Mother Road,” Historic US Route 66. From Civil War battles to the Gold Star Boys, Cuba has grown accustomed to celebrating significant historical events. 2007 marked Cuba’s 150th birthday. 2021 saw the iconic Peoples Bank celebrate 150 years of business. In 2022, The Cuba United Methodist Church joins the Sesquicentennial Club.
First meeting as an organized congregation in October of 1872, the Episcopal Methodists gathered near a grove of trees. Historical records indicate, the Grove was the original City Park on the property that is currently Cox Drive. During times of inclement weather, the new congregation would meet in someone’s home, or rent the newly built Presbyterian Church building.
The Methodist Episcopal church grew and purchased a building on the corner of Washington and Green Street in 1885. In 1928, the church purchased the home and lot between Smith and Hickory Street from the J.M. Wallace family and added a sanctuary onto the house. In 1934, Washington Street became US Route 66.
The church would thrive in this new location, adding many historical stained-glass windows, including the “War Window,” recognizing members of the church serving their country in World War II. The church building survives and is currently used as a special events venue known as the Wallace House.
Over the next 50 years, the church would outgrow the Wallace House and in 1980 constructed its current home at 903 Washington and expanded with a larger sanctuary in 1998. Great attention was paid to safely remove the historical windows, some of which date as early as 1886, and proudly ensured they were installed in the current sanctuary preserving the memorials. Although only the last two buildings have survived the weather of time, all three were located along the “Mother Road.” Cuba UMC has adopted the slogan “From the Grove to the Mother Road” as its sesquicentennial motto.
In honor of their proud history, Cuba United Methodist Church began a Blessing Ministry earlier this year, which provides household items to those in the community in need of assistance. Next to Cuba UMC and along the “Mother Road” there is a Blessing Box. Those in the community who need supplies may benefit from the generosity of the Cuba community. If you would like to assist CUBA UMC with their Blessing Ministry, please visit www.umccuba.org and click on the “Blessing Ministry” icon for donations.
On October 15 and 16, Cuba UMC will host a Homecoming Celebration in recognition of the first gathering in the grove in 1872. The weekend will begin with a fundraiser for the fledgling Blessing Ministry.
Festivities will begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 in the field to the west of the Methodist Church with a free music program featuring songs of the last century from Starlighter’s Swingin’ Big Band. At 6 p.m., the band will take a break for the fundraising portion of the program where bakers extraordinaire will offer up decadent desserts, including Joyce Stewart’s famous chocolate cream pie, and Jill Barnett’s luxurious lemon meringue pie as well as many other wonderfully crafted confections. Throughout the evening there will be items listed for silent auction featuring donations by local businesses and benevolent patrons. All funds will help support Cuba UMC’s Blessing Ministry. Starlighters will continue to provide music until 9 p.m.
In honor of the first Methodist Episcopal gathering in the Grove one hundred fifty years ago, Cuba UMC will continue the Homecoming Celebration with a tent worship service on Sunday, October 16 at 10 a.m., followed by a potluck dinner at high noon. If anyone knows a Methodist, you know they love potluck dinners! At the conclusion of the worship service, the Sesquicentennial Team will host tours of historical artifacts throughout the church.
Cuba United Methodist Church is proud to share in the rich history of Cuba and Route 66 and elated to become a member of the Sesquicentennial Club. Cuba UMC is proud to have served as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in the Cuba community for this previous hundred and fifty years. It is with even greater excitement as they look forward to serving with the grace and love of Christ while helping the community face the challenges ahead for the next 150 years.