History of the
Milford United Methodist Church
The Milford United Methodist Church traces its roots back to the 18th and 19th century Methodist revival movement that surged across Europe and North America. In New England, as elsewhere, evangelists and mobilized laity fanned out across the countryside, stopping in cities and towns and preaching the Gospel wherever anyone would listen. In Milford, one author describes it this way:
"In the fall of 1852 Rev. S. Tupper & H. Moulton of the New England Conference directed by divine Providence, as we believe, came to Milford and proposed holding a series of meetings; a few warm and devoted Methodists, who had not lost their first love, responded and a series of meetings commenced and resulted in the conversion of some sinners and the revival of professed Christians...."
While these revival meetings only continued for the next few weeks, a core group of Methodist believers continued to meet together for prayer and fellowship throughout the fall and winter months of 1852. The Methodist Conference was unable to provide a permanent preacher for the congregation at this time, so several independent local preachers filled in as needed over the next several years. Some of these preachers were warmly received by the congregation for instance, Rev. J.W. Clough of the Methodist General Biblical Institute in Concord, NH (which would later become Boston University). Others were not so eagerly embraced during the pastorate of Rev. F. Furber, the believers were often disappointed, and they lost some of the influence they had previously gained.
On June 18th, 1853 the congregation formally organized as an official Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Two years later, they were able to raise an annual salary of $273.00 and persuade the New England Conference to appoint the Rev. J.C. Emerson as permanent preacher. It was not until 1877, however, that the congregation was able to find their first permanent meetinghouse. They purchased an old Baptist church building for $1,500 rededicated it on August 12th as the Methodist Episcopal Church of Milford.
Over the next several decades, the building would undergo significant renovations they added classrooms, replaced the windows and pews, redesigned the balcony in the sanctuary, and so on. Heat and running water were installed in 1920. In 1907, the church purchased a small house at the rear of the church property, which served as the church parsonage until the 1980s. In 1982, a new parsonage was purchased, while the former building was transformed into classroom and office space.
The various ministries of the church have a lengthy history as well. The Church School charter was officially adopted in September of 1855, and has continued ever since to provide high quality Christian Education to all ages. Similarly, the music ministry reaches out to a wide range of ages and interests, and continually garners significant donations of talent and resources For instance, the Ladies Aid Society donated a reed organ to the church in 1906, while more recent gifts have provided for everything from hand bells to state-of-the-art digital recording equipment. And the Milford United Methodist Church has longstanding relationships with a variety of missions organizations such as Church World Service, the Greater Nashua Interfaith Hospitality Network, and Stephen Ministries.
In August of 2006 the Milford United Methodist Church moved into its current location on North River Road. Situated in a brand new facility, the congregation entered into an era of near-unprecedented growth and prominence in the community, which has enabled its ministry to expand throughout Milford and around the world.
MUMC has continued to seek ways to be Christ’s hands and feet in its new home on North River road.
After moving to this location in 2006, so much has happened.
In 2005, the great disaster Hurricane Katrina hit the city of New Orleans. Several folks from our church felt the effects of flooding here in Milford during April of that year. In 2007, certainly inspired by their own struggles after flooding, MUMC sent its first adult mission team away to lend a hand with the rebuild in the “Big Easy”. About 25 people travelled with this team and we sent 3 more teams there in the next 3 years. The adult mission team now does mission work here at home in Milford and in far northern Maine through Down East Maine Missions.
Down East Maine Missions program locates needed projects and organizes volunteers to provide essential services to the homes of those who are less fortunate such as roof repairs, wheelchair ramps, decks, painting, etc.
Milford UMC has a long and strong history of introducing our youth to mission work as well. Since 2007, we have sent the youth mission team to places like Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and in 2018, we sent about 17 youth to Houston Texas to assist with clean up after hurricane Harvey. These youth are also involved in doing local work as it is identified by their leader or the adult mission team.
The beauty of a new and big building is that it has allowed many special events and helped us reach out to many neighbors in the Milford area. One of the first things was a free Thanksgiving dinner. We served 90 people in 2006, 80 and 70 the next 2 years respectively. The church hosted the Milford area Seniors until that group found a new home at the Town Hall. We have held divorce support groups and an Afternoon Off program that allowed those caring for folks with Alzheimer's and dementia a day of respite. We held 2 tent revivals, hosted tent cities, walked in Crop Walks for Hunger, and supported Share, the Anne Marie House and many other local and world organizations with donations from our members and friends and through church fundraisers like the “Wicked Awesome Yaard Sales” and Christmas Craft fairs. In 2016 we hosted a 2 day music festival, “Hopefest”, to bring awareness to the good works of Habitat for Humanity. This kind of work inspires us. We will continue to find ways to be a blessing to our community.
Within 2 years of moving in we had a new stained glass window. This window was purchased solely with generous gifts from persons who wanted the church to have one. It is a beautiful focal point in our sanctuary.
In May of 2017, MUMC became a reconciling United Methodist Church. This decision to accept our LGBTQ sisters and brothers as equals had its challenges but the congregation sees this decision as a true blessing in our ability to see and love all of God’s children.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge to all the” hands and feet” mission work but in June of 2021,after vaccinations and testing, our youth team, made its way, by school bus, to Westfield, Indiana.
In 2020 the Christmas fair went virtual due to the pandemic and although the profit we us for our mission work was far less, the joy on the faces of those picking up their purchases was a solid sign of the normalcy the virtual shop had to the local and church fair goers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has, and continues to have an impact on all church life as we knew it. MC has a significant virtual presence now and will likely continue to have that presence into the future. It is amazing how versatile we can be when we feel the need to reach out and care for one another, when we are determined to be the church.
As a way to stay more connected during the pandemic, MUMC host many “Parking Lot Love Feast” as a way to take communion together and gather outside with music and worship. These feasts were held once a month.
MUMC continues to create a wonderful history for its members and friends and we strive to help all people discover the joy of knowing and serving Jesus Christ. As we work on updates to our history over that next years, we will continue to look to be God with skin on. You can find us right here, looking for ways to DISCOVER THE JOY!