Ebbert Memorial celebrates 150 years of ministry


  by June Fothergill

In 1868, the first pastor came to serve the Methodists in Springfield, Oregon.  So there has been a ministry of the United Methodist Church in Springfield for 150 years.  This congregation today known as Ebbert Memorial United Methodist Church has been celebrating this anniversary in a variety of ways. 

One of the ways the church will continue this celebration is with a Music Sunday this week (June 10) featuring the Ebbert Choir, Brass Ensemble and a featured soloist. 

Over the last year, the anniversary celebration has involved collecting and telling stories of the people who have been involved in the church over the years.  The church is honoring long time members, has set up a story corps space for recording memories and invited folks to share their Ebbert stories in worship and on a timeline in the fellowship area.  One visitor who struggles with finding housing discovered a picture of her great grandma on the time line.  She now thinks of Ebbert as her church, too.   

The second emphasis on this yearlong celebration has been outreach to the community.  During lent parishioners provided food boxes to local Head Start families.  In the Easter season the congregation sent cards to nursing home residents, persons in the local jail, and thank you notes to first responders and nurses.  They currently are filling UMCOR flood buckets.

In April and May In collaboration with the Lane Arts Council, Springfield Rotary Club and local high school art students they painted a mural for the back of the church’s education wing.  The mural was under the artistic direction of muralist Esteban Comacho Steffensen.   The mural was designed by the artist and a team of folks from the church and the schools.  It portrays the history and ministry of the congregation.   One of the important ministries of the church today is a meals ministry which offers free meals to the community five days a week. The whole community was invited to a Mural Dedication and Celebration at the end of May. 

The outreach and storytelling themes of this 150th year at Ebbert came together on June 3 with a  History Tour and Picnic.  Around 50 people piled into hay wagons and toured the sites where the congregation met in its first 50 years.  This ride was accompanied by skits and readings telling the story of each site.   Friends from the First Baptist Church of Springfield also join in the tour because they began several years before the Methodists and the two congregations shared a building for ten years in the early days.  After the tour everyone enjoyed a BBQ picnic which included some of the church’s unhoused neighbors.

The congregation continues to plan outreach and storytelling opportunities to celebrate 150 years of ministry in Springfield and beyond.  Anyone who has a story about the ministry of Ebbert UMC and would like to share or if you’d like information about future events contact Rev. June Fothergill, juneafothergill@gmail.com or the church office at ebbert2@comcast.net.