February Calendar

February 3: Men’s Breakfast, 6:00 am

February 4: Worship Service at White Hall Nursing Home, 2:00 pm

February 5: Bible Study, 7:00 pm. (At Greenfield Grace Church)

February 6: Women’s Bible Study, 1:15 pm

February 6: Church Council, 7:00 pm

February 7: Rockbridge Kids, 4:00 pm

February 11: Super Bowl Collection of soup and crackers

February 12: Bible Study, 7:00 pm (at Greenfield Grace Church)

February 13: Women’s Bible Study, 1:15 pm

February 14: Ash Wednesday Service, 7:00 pm. (At Greenfield Grace Church)

February 17: Men’s Breakfast, 6:00 am

February 19: Lenten Bible Study, 7:00 pm (Rockbridge)

February 20: Women’s Bible Study, 1:15 pm

February 21: Rockbridge Kids, 4:00 pm

February 21: Family Night, 6:30 pm

February 26: Lenten Bible Study, 7:00 pm (At Greenfield Grace Church)

February 27: Women’s Bible Study, 1:15 pm

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

I hear that the Rockbridge United Methodist Church is now a Global Methodist Church. How did that happen?

The United Methodist Church denomination provided a way – for a limited time – to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church. This process included a period of prayerful discernment, several meetings with the congregation and the United Methodist Conference. It required a vote of the congregation and of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference to approve the disaffiliation. The conference vote—essentially the final step – was held on Saturday, May 6, 2023. As of the conclusion of that meeting, the Rockbridge church was disaffiliated from the United Methodist denomination.

Has the Rockbridge United Methodist Church always been United Methodist?

No. The church began in 1887 as the Methodist Episcopal Church. (This name is still in the stained-glass window above the front doors!) It was the Methodist Episcopal Church, or many times referred to as the M.E. Church, until 1939 when it simply became the Methodist Church. In 1968, the Methodist denomination merged with another denomination known as the Evangelical United Brethren Church. It’s at that time that the church in Rockbridge became the United Methodist Church. After the vote to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church, the congregation has voted to align with the Global Methodist Church.

Why did the church want to disaffiliate from the United Methodist denomination?

The United Methodist Church has been on a progressive, liberal trajectory in terms of its leadership and practice. In addition, the denomination has failed to uphold its own standards of belief and doctrines. An example is that pastors in the United Methodist Church are not allowed to perform same-sex weddings, yet there are pastors and even bishops who have done this – many without repercussions.  Indications are that this progressive trajectory will continue in the foreseeable future.

Will the name of the church in Rockbridge be changed?

During this transition period, we are the Rockbridge Methodist Church. (That’s what most people call us anyway!) We will decide later if this is the name we will ultimately use.

Will Rev. Kevin Hembrough continue as pastor of the church?

Yes. Rev. Hembrough has also transferred his credentials to the Global Methodist Church and will continue as pastor.

How long has the Global Methodist denomination been in existence?

The Global Methodist Church began on May 1, 2022. It now has over 2000 congregations and growing every day. Most of these churches are former United Methodist Churches.

What are the advantages of being in the Global Methodist denomination?

One of the most significant differences relates to property. Throughout the history of the Methodist denomination (as outlined above), there has been attached to property deeds what is known as the trust clause. It states that all the property of the local church is held “in trust” for the denomination. Even though local people pay for the building, etc., the denomination has ultimate control over it. Permission to buy or sell property must be approved by the appropriate body in the denomination. In the Global Methodist Church, there is no trust clause. Part of the disaffiliation process included the releasing of the trust clause and deeds changed to reflect local church control and ownership.

Another advantage is that in the Global Methodist Church, the local church has more input as to who is appointed as pastor of the church. In the past, there often has been no input on the appointment of a pastor.

And yet another advantage is that the amount of money that is required from each church for denomination expenses and ministries is a fraction of what it was in the United Methodist Church. This allows for more resources to invest in local ministries and serving this community.

The Global Methodist Church adheres to the historic tenants of the Christian faith as found in the Bible and the Apostles’ Creed.

What is the mission of the Global Methodist Church?

From the Global Methodist Church website:  Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ who worship passionately, love extravagantly, and witness boldly.

For further information about the Global Methodist Church:  www.globalmethodist.org

What are the website and social media links for the Rockbridge Church?

Website:  www.rockbridgemethodist.church

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/rockbridgeilmc

Press Release — Rockbridge Methodist Church

The Rockbridge Methodist Church has disaffiliated from The United Methodist Church denomination and has joined the Global Methodist Church, a new Methodist denomination.

The Board of Trustees of the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church reached a financial and property settlement with the former Rockbridge United Methodist Church, Rockbridge, IL. This settlement was ratified by the Annual Conference on May 6, 2023. The Rockbridge church was organized in 1887 and is located in Greene County in the Conference’s LaMoine River District. The former United Methodist members worshiping there have organized a new congregation known as the Methodist Church of Rockbridge, Inc. and have now affiliated with the Global Methodist Church.

Under the terms of the settlement, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference will relinquish its interest in the local church’s real estate located in Rockbridge, IL.

The Conference has received an undisclosed payment that includes the church’s share of pension obligations for former United Methodist clergy who had previously served the church, as well as apportionment obligations as required by paragraph 2553 of The Book of Discipline.

Bishop Frank Beard said, “In an effort to honor Christ, we were able to sit down, discuss our differences, and recognize that we were on two different paths. To conclude in the best interest of all, a peaceful separation was warranted.” Bishop Beard serves ads the episcopal leader of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church. “We were able to demonstrate effective Christian conferencing. I believe we, even in separating, have honored Jesus Christ.”

The Methodist Church of Rockbridge, Inc. will remove all references to the United Methodist Church from its property, including the “Cross and Flame” logo. The Conference has released the assets from The United Methodist Church Trust Clause.

Building Timeline

  • Early 1870s:  Small group of Methodists began holding  worship services in the Rockbridge  School House
  • 1887: An abandoned Methodist Episcopal Church known as Akers Chapel which stood halfway between Rockbridge and Carrollton was given to Rockbridge by the  Illinois Conference. The building was wrecked and the material hauled to the present location by the members and work  began on the new building. This building served as the church home from 1887 to 1926.  (a window from the 1887 building hangs in the sanctuary today)
  • 1925:  Late in 1925,  a group of dedicated members met to  discuss the possibility of  a new building. The building committee (P.C. Holnback, Reid Tendick, D.G. Scandrett, Mrs. Laura Tunnell, T.M. Meek, Roy Farrelly, H.S. Tendick, and S. H. Frazier) along with the local contractor,  C.H. Crane, planned the new building to be built on the same site.
  • 1926: The last service in the old building was held on May 30, 1926. The following day, demolition of the old building  began.
  • 1927:  The new church (present church) was dedicated–debt free– on May 22, 1927. Bishop Edwin Holt Hughes of the Illinois Area preached the dedication service.  [see post below which includes excerpts from the Illinois Conference Journals about Rockbridge Church and this building process!]

Photo Gallery

From Illinois Conference Journals

From the 1925 Illinois Conference Journal

1925 Journal

From the 1926  Illinois Conference Journal

1926 Journal

From the 1927 Illinois Conference Journal

1927 Journal

1927 Journal

 

Joshua Soule Akers

An interesting discovery in the long list of pastors who have served the Rockbridge Methodist Church is the pastor who was appointed in 1903.

His name was Joshua Soule Akers. He was the son of Peter Akers, the first President of McKendree College (now McKendree University). He was named after another early Methodist Bishop: Joshua Soule.

He is buried in the Diamond Grove Cemetery in Jacksonville, Illinois.

 

The Old Jacksonville District

Until the merger of the old Central Illinois Conference and the old Southern Illinois Conference in the mid 1990s, the Rockbridge Church was a part of the old Jacksonville District. A fun fact about this is that the Rockbridge Church was the southernmost church  in the Central Illinois Conference (Medora Church  was located in the Southern Illinois Conference.)

In the 1924 Conference Journal, the report from the Jacksonville District Superintendent listed the historical significance of the district. He identified three personalities associated with this area:  Peter Cartwright, Peter Akers, and Abraham Lincoln.  Here’s the page from the journal:

Stained Glass WIndows

One of the hallmarks of the Rockbridge United Methodist Church is the  beautiful stained glass windows throughout the upper level. Some of these windows were in the original building; others were added when the present building was constructed.

All of the windows are amazing, but there is at least one that embodies some  Methodist history. From 1889 to  1939, the youth organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church was known as the Epworth League. Epworth is a town in England where John and Charles Wesley were born. A window in the church harkens back to the Epworth League.

In includes the symbol of the Epworth League: the Maltese Cross. On the cross is the motto: Look Up. Lift Up. At the bottom of the window is a portion of the Benediction used by the Epworth League (and the Methodist Youth Fellowship–MYF): “The Lord Bless Thee and Keep Thee” (from Numbers 6:24-26).