In 1858, a group of Southern Methodists, meeting in each other’s homes, began the Methodist Church of Olathe. In 1869, church members raised money to purchase property at the corner of Cherry and Loula streets where the Methodist Episcopal Church of Olathe was built. This white frame building was remodeled twice, in 1892 and 1907.
With continued growth, a new red brick structure was built on the same site and edicated on June 3, 1917. This building served the congregation and community well for many years. Harsh weather conditions over time damaged the walls and foundations and sections of the building were eventually condemned.
In 1958, the red brick church was sold and the church on Harrison Street was constructed. The building, housing the reconditioned organ from the old church, was dedicated on December 7, 1958.
On June 1, 1994, First United Methodist Church, which began in 1858, merged with Hope United Methodist Church, which began in 1988. The new church community became Grace United Methodist Church.
We moved into our current site at 11485 Ridgeview Road, Olathe, in the fall of 1999. Each week we have worship services, youth activities, children programming, as well as hosting a variety of events and groups.
Although we had originally intended to sell the building at 520 S. Harrison in Olathe, God had other plans. That building became the Center of Grace, our mission and outreach center. Since then, the Center has become its own non-profit 501c3 organization, offering a variety of programs for the community. They offer community dinners, a clothing closet, basic computer skills classes, distribution of hygiene items and medical equipment, and a community garden. Partnering with the Boys & Girls Club, the Center is able to offer before, after school, and summer programming for K-12 students. The Center has also partnered with Johnson County Community College to offer basic dental services, and English classes for adults, with preschool care for their children. Job training and employment opportunities were made possible with KC Scholars and the Workforce Partnership. In the Spring of 2022, we completed a $6 million addition and renovation project, which will allow us to continue serving our community for many years to come.
We have symbolically blended our past with our present by bringing several pieces from the Harrison building to our Ridgeview campus. The large metal and glass cross from the sanctuary on Harrison hangs in the main foyer. In one of our meeting rooms, you will see reframed stained glass windows from our former chapel. A long-time member had saved a piece of glass from the white frame church; this piece was used as a pattern to create the windows. Three other stained glass windows hang in our three-story foyer along with a fourth window, which is symbolic of the pioneer days. These pieces remind us of the rich history of our church and the beautiful spaces in which we have worshiped over more than 160 years as a congregation, while also giving us hope for the exciting future that is yet to come.