Francis Street First United Methodist Church is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, making it one of the city’s oldest institutions.

Virginia Chandler, 94, has been a member of the church all her life.

“Mother and daddy, they were both going down there. My dad was able to go when he wasn’t working, and my mother was a very prominent member that helped out this church a lot,” Chandler said.

Another lifetime member, David Lewis, recalls when Francis Street First, which was originally known as Francis Street, merged with First Methodist in 1995.

“They merged in 1995, and then it was recognized as one church by the council in June,” Lewis said.

Francis Street First United Methodist Church moved several times before settling at 110 N. 12th St., where it still stands today.

“The church had moved around several different places. It started (on) North Third Street and then just moved a bit and changed names. It’s always been Methodist, but it has changed names,” Chandler said.

She has memories of attending Sunday school at the church with her brother.

“It was up in the balcony right off from where the congregation is now and there were about five different Sunday rooms up there,” Chandler said.

Chandler also has fond memories of her time with the choir.

“I was in the choir for many years. We had a wonderful choir director,” Chandler said.

At 94 years old and being a member for all of her life, Chandler said her favorite part of being a member of Francis Street First is the friendships she has made.

“Knowing that you always have some true and loyal friends and someone you can count on,” Chandler said. “I have needed them because both of my parents passed away, and then my brother was killed at age 43 in the war, and then my husband passed. All of my memories are from there.”

For more information on the church’s 175th anniversary, call 816-279-7466 or email

Abby Trapp can be reached


Follow on Twitter at @NPNowTrapp.