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A circuit-riding preacher helped a group of 15 worshippers in Jamestown to form a German Methodist congregation 175 years ago.

The denominational affiliation and the physical location have changed, but many of the family names remain the same at Grace United Methodist Church.

A congregation of about three dozen on any given Sunday, they will celebrate the anniversary Aug. 12.

The Rev. Mi Hyeon Lee, recently appointed district superintendent of the Mid-State District of the Missouri Conference, will preach at the 9:45 a.m. worship service.

Historic documents, photos and a collection of German Methodist hymnals will be on display.

A community dinner will be served at noon at the Jamestown Community Center, 130 E. Row St.

At 2 p.m., former Jamestown school teacher Sam Lucas will return from Clinton United Methodist Church to perform on the church's 1901 Hinners and Albertsen pipe organ, restored in 1978.

Folks who have a connection with Grace United Methodist Church are encouraged to attend or to send greetings to Grace UMC, P.O. Box 266, Jamestown, Mo., 65046-0266.

William and Charles Bodamer donated ground for the church's first building, a rough, two-room log structure used as both parsonage and worship center.

The first church built in Jamestown, under pastor John Dewein, was constructed in 1868 on land donated by Nicholas Less.

The building was removed in 1891 and replaced with the present building under pastor Frank Brinkmeier.

A room was added on the west side and a basement in 1927.

At that same time, the congregation became Grace Methodist Episcopal Church of Jamestown. It became affiliated with the United Methodist Church in 1968.

In the 1930s, more than 100 gathered there on a Sunday morning. The church was the largest in Jamestown during the mid-century.

The rural church sent Ida Klingeberger as a missionary to India for 44 years. Her nephew, Paul Wilbur Schlapbach, became a United Methodist minister and assistant to the Missouri East Conference bishop.

The congregation joined with Prairie Home Methodist in 1966 as a two-circuit congregation, then Splice Creek Methodist joined in 1967.

The church building boasts a high-quality bell donated by Charles and William Bodamer, which Katie Less, who attended weekly without fail for 89 years, was remembered for ringing each Sunday for decades.

It also features the restored pipe organ, powered by youth from 1901-38 before an electric-powered blower was added. And the stained-glass windows were installed in 1951.

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