Who We Are
Our Values & Beliefs
We are a part of the United Methodist Church, which is a Protestant denomination founded by John and Charles Wesley, Philip Otterbein, Jacob Albright and others. Theologically, we are aligned with orthodox Christianity as it has come to us through the ages. We view our faith through the quadrilateral of scripture, tradition, reason and experience. We practice a generous orthodoxy, allowing for a variety of interpretations of our beliefs.
As United Methodists, we are Trinitarian in belief. We believe that God the Father is revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ and that the Holy Spirit continues to work in the church and in the world.
The Bible, both in the Hebrew scripture and the Second Testament, is the record of God’s people living out their faith. God is revealed to us in Holy Scripture.
As United Methodists we depend upon God’s grace. Grace is God’s love freely offered to us. That grace prepares us for new life in Christ (prevenient grace), calls us into that new life (justifying grace), and moves us toward perfection in love (sustaining grace).
One of the marks of United Methodism is our emphasis on love of God and neighbor. Social holiness is as important as personal holiness. As such, we are a mission and justice oriented people seeking to transform the world.
As United Methodists, our table is open to all. All are welcome to join us in worship. The communion table is open to everyone. Here at First United Methodist Church all means all.
The History of First Church
First United Methodist Church of Kenosha Wisconsin began in 1835 when Jonathan Pierce and Austin Kellogg landed in, what was then, Pike and asked where the nearest church was. When they were informed there wasn't one, Jonathan replied, "Well there is now." They organized the first class meeting in a log cabin on the shore of Lake Michigan and the First Church of Kenosha was born Methodist. Initially served by itinerant ministers, the mission point grew and evolved.
In 1840 a church was erected on the corner of Main Street and Park Avenue at the cost of $5000. Since its foundation, First Church outgrew 6 buildings and is currently in the 7th, begun just before the stock market crash of 1929. At the time it was built it was the largest sanctuary in the State of Wisconsin. When the economic crisis threatened to derail the completion of the building, 5 members mortgaged their homes to see the project through. It was a member of this church, Earl Merlatt, who wrote a hymn destined to be cherished throughout the world, "Are Ye Able Said the Master" and the Methodists of Kenosha answered "Yes, we are able!"
First Church is currently a 500 member church with one full time and 1 part time pastor, Sunday School for all ages, First United Day Care which serves 100 children, a seniors program, children’s and youth programming, four vocal choirs, three bell choirs, a praise band and a wind ensemble. First Church hosts a premier Fine Arts Program offering six concerts of world caliber musicians free of charge to the community.
First Church partners with Shalom Center and the Salvation Army to serve the needy in our community as well as projects for schools and missions throughout the world. First Church gives away over $75,000.00 per year to mission. First Church started a new congregation in the 1960's in Kenosha that became Wesley United Methodist Church and continues expanding ministry with other United Methodists throughout the city and state, as well as nationally and world-wide.