first 100 years

In February 1886, two men from southern Illinois who had married sisters settled in Gering Valley. These men were R. M. Hanks and E. P. Cromer. It wasn't long before they wanted a bit of 'civilization' and thus started a Sunday School in the Cromer's home. Mr. Cromer was the first superintendent and Mrs. Hanks the secretary. When a school house was built in early 1887, the Sunday School moved there. In 1888, this Sunday School became the nucleus of a Methodist church when Rufus Cooley read the Methodist vows and the Cromers, the Hanks, and Mr. & Mrs. J.H. Vickery responded.

The church membership was 25 in 1890, G. P. Badgley was minister with a salary of $150 and $10 was given for missions. The first actual church building was built in 1892. The building was 24 feet by 40 feet and cost $1200. This building was on the southeast part of the current church property. By 1909 church membership had increased to 122 and the Sunday School attendance had tripled. It was decided to elevate the church building and excavate a full basement beneath. The structure was jacked up about four feet, but a strong wind came along and pretty much destroyed it. So a basement was dug and a whole new building erected.

In 1925 there was once again a need for more room, so an addition was built onto the south of that 2nd building. More space was needed by the late 1940's and ground was broken for a new sanctuary on April 9, 1952. This was the current sanctuary that was first used on November 25, 1954. The old church was left in place to use as Sunday School rooms until the upstairs was condemned by the Fire Marshall. And so the education wing was built and opened on April 17, 1964.

next 100 years

The church celebrated it's 100th Anniversary in 1988. In 2012, another addition was added to the building; this time an elevator.

In 2018, our church celebrated 130 years with an emphasis on serving God in the valley. Damage to the Fellowship Hall has created a new opportunity to showcase our history. The Fellowship Hall and basement kitchen were remodeled and features all 48 pastors of the church AND our pictures of each confirmation class. We are currently in Phase III of our remodel campaign. An electrical upgrade has already been completed and just before the Pandemic we remodeled (and paid for) our Fellowship Hall and basement Kitchen. Our plans have shifted due to an emphasis with on-line worship and we are currently enhancing this ministry. Future plans still include air conditioning and handicapped-accessible restrooms. Our focus continues to be on children ministries with a dedication to Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, evening activities for children and youth. In 2021, the church has 290 members and averages 70 during in-person worship and 130 on-line. Through all these years, the Gering United Methodist Church has, of course, been much more than a building. At the time of the 50th anniversary, E. P. Cromer, one of those founding members wrote: “So we forged onward and upward with an eye single to the Glory of God. Do not, dear reader, understand us to say that we were always in harmony with God and man. Far from it—in fact we stumbled and slipped so often that our final salvation will be entirely dependent upon the Grace of God.”