Methodist church closes out a century of history

Jun 12, 2024

While the church building at 391 Onset Avenue will be closing its doors, the congregation will not be closing its hearts.

St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, which began operations over a hundred years ago, will soon cease operations, as the congregation has begun the process of turning the building over to the Methodist conference.

“We just can’t afford to keep the church insurance and utilities going,” said Pastor Jim Schutter, who has served with the church for seventeen years.

Schutter said the congregation will continue to meet, though it may do so in people’s homes.

The church began as a mission church reaching out to the children of the community, said Schutter. Now, at the end of its life, he said he sees it as its mission fulfilled.

Members of the congregation gathered for a remembrance service on Sunday, June 9.

“We are all family, and it’s good to be together with family,” said Schutter, opening the service.

Peter Barbara, a member of the church’s choir, said, “I remember the Christmas plays that we used to have.”

Margaret Gomes, the oldest member of the congregation and the church’s treasurer for 59 years, said its members always gave freely when something needed to be done around the church, from sanding down the pews to making the altar to donating rugs, the American flag and the baptismal font.

“It’s a beacon for Onset,” she said, adding there is no other United Methodist church in Onset.

“When it comes down to it, the church is the people,” said Schutter. “We’re here to remember the people who’ve been here.”