Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church
Saturday, August 24, 2019

Time Line for Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church

1888 - Organization - The 29th Session of Des Moines Annual Conference began September 12, 1888, at Crest, Iowa.  Rev. Samuel Alexander was appointed on September 16, 1888 to organize a Methodist Mission in the West End of Council Bluffs.
1888 - Overton Mission - Fourth Avenue Methodist Episcopal church services were held every Sabbath morning at the Overton's Mission and People's Church, corner of Fourth Avenue and Seventeenth Street.
1889 - Lots Purchased - The church purchased five lots (30' x 120') from H. J. & Ida F. Chambers for $1500.00, July 8, 1889.  Estimated cost of the church was $4000.00.  Plans were drawn by B. F. Price, well known Philadelphia architect.
1889 - Church Incorporation - Articles of Incorporation for Fifth Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church were filed May 8, 1889, and notarized November 30, 1889.
1889 - Membership - Fifth Avenue was composed of persons who were members of Broadway Methodist and others in the vicinity of Overton's Mission.
1889 - Cornerstone Laid - The Laying of the Cornerstone of Fifth Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church took place Tuesday, September 10, 1889.  Henry W. Warren, Bishop of the Des Moines Conference, delivered the address.  Contents of the cornerstone included:
  • Methodist Discipline
  • Copies of the Central Churchstone Advocate
  • The copy of the Churchstone Advocate showing the beginning of the organization and name of the building
  • Copies of the District Methodist
  • Copy of the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil
1890 - Dedication Service - The dedication for the new building was held 10:30 a.m., Sunday, February 16, 1890.  Bishop J. P. Newman of Omaha conducted the Dedicatory Ceremony.
1890 - Change of Pastors - Rev. Samuel Alexander resigned as pastor, March 1, 1890, in order to give full time to Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church.  Rev. George H. Bennet is appointed pastor of Fifth Avenue, March, 1890.
1898 - Parsonage Lot Purchased - In 1898 a lot directly north of the church was purchased by the Ladies Aid Society of the church to be used as a parsonage.
1904 - Church Remodeled - In 1904-1905 the church building was remodeled.  The high outside stairway was removed and stairs were placed inside an entryway, 1904-1905.
1912 - Parsonage Built - In 1912 a parsonage was built at 1616 Fifth Avenue at a cost of $4000.00.
1921 - Addition and Redecoration - The church underwent major renovations and addition in 1924-1925.  A groundbreaking was held September 22, 1924 and a Dedication Service for the remodeled church was held April 19,1925.  The  Rev. R. E. Harvey promoted improvements of approximately $25,000.00 during his four-year appointment (1921-1925).
1939 - 50th Anniversary Celebrated - Memories and history of Fifth Avenue by a long-time church member.
1939 - Methodist Church Reunification - In 1939 the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South reunited to become the Methodist Church.  The previous split occurred in 1844 over a dispute about slavery.
1959 - Educational Wing - Groundbreaking services for a new $75,000.00 Education Unit were held May 24, 1959.  The new wing was added to the north side of the existing church building.
1968 - Methodist Church Merger - In 1968 the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren to become the United Methodist Church.
1972 - Emergency Food Cupboard - An emergency Food Cupboard was established to minister to people who had fallen on rough times.
1975 - Property Purchased - Under Rev. Rick Dee's ministry (1974-1984) a total of 9 lots were purchased for church expansion and development.
1976 - Chairlift - A chairlift was installed inside the East entrance to the church.  The chairlift ran on a track mounted on a flight of stairs, enabling the disabled to attend worship services upstairs in the sanctuary.
1978 - Care and Share Ministry - The Emergency Food Cupboard was expanded into the Care and Share Ministry to provide food and clothing to those in need.
1979 - Parsonage Remodeled  - The parsonage underwent major remodeling and addition in 1979-1980.  Double garage, breezeway, family room, concrete drive were added.  Kitchen and utility room were remodeled.  New siding, shingles, wallpaper, carpet, and paint.  Approximate cost was $33,000.00.
1980 - Split in Church - In 1980, a group following the Pastor's assistant and representing about one fourth of the membership left to form a separate Charismatic/Pentecostal church.
1987 - Parking Lot - The first portion of graveled parking lot west of the church was completed in May, 1987.
1989 - Centennial Celebration - A Centennial Celebration was held May 21, 1989 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Fifth Avenue.  Former pastors of the church were invited to attend and/or send their remembrances of Fifth Avenue.  Those sending memories included:
      Former Pastors:
      Pastors Who Came Out of Fifth Avenue:
1990 - Stained Glass Windows - A new set of stained glass windows was dedicated May 27, 1990.  There are a total of 26 windows depicting The Life of Jesus.
2011 - Lift Installed - The old chairlift was torn out and a lift was installed inside the Fifth Avenue entrance to the building.  The lift has stops at the sanctuary level, the entrance level, and the basement, allowing the disabled to attend worship services upstairs in the sanctuary as well as functions in Fellowship Hall.
2012 - Care & Share House Added a Second Location - A second location was opened at 600 South Main.  The Care & Share House became a joint ministry of the United Methodist churches of Council Bluffs through the United Methodist Urban Ministries (UMUM).
2014 - Remodeling of the Front Foyer and Lower Hallways - Remodeling of the front foyer and lower hallways was started in 2013 and finished in 2014.  Three new
stained glass windows, complementing the set upstairs, were installed in the south hallway.
2014 - 125th Celebration - A Celebration was held June 22, 2014 to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of Fifth Avenue.  A certificate from the Iowa Bishop was presented by Rev. Melissa Drake, Field Outreach Minister for the Southwest Iowa District.
Click here to see a list of all the pastors who have served Fifth Avenue.