CROOKSVILLE — Excitement is growing at Iliff United Methodist Church! For nearly a year, this little country church has made plans for the celebration of its Bicentennial (1819-2019).
On Oct. 13, the final and official celebration will take place with a worship service at 10 a.m. Bishop Gregory Palmer of the West Ohio Conference of United Methodist Church will be the guest speaker.
Church memorabilia will be on display, along with historical documents and charts. A luncheon prepared by ladies of the church will follow the service. The church celebrated earlier this year with a Kid’s Day in June and a Biker’s Service in August.
The church is located on land given by Thomas Iliff. Their oldest son, John Wesley Iliff was baptized and raised in this little church. In 1859, John moved to Denver, and used the wisdom he had acquired as a farm boy in McLuney to become the largest cattle rancher in the new state. Today he is known in Colorado state history as “The Cattle King of the Plains.”
But John Wesley Iliff’s real dream was to establish a Methodist training school for pastors — the faith he was taught as a boy at this church. Upon his death resources from his huge estate established the Iliff School of Theology, which is now one of 13 United Methodist Seminaries. The school’s campus sits adjacent to the University of Denver.
The original church burned and in 1847 and the present building was constructed. In 1897, the Iliff family deeded all grounds and the Iliff cemetery to the Iliff Church. Many improvements were made over the years, such as installation of decorative steel plates on the walls and ceilings; a hand dug basement to allow for an updated kitchen, a two-story addition with classrooms, office and additional class room space.
Continuous worship service have taken place at the Iliff Church since 1819 starting with Circuit Rider preachers and remaining to the present day with pastors supplied by the United Methodist Church.
The Iliff UM Church is located at 3992 Flint Ridge Road, Crooksville (behind the school). Pastor of the church, the Rev. Greg inboden and his wife Mindi, encourages the public to attend the bicentennial celebration.