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King Memorial UMC celebrates 68 years
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Members of King United Methodist Church have an unusual ministry: making stained glass windows. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

On Oct. 21, King United Methodist Church will hold for the first time, Fall Family Festival. Members of the community are invited to Sunday School, a brunch and a short worship service. There will be activities for kids and youth on that Sunday.
Regular church times are Sunday school at 9:30 a.m., fellowship time at 10:30 a.m., announcements at 10:50 a.m. and worship at 11 a.m.

The little yellow brick church is located at the corner of 16th and Odell in the heart of the Great Bend community, just south of the football stadium, and has always been one of the friendliest and family-like churches in town. A church where each person cares for the other. That’s how pastor Scott Tempero and members of his congregation describe King United Methodist Church, which is celebrating 68 years of ministry.
King UMC  was originally a United Brethren church, founded in a two-story white frame house in October 1944. Later the United Brethren and the Evangelical Brethren Church merged, and in November 1951 a new building was built and dedicated. The congregation named the church King Memorial Evangelical United Brethren Church, in honor of the Rev. Elmer King, who had served as their pastor for six years. In 1962, a new educational building was built and dedicated under the leadership of the Rev. E. Solomon. In 1968, the Evangelic United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church merged, forming the United Methodist Church, and the little yellow brick church’s name was changed to King Memorial United Methodist Church.
Through the years King Memorial United Methodist Church, along with the Pawnee Rock United Methodist Church and Albert United Methodist Church, formed the Triangle Parish. Later the Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church joined, forming the Four Point Parish. With the closing of the Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church in 1996, the Four Point Parish was dissolved and a few years later, the Albert United Methodist Church merged with King Memorial United Methodist Church, and once again, the name of the little yellow brick church changed, becoming, Great Bend King United Methodist Church.
Through the years Great Bend King United Methodist Church, has shrunk in membership, but they still remain active and dedicated to ministering in the community and abroad. In January, the church holds a Ham and Bean Dinner fundraiser that has helped to fund church camps and send children to camp, and the church’s pledge to the Bridges to the Future Capital Campaign Fund for the Kansas West Conference of the United Methodist Church. The church raises supplies to fill shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child; these boxes go overseas to children all around the world. The church also raises food, gifts, and a monetary gift for a needy family in the community, and raises supplies for the Family Crisis Center. Each year the church helps with the community chicken noodle soup supper for the Emergency Aid Council, and well as other events sponsored by the Great Bend Church Alliance Council. King UMC also sponsors a young girl in India through Child Fund International.
Each fall and spring the pastor hosts a video based Bible study, and on Christmas Eve, the church has a program at 5:30 p.m., comprised of carols, special numbers and a short message.
King UMC has a very active women’s organization that meets monthly, and plans activities such as Mother/Daughter Spring Fling, selling baked goods and crafts at the all church bazaars. The women fill the boxes for Operation Christmas Child, plan and serve courtesy dinners, as well as a reading program that challenges the women to read a number of books in a year.
Perhaps the most unique ministry of the church is the making of stained glass windows. Several church members spend a couple hours per week in the making of the windows. They collect various colors of stained glass and after an idea for a design is presented the designers make the windows. All but two windows on the main floor have stained glass built in the work shop. Families helped pay for the windows and many of the windows are dedicated in memory of a loved one. “We invite the public to come and see the windows,” Tempero said.