There has been a Methodist congregation in Delta since 1883. The current Delta United Methodist Church building was built in 1910 by Pastor J.A. Johnson, who served as general contractor.
The 1910 church building embodied the characteristics of ecclesiastical Tudor style. The building was a classical example of the “Akron plan”, which was a very popular plan for churches for a short period of time in the early 1900s and reflected the popular style of protestant worship during the turn of the century. The Tudor style was rare for the area around Delta, but the building materials were indigenous.
The church was constructed of bricks of clay obtained from the side of a mesa on the west edge of Delta, and Windgate sandstone quarried from Escalante Canyon fifteen miles north of Delta.
The Delta bricks manufactured by Delta Brick and Tile (no longer in operation) has a characteristic light color and have become collector items in Delta. The bricks were used in many private residences and buildings in Delta including the Middle School, the old Hellman building, the Post Office and the Armory. Windgate sandstone was also used in building the old Lincoln School and the Delta County Bank building (now the Chamber of Commerce).
The sanctuary portion of the church has three towers on the three corners (SW, SE and NE). The southeast tower is the bell tower and is taller than the other towers. The cornerstone of the first church building, which was on the same site, was placed in the wall to the right of the southeast buttress. It is marked "1891". The cornerstone of this building, marked "First M.E. Church A.D. 1910", is set within the southeast buttress.
The church interior was constructed to allow the audience to be closer to the corner chancel by its semi-circular seating arrangement which is placed diagonally across the building. The sloping floor allows for better viewing from the rear of the sanctuary.
The curved pews were made of oak with decoratively carved ends made by American Seating Company. The seating in the gallery included the older pews taken from the original church building. The bell in the belfry, made in 1895 by McShane Bell Foundry of Baltimore, was also from the original building.
The three large stained glass arched windows in the sanctuary are divided into sections by mullions. At the top middle are illustrations from famous paintings. The north window illustration is a stylized representation of the central portion of "The Transfiguration" by Raphael (Vatican Gallery) . On the east window is a copy of "Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane" by Heinrich Hoffman (Riverside Church, New York), and on the south window is a copy of "The Good Shepherd" by Bernhard Plockhorst (Syracuse Museum of Fine Art). The lower section of the windows contains stained glass with geometric and foliate designs that depict a cross and crown, an anchor, an open bible, and a crown. Similar windows on the east have depictions of an alpha and an omega, and of wheat and grape clusters on the south. The five windows in the bay below the east window are dedicated to the W.F.M.S. (Women's Foreign Mission Society) with a picture of grapes, the Epworth League (an historic youth group) with an Epworth League symbol, the Sunday School with a picture of a sower, the Junior League (an historic youth group) with a Junior League symbol, and W.H.M.S. (Women's Home Missionary Society) with a picture of wheat. Below the image on the large north window, in a small white square, is the name "J.A. Johnson, pastor 1910-1912."
In the front corner of the sanctuary there was an eighteen stop, eighteen rank Hinners Pipe organ installed in 1910. The organ of 1024 pipes had 57 speaker pipes and 11 ornamental pipes exposed. A Reuter console was installed in 1956.
Unfortunately, the Hinners organ was lost in the 1993 fire and was replaced by a 1930 vintage Kimball organ. The visible pipes and organ facade are patterned after the old organ so the appearance is nearly the same. Although loss of the old organ was tragic, the replacement is musically superior.
In November 1993, a devastating fire destroyed much of the historic building. The congregation, determined to remain a downtown church, voted to rebuild and improve on the historic building. Most of the original construction was restored after the fire. As mentioned above, the organ was replaced so that the appearance was nearly the same. The duplicated stained-glass windows are of the same Kokomo glass as the original and are copies of the famous paintings by Hofmann, Plockhorst and Raphael. The bell made by McShane Foundry of Baltimore in 1895, which was in the older church, remains in the belfry of the present church.
The imminent Springfield, Illinois architect, Samuel A. Bullard, of Bullard and Bullard, Architects designed the building on the Akron plan with a Victorian Tudor Style. Lamar Johnson of Gensler and Associates was the restoration architect.
Delta United Methodist Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on Feb 20, 1991 and was designated as Site No. 255 by the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History two years earlier.
Many have stood on these steps, to come together and give witness to the glory of God in Delta. Please join us so we can introduce ourselves and welcome you to our weekly services.
From 1883 to 2018, see a list of our: Pastor History