Church History

A town founded and named Little St. Louis in 1869 was changed to Louisburg, Kansas in 1871.  Methodist Church services were first held in a one room school building in southeast Louisburg located at 307 S. Elm St. They met there until 1873 when they decided to organize and build a church. On August 15, 1873, Farlow Reed, W.H. Finch, and J.P. Evertt, the first trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church,  purchased lots 1 & 2 in block 38, for the sum of $1.00 from Charles and Maggie Sims. It was agreed that a church would be built and continued for ten years in that part of Louisburg on the north east quarter of section 31, situated in Miami County, Kansas.  A church was immediately built and dedicated as The Methodist Episcopal Church. The church remained at this location, now 2 S. Mulberry St., for 100 years and  has always been painted white.

The Original 1873 Church Building

The original Methodist Episcopal Church was a frame construction about 36x40 feet.  It fronted east having a steeple and belfry with bell, located on the roof directly above double center front entrance doors.  Windows were on the north and south sides.  A rear door was on the southwest corner.  The interior plastered walls above wainscoting were papered.  The church was lit by kerosene lamps placed in brackets mounted on the walls.  The heating system was a jacketed coal stove vented by a flue in the chimney above and behind the chancel.  The chancel presented itself to the pews facing west.  The original church contained only the present sanctuary.  It was built and completed for $1,000.  Hitching racks were across the street southeast of the church.  Under the first pastorate of Rev. L.H. Morley in 1873, there was a membership of 187.

It is believed T.P. Lewis, Owen Whitader, Sam Ring, Sr, G.W. Hand, J.P. Everett, Farlow Reed, Sr., W. H. Finch, George Casebeer, and Jim Reed were among those who may have contributed both labor and money to build this first church.

Our Pastors - Past and Present
Our Pastors for the last 150 years

Rev. Kathy Symes - 2023 - present             Rev. Gail Garst & Rev Neil Heidrick -1946-47 
Rev. Kathleen Whitmore 2023                   Rev. Arlington Crossman - 1944 - 1946
Rev. Shane Britt 2022 - 2023                  Rev. E. J. Gardner - 1941 - 1944
Rev. Brad Wheeler 2016 - 2022                 Rev. E. W. Spencer - 1938 - 1941
Rev. Robert Walters 2014 - 2016               Rev. Harry E. Crane - 1936 - 1938
Rev. Donna Voteau 2004 - 2014                 Rev. E. Ryder - 1933 - 1936
Rev. Dennis Matthews 2001 - 2004              Rev. B. A. Silverthorn - 1932 - 1933
Rev. Kevin Williams 1999 - 2001               Rev. A. S. Asling - 1928 - 1932
Rev. Harriet Bechtle 1997 - 1999              Rev. A. J. Cutrell - 1924 - 1928
Rev. Lane and Colleen Bailey 1986 -1997       Rev. L. K. Rupert - 1923 - 1924
Rev. John Painter 1985 - 1986                 Rev. A. W. Houts - 1919 - 1923
Rev. Roger Noah 1983 - 1985                   Rev. E.W. McDonald - 1918 - 1919
Rev. George Chase 1979 - 1983                 Rev. O. R. Mitchell - 1917 - 1918
Rev. Winnie Menson 1978-1979                  Rev. M. R. Molesworth - 1915 - 1917
Rev. Gale Mack 1977 - 1978                    Rev. Charles F. Johnson - 1912 - 1915
Rev. John Hall 1974 - 1977                    Rev. E. G. Coons - 1906 - 1912
Rev. Earl Detwiler 1970 - 1974                Rev. M. E. Spahr - 1902 - 1906
Rev. Noah Arnpriester 1967 - 1970             Rev. G. J. Gilham - 1900 - 1902
Rev. Jerry Howard 1965 - 1967                 Rev. W. T. White - 1898 - 1900
Rev Haward Crandall 1963 - 1965               Rev. A. Cullison - 1896 - 1898
Rev. Harold Peters 1963                       Rev. C. W. Bailey - 1893 - 1896
Rev. Robert Harvey 1960 - 1963                Rev. S. A. Day - 1889 - 1893
Rev Arthur Harms 1959 - 1960                  Rev. L. M Rhodes - 1887 - 1889
Rev. Wilbur Purvis 1957 - 1959                Rev. A. Marey - 1886 - 1887
Rev. Charles I. Coldsmith 1954 - 1957         Rev. James Murray - 1883 - 1886
Rev. Clyde Martin 1952 - 1954                 Rev. H. K. Muth - 1880 - 1883
Rev. John Pfister 1951 - 1952                 Rev. A. S. Freed - 1878 - 1880
Deane Postlethwaite 1950 -1951                Rev. J. R. Wright - 1877 - 1878
Dr. George Schreyer 1950                      Rev. G. Breen - 1876 - 1877
Rev. Harry Kirk 1948 - 1950                   Rev. J. B. Siess - 1874 - 1876
Rev. Neil Heidrick 1947 - 1948                Rev. L. H. Morley - 1873 - 1874

Louisburg United Methodist Church is a modern church with a historic past.  The Methodist Church in Miami County started as a mission for the Pottawatomie Indians in 1837 just east of the present city of Osawatomie.  The mission was closed when the Pottawatomie moved to new land northwest of Topeka.

In 1854, Reverend W. H. Goode came to Kansas to select locations for the stationing of ministers for the Methodist Church.  One site was the Marias des Cygne Mission, later to be known as Osawatomie.  Early pastors would ride a "circuit" on horseback from place to place.

As the county grew, additional churches would be added.  The Louisburg Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1873. Settlers were moving into the area and established a small church on highway 68.

In the early and mid-1900's, the church building and the congregation would grow and the building at 2 S Mulberry would become the Louisburg Methodist Episcopal Church.  In 1939, the "Methodist Episcopal Church," the "Methodist Episcopal Church, South," and the "Methodist Protestant Church" denominations merged to become The Methodist Church.  The congregagtion was then known as Louisburg Methodist Church.  On April 23, 1968, The Methodist Church merged with the United Brethren Church to create The United Methodist Church, so the church's name is now Louisburg United Methodist Church.

Under the leadership of Rev. Donna Voteau, the congregation constructed a new church building where it stands today at 249 N Metcalf.  Pastor Donna and the brave lay leadership led a faithful congregation into a new age and today their vision of a future with hope continues to draw new people to faith and discipleship.

The old church building on 68 Highway was sold and became The Agape Center, housing a thrift store which benefits the adult individuals living in group homes in our area.  From that point forward, the building where we stand today would be labeled "Currently" a United Methodist Church, indicating its varied history and service to the community. Over the next few years, the church has continued to grow in numbers in its new location.  Today, Louisburg UMC is a vibrant, vital church with over 280 members and lots of additional visitors as well.

In the new church, structural pieces of history, such as these old stained glass windows, came along to the new location.  Old offering baskets and a small amount of memorabilia would make the journey as well.

Our current Lead Pastor is Rev. Kathy Symes.  Pastor Kathy is a second career pastor who entered into full time ministry in 2001. She completed the Saint Paul School of Theology Course of Study school in 2008. Kathy’s passion is taking the church outside the building and working towards making the church an open and inclusive place for all of God’s Children.
She and her spouse, Kevin, raised three boys and are now enjoying watching their two young grandchildren grow up. Her hobbies include time with her family, time with her dogs, baking, and any time she can escape to the beach. Kathy is also an avid walker so you may just see her out walking in the early mornings!

Are you looking for a place to explore your faith that has the old, small church charm but yet also goes after dynamic, modern ministry?  Join us at Louisburg United Methodist Church--a church that celebrates the history as well as dynamic, up-to-date ministry of today!!