Both campuses of The Grove United Methodist Church have a towering gathering of trees which have stood as sentinels across our centuries, from circuit rider services... to the original chicken suppers... to camp revivals... to 4th of July picnics... to family camping... to pig roasts... to summer Grove worship... to bonfires by teenagers... to preschool children playing in the leaves and running through sprinklers.
These groves speak to who we are as a faith community. Our church buildings in Woodbury and Cottage Grove help us create incredible ministry, but our name, The Grove, reminds us that Jesus' church extends beyond the walls of the building; it extends into all of creation. We truly are of the land, the community, and part of the natural world.
Established in 1853 by German immigrants, our founders faithfully risked everything to find a way of life in the wilderness. Facing epidemics, cold winters, and the struggle to clear forestland for farmland, the early German settlers worked to make their dreams a reality by planting this church. We continue the legacy of the founders by dreaming big.
The grove at the Woodbury Campus was the site of camp meetings and revivals, which gained momentum during the Second Great Awakening in American Christendom. In 1857, Woodbury held its first of many Camp meetings, which lasted at least a week at a time. It is said that the soil of the Grove is saturated with prayers from all the families who experienced Christ through camp revivals, and the trees' branches hold their hopes and dreams. We are motivated to live into a revival spirit, to expect transformation, and to witness lives changing.
Throughout the generations, our forebears insisted on preserving the trees, recognizing the incredible power of people coming together in nature to worship and build relationships. Our forebears left us instructions about maintaining, caring for, and replacing the trees. In historical documents, they remind us that our green spaces should be used for worship and picnics. We live into the spirit of those who went before us by preserving nature, creating relationships and praising God.
Like the trees, we are a gathered community, offering each other shelter, nourishment and sanctuary. As a church, we are deeply rooted and always growing. As faithful Christians, we produce fruit of the Spirit which spreads into our community to transform our world.