West Granby United Methodist Church closes

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West Granby United Methodist Church has now closed. Submitted photo

The West Granby United Methodist Church closed on October 31, 2021, due to a variety of factors including the COVID pandemic reducing the number of members attending, roof issues, expensive electric heat, and financial constraints.

The church traces its history back almost to the beginnings of Methodism in this country. The Methodist Episcopal Church was formally born at the Christmas Conference at the Lovely Chapel in Baltimore in 1784. In 1799, two women walked over Broad Hill in West Granby to North Canton where a circuit rider was preaching. They convinced him to add West Granby to his circuit, which he did. The first services in the 1800s were held in a barn at the corner of Simsbury and Wilcox Road. In 1845, a new structure was built near the center of West Granby complete with a white exterior and a bell in the tower.

After having structural problems and water in the basement due to underground springs, it was decided to find a new setting and demolish the original building, however, the bell was preserved.

In the 1970s, through the generosity of Tudor and Laura Holcomb, the church was gifted with a parcel of land complete with a barn. Fortunately, with gifts from many church members and friends, a new structure was built at 87 Simsbury Road where it stands today. The bell from the former church was moved there. Both the bell and a picture of the 1845 structure have been donated to the Salmon Brook Historical Society as well as other items.

WGUMC members are so grateful for all the supporters from Granby and others who attended Chicken Pie Suppers, the Strawberry Festivals, Blueberry Pie Suppers and Tag Sales as a means of raising money for various charities throughout the years. Weddings, baptisms, and funerals have all been performed within those walls. Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Christmas Pageants, Easter Breakfasts, Cub Scout campouts in our back field, and various music concerts have all been a part of the events held there. The community is sad to see all these wonderful events left to history. Over the years the church has donated to the Heifer Project, Samaritan Christmas shoeboxes, UMCOR flood buckets, Granby Food Bank, Granby Fuel Bank, Farmington Valley VNA, Christian Children’s Fund, World Vision and many others.

Pastor Karen Cook, who also preaches at North Canton, invites those would like to continue worshipping to come to her Methodist church in North Canton. The church’s history started with a walk to North Canton to obtain a circuit rider minister and ends by returning the current minister to North Canton. The circle of church life is complete.