Our History

By the time of the American Civil War Methodism had become a popular and widespread denomination in the U.S. In eastern Kentucky, Methodists established their first faith community in the town of Grayson in 1854 and built the first church here in 1861, not far from the Courthouse.

No sooner was the church built than the Civil War broke out and the building was quickly occupied, first by Union and then Confederate troops and their horses. Later in the war, Reverend John Martin drove the troops and their horses out, cleaned up the building and returned it to its proper use as a House of Worship. It was shared by Methodist, Presbyterian and Christian congregations until 1880. That first building remained in use by the Methodists until 1915 when a new one was completed. The second church home of the Methodists was on the present site, at the corner of Second and Hord Streets. Then, on January 26, 1928 a fire broke out and completely destroyed the church building, but not before the pews were rescued. These are the pews still in use in our Sanctuary today.

Later that year, construction of the third church building began, and it has become the church we see and use today. It is built on the foundations of the second one, the one destroyed by fire. Completed and put into use in 1931, it has received further work and improvements to bring it to its present form. The building was dedicated with its present name on Easter Sunday, 1940. The most significant of those improvements was the addition of the imported stained glass windows, donated by the Bagby and Osenton families. They were obtained in Paris, France by George Bagby from the famous stained glass artisan 'Ray of Paris.' These windows are of rare and unparalleled quality and it is unusual to find them in such a small community as Grayson, Kentucky.

There are other notable features of the building, including major renovations and repairs that were completed in 1959 and 1981, and the striking black gum woodwork, paneling and trim in the Sanctuary. In addition, the pulpit, stage chairs and chandeliers were imported from a palace in Spain. More recently, modern heat and air conditioning systems were added in the 1990's, and the adjoining house on Second Street has become the 'Brick House', a venue for youth and young adult worship, fellowship and Christian rock music. In 2011 a ramp system was added on the west side of the church building for improved access to the renovated basement Fellowship Hall.

For more than 160 years Bagby Memorial United Methodist Church has worked to live out the teachings of the Bible and the example of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are part of a denomination that has grown to more than 11 million professing members and is the second largest Protestant denomination in the world. Our founder, John Wesley, has challenged the churches of Methodism since its founding in 1784... "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can!" That is what we strive to do.

We are very proud to welcome you to our beautiful and historic building and the vibrant congregation within.

Click here for a History of Bagby Pastors