"Through the power of Christ, we are learning to live in simplicity, thankfulness, contentment and generosity in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana."
A history of Stevensville UMC was presented at the spring 2014 United Methodist Women gathering of the Western Mountains District. It may be seen at this link on our YouTube channel.
Methodism came to Stevensville in 1880 when the Rev. E.J. Stanley of the Southern Methodists started to build a church which was completed in 1884. This was the first Methodist church building in the Bitterroot Valley. In 1884 the Southern Methodists held a charge conference in Stevensville presided over by Bishop J. C. Granbery.
In 1886-87, Rev. J. D. Moore was appointed pastor of the Stevensville Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MES) and it was during his pastorate that the combination of church and parsonage was built. In December of 1888 Rev. J. B. Parnell was appointed to the Bitterroot Circuit from Lolo to Grantsdale. In 1901 the Stevensville Academy was started by the Methodist Episcopal Church. Many Stevensville young people attended this school which later became the high school and is now the junior high.
A movement was started in the early 1900's to combine the two Methodist churches in Stevensville but it was not until 1918 that the M.E. South pastor, Rev. P. D. Hartman was asked to occupy both pulpits. Later all services were held in the Methodist Episcopal Church building with one pastor. This method was used until the three branches of Methodism (Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Episcopal Church - South, and the Methodist Protestant Church) united in 1939.
It was during the pastorate of the Rev. William J. Richards (1925-29) that the old grade school building was purchased and remodeled for our new church. This is the building we are using at the present time. The first services were held December 9, 1928. Rev. Richards was assisted by the Rev. Parnell who had returned for this occasion.
The new parsonage was built in 1973 during the pastorate of the Rev. Robert C. Varker. We are still making history and pray that it will continue for many years.
- from Bicentennial of the Yellowstone Conference, compiled by Doris Whithorn. The Livingstone Enterprise, Livingston, Montana, 1984.
Pastors of the Stevensville United Methodist Church
Rev. E. J. Stanley 1880 -83 Rev. Wilder Nutting 1883-85 Rev. R. A. Armstrong 1885-86 Rev. J. D. Moore 1886-87 Rev. Abner C. Smith 1887-88 Rev. H. Wadsworth 1888-89 Rev. E. M. Tower 1889-90 Rev. J. J. McAllister 1890-93 Rev. J. N. Smith 1893-95 Rev. G. W. Jenkins 1895-97 Rev. Philo W. Haynes 1897-1901 Rev. Edward Laird Mills 1902-04 Rev. W. W. Howard 1904-07 Rev. T. H. Martin 1907-09 Rev. Charles E. Cunningham 1909-11 Rev. Charles D. Crouch 1911-12 Rev. E. C. Bartlett 1913-16 Rev. H. L. Blair 1916-17 Rev. P. D. Hartman 1918-20 Rev. George Reed 1921-23
Rev. M. G. Irvin 1924-25 Rev. H. J. Van Vliet 1924-25 Rev. William J. Richards 1925-29 Rev. Howard Ricketts 1929-35 Rev. C. F. McConnell 1935-40 Rev. Thomas H. Roddey 1940-43 Rev. Horace Gravenor 1943-44 Rev. Earl B. Horsell 1944-46 Rev. Clarence Spellman 1946-49 Rev. Emilie Swarens 1949-53 Rev. Ellen Mignery 1954-56 Rev. Donald Young 1956-58 Rev. Glen Harris 1958-59 Rev. John W. Pfleiderer 1959-65 Rev. Monroe J. Wilcox 1965-68 Rev. Loy S. Estes 1968-72 Rev. Robert C. Varker 1972-79 Rev. Marilyn Punke 1979-80 Revs. Marilyn & Michael Punke 1980-81 Rev. Charles M. Johnson 1981-84 Rev. Glen R. Woodson 1984-88
Rev. Ron Barr 1988-90 Rev. Robert Foote 1990-91 Rev. Steve Hermes 1991-96 Rev. Constance Sidebottom 1996-2001 Rev. Vicki Horn 2001-03 Rev. David Anderson 2003-05 Rev. Nancy Slabaugh-Hart 2005-13 Rev. Dr. Charles J. Alkula 2013-2019 Rev. Sarah Merchant 2019-
Visit this link to learn more about what to expect at the Stevensville UMC.