Our History


Population of Gillette surpassed the 10,000 limitation set by comity agreement with Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist denominations. Eugene and Annelle Lovering of Gillette and Rev. Richard A. Plants of Newcastle urged the Rocky Mountain Conference to form a United Methodist Congregation in Gillette.


First United Methodist Church, Casper, offered $5,000 toward a church in Gillette. First worship service was held in the basement Hospitality Room of the Stockmen's Bank October 2, 1977. District Superintendent Henry H. Baker received 27 charter members in a Constituting Service October 30, 1977.


Rev. Richard Plants was appointed by Bishop Melvin Wheatley, effective February 1, 1977. In December, temporary quarters were moved to the basement of the Odd Fellows' Lodge, 202 E. 8th St., for $25 per week rent.


First UMC, Casper took up an Easter offering to pay $30,000 for 5.9 acres of land purchased from Exxon Coal USA. Trustees fenced the land October 3, and Claiming of the land service was held
October 11.


A February building fund crusade surpassed the goal of $50,000 in pledges. On May 22, ninety-five persons gathered to break ground of the first unit. December 24, 1982 a candlelight Christmas Eve service was held in the building.


February 20, a Consecration service was held with Bishop Melvin Wheatley and District Superintendent Deanna Bleyle participating.

One of the most significant contributions to the church has been the stained glass windows. These were made possible by the donations of material, time and talent of many in the congregation. In particular, Ken and Becky Claar guided the work and helped and encouraged others in the process. The windows were installed on March 17 and dedicated on May 6, 1984.

Rev. Russell Hawkins was appointed by Bishop Melvin Wheatley, effective June 19, 1983. Strong emphasis was placed on music and small groups during his tenure. Advent groups, dinner for eight and Power and Light studies were highlights of his ministry.


Rev. Don Schlichting was appointed by Bishop Roy Sano, effective November 2, 1986. Several Disciple Bible Study groups were formed during his tenure. Improvements were made to the building and an addition was planned, funded, and built.


The church building suffered a setback in early January with a fire; there was extensive smoke damage. The set back turned into a blessing as with the help of the insurance company, the church interior received a major cleaning and face-lift.


The mortgage on the original building was burned. The education wing, with six classrooms and a ground level office was completed and consecrated.


Rev. David Margiotta was appointed July 2, 1993 by Bishop Mary Ann Swenson. The new sound system was first used on Christmas Eve.


A sign was installed next to Lakeway Road.


The parking lot was paved. A Mission-Vision-Plan was developed to help chart the congregation's growth into the future. The new logo was designed as part of the MVP.


A balloon payment was made on the new mortgage. The church also received a gift of $5,000 from the First Church in Cheyenne. The first mission trip was made to Warren Village in Denver, CO. An outreach to the Wright community was established with a Bible Study.


Vacation Bible School was held in Wright. We celebrated our 20th Anniversary with Bishop Swenson and Joyce Plants and a number of out of town guests. A luncheon was served at Camplex with a short ceremony.


Rev Dan Lush was appointed by Bishop Mary Ann Swenson. The Logos Program for youth was started and supported by our church.

For Jehovah God is our light and our protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk along his path.


In June, Rev Ginny Bettendorf was appointed by Bishop Mary Ann Swenson: Rev Ginny believes in the ministry of all persons as she uses all laity in the worship experience.


Our 25th year anniversary was celebrated by a ground breaking for the expansion of the building in September.


Easter celebration was held in the new expanded building. The multi-functional space could hold more than 100 worshipers and quickly rearranged to be for large gatherings, meetings, or our famous potlucks.


The Staff Parish Relations Council hired Cody Anderson as a Youth Program coordinator. Many small groups progressed through the Disciple studies. Adult Bible studies and a fast growing children and youth education program fostered discipleship in all age groups.


In June, Rev Ginny was re-assigned. Pastor Chris Carr was appointed in September by Bishop Warner Brown. During the interim, retired pastor John Prochaska from Douglas provided Pastoral services. Pastor Chris initiated small in-home gatherings where church members could meet and build relationships.


Charlotte Carr and seven other congregants went to Laurel, MS to help repair damage caused by Hurricane Katrina the previous August. The need was great and our learning curve on roofing and dry wall was steep. We accomplished a lot in a week, but learned that talking with those affected by the storm was very fulfilling for both sides.


A mission trip to Cedar Rapids, IA was lead again by Charlotte Carr. Six others traveled along and helped repair damage this town had sustained in extensive flooding of the Cedar River in late spring. Again, we felt privileged to help these people who had suffered from rapid snow melt and spring thunderstorms.


In July, Rev Burry Bessee was appointed by Bishop Elaine Stankovski. Pastor Burry involves laity in the mission of the church within the community, "loving people into God's dream for them." Outreach Sunday services began at Pioneer Manor Nursing Home on the 4th Sunday and the Primrose Retirement Center on the 2nd Sunday of the month.



In July, Rev. AJ Bush was appointed by Bishop Elaine Stanovsky. Pastor AJ helped expand the congregation's ministry in the community by starting a college ministry group as well as leading chapel services at the VOA Re-entry Facility for incarcerated persons here in Gillette.



Click here to find out more about what the Methodists believe.

Click here to find out more about the history of the Methodist Church.

Contact First United Methodist Church of Gillette today at 307-686-7339, or browse the website for more information about our ministries or news and events.