128 Groveland St.

Location *R* on Church Map of Oberlin

(Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization)


Rust Church played a prominent role of leadership in the development of the Oberlin community. The colony had existed only 30 years when the founders, a small interracial group of consecrated men and women who worshipped together in Colonial Hall (the present site of the Conservatory) banded together in prayer to create a temple for God. This was in 1872, less than a decade after the Civil War. From its membership leaders in many facets of community life have served this community. The congregation later divided; both groups felt they could be self supporting. In 1875 the Negroes bought and moved a small frame building to S. Water Street (now Park St.). As the Second Methodist Episcopal Church the congregation became part of the Lexington Annual Conference and Mrs. Elizabeth Carr was the first pastor. The church thrived, so that in 1906 it bought two adjacent parcels of land. The name Rust was added in 1906 to memorialize Dr. Richard S. Rust, one of the post-Civil War white leaders of the denomination and the same person for whom Rust College, a black institution in Holly Springs, MS is also named. In 1915, during the construction of their new building, the congregation worshipped in the Centennial Building at the corner of South Main and Edison Streets. The present church was dedicated Oct. 8,1916. Two remnants of the old church still remaining are the church bell still heard on Sundays and the large rose window on the east wall. A part of the archives is a cask containing the ashes of the mortgage which was burned in 1923. In the late 1950's Christian Education received a major emphasis with the participation of students and staff from Schauffler college, then a division of Oberlin's Graduate School of Theology. The church is now under the Norwalk Conference of the United Methodist Church. There have been a series of instruments serving the church, first a reed organ which was soon inadequate and was replaced by a $90.00 instrument. In the late 1920's a pipe organ was purchased by the choir from the Episcopal Church. In November 1955 a Baldwin electronic organ was installed. During the years 1941-58 the musical groups of this church gained renown. The "Gospel Chorus" traveled throughout Ohio. The Senior Choir, Ladies' Sextette and the Junior Choir brought much music in to the services.

For more information on Rust United Methodist Church, please see the Church's website at

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