In the Begining:
The Methodist Episcopal group organized on March 18, 1900 with 25 members and appointed Rev. George M. Smith as their pastor. The first preaching services were held in the O’Keefe Hall downtown on main street. In 1900, two thousand dollars was pledged to build a small church and a parsonage on the corner of School Street and Center Avenue. This building served the needs of the growing congregation until 1927.
Early in 1926 the expanding congregation was inspired to build a new church. They hired H. V. “Kyrle” Kruse to draw the blue prints for a new church. Mr. Kruse was born in Sweden and came to the U.S. when he was five years old. He graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Civil Engineering. He started his career working in the copper mines in New Mexico and later was employed by the U.V.X. Mines in Jerome. Mr. Kruse presented the group with his completed blue prints in September of 1926. These blue prints are on display in the church today.
The old church was sold and later was remodeled into apartments that are still in use today. The new church was built on property that was owned by the Douglas U.V.X. Mines. A devoted church member, Mary Beale, persuaded her husband, Clarence, who worked for the mining company to have the mine owner donate a rocky cliff-side lot to the church. Church construction was delayed for a while as a woman who occupied a little shack on the property initially refused to move.
The new church was built for $15,000. Donations, pledges, and money from the sale of the old church were used to start the building. However, the larger part of the mortgage was paid by the Ladies’ Aid Society of the M.E. Church. They raised money by holding cake and ice cream socials, Boston baked bean dinners, bazaars, and by preparing lunches for the weekly meetings of the many service clubs of the community. (Elks, Lions, and Kiwanis Clubs). These meals were prepared on a wood fired iron kitchen range in the old church and were sold for 50 cents a meal.
The new building was formally dedicated in 1929. Click here to read the Verde news article and see the brochure.
The congregation wanted the new building to be a place of refuge and protection giving shelter to all who visit, thus it was given the name of Haven Methodist Episcopal Church.