The Canby United Methodist Church has a very rich heritage. Methodist missionaries were among the first to arrive on the scene in the new Oregon Territory. The Canby Methodist Church is the earliest built in town. Its beginning can be traced to 1869, following a succession of "camp meetings" held on Wesley Joslyn's donation land claim beside the Molalla River.
A preaching circuit was set up in that included Rock Creek, Molalla, Marquam, Grassy Pond, Glad Tidings, Wilhoit, and Butteville. Sixteen years later the Rev. Andrew J. Joslyn, son of Wesley Joslyn, preached his first sermon at the Rock Creek Campgrounds on July 4, 1870. He fulfilled assignments throughout Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. He returned to Canby to live and preach. He gave his retirement sermon at Rock Creek 50 years after his first one. The Rev. Joslyn was quoted that in the early days he could not afford a horse so he walked from Salem to Rock Creek to Butteville - "but I was young then," he said.
In 1870 the town of Canby was platted. Most of the land came from a donation land claim of Philander and Anna Green Lee. Another portion of the land came from the Joslyn claim, where the camp meetings were still being held. Part of the land was platted into lots and bought by ministers and other Methodists from around the state. When the Methodists wanted to build a permanent church in 1883, the Rev. Samuel Matthews donated lots 1 and 2 of block 8 and the church was built in 1884. Rev. Matthews was the first minister.
Until the first church was built, the Methodists held Sunday School and Services at the Milton and Cynthia Hosford Store. Mrs. Hosford taught Sunday School and was very active in the church. In her will the widow Hosford left her property to be sold as a benefit for the building fund.
The congregation realized after a number of years they needed a larger church. The original church was sold to the Catholic Parish and moved from it's original site on NW 2nd and Elm to NW 3rd and Elm. This fine example of an American frontier chapel is still standing at that location.
Construction was started on the second church in 1912. The distinctive, Moroccan style building was completed and dedicated on March 16, 1913. The Rev. Andrew Jackson Joslyn was present at the dedication. Two stained glass windows were installed as memorials, one to the Rev. Joslyn for his family contribution to the church over the years; and the other in memory of Mrs. Hosford as "she hath done what she could".
This second church served the area for over 60 years, not only for worship, but also for Boy and Girl Scout meetings, senior citizens and health care clinics as well many other activities and meetings of the community. It is still standing on the original site at NW 2nd and Elm.
In 1977 property was purchased on the corner of N. Holly Street and Territorial Road. Although under the direction of professional contractors and advisors, such a fine structure could not have been built without the hundreds of hours of volunteer labor contributed by the members and friends of the church. The church was completed and dedicated on September 20, 1981.
As you look about the beautiful sanctuary, you will notice the stained glass windows that were moved from the second church. The Rev. Joslyn window is on the right and the Mrs. Hosford window is on the left.
The bronze flame above the altar was added later, and represents the Holy Spirit. The mural in the foyer is by well-known local artist Leta Belleque Bunnell and it depicts the original churches and many local items of interest.
To the thousands of people who have contributed to this congregation since its humble beginnings over 125 years ago, we say thank you.