116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Buffalo United Methodist Church will celebrate its 145th anniversary this weekend.
While the church is relatively small, it's long history in the Cedar Rapids community gives its members much to celebrate, Pastor Carol Mart said.
The church began in the 1800s and was located near the intersection of Blairs Ferry Road and Edgewood Road in northeast Cedar Rapids, an area that in recent years has witnessed a fair amount of commercial redevelopment. It was a rural church on what was then the outskirts of town.
Over the years, various pastors and church members sustained the efforts of the small congregation. But as the building aged and commercial development crept closer, the decision was made to relocate.
The original Buffalo United Methodist Church structure was demolished in 2014 to make way for the Blairs Ferry Tire and Auto Service building. As a nod to the site’s past, the store has one of the old church pews in its lobby.
Buffalo United Methodist had moved two years before to the heart of the Kenwood neighborhood, at 1000 30th St. NE. The site has become the new hub for the church’s ministry and outreach.
But its history is not forgotten. The bell that used to hang in the original church now is in the church yard.
Mart recently was appointed to the church this past July, but said she is thrilled to be a part of this “small buy mighty” congregation of about 70 members.
This weekend’s activities will include dedication of the Hahn Memorial Sculpture, in remembrance of Rev. Samuel Hahn, pastor from 1955 to 1962 and who died in 2015. His daughter is scheduled to attend the dedication, Mart said.
There also will be a worship service, catered luncheon and the dedication of the new Buffalo Labyrinth and memorial benches. These new outdoor elements add to the welcoming feel of the parish and are an asset to the neighborhood, Mart said.
Address: 1000 30th St. NE, Cedar Rapids
6:30 p.m. Saturday — dedication of Hahn Memorial Sculpture
Noon Sunday after 10:30 services — catered lunch (reservations required)
2 p.m. Sunday — dedication of the Buffalo Labyrinth and memorials
As with much of the area, Buffalo United Methodist was hit by this past August’s derecho. While the devastation to the building and the grounds — including the playground — was extensive, Mart said the members worked together to rebuild and reopen the church.
Mart said that it was a testimony to them that the sculpture honoring Pastor Hahn which is being dedicated this weekend after being installed last year, withstood the strong winds of the derecho.
“We know that God is near and present with us,” Mart said. “This weekend will be a way to celebrate 145 years, and also all we have been through together and yet are still standing.
“It’s a celebration of the church itself.”
Mart said one of the hallmarks of the small church is actually a long-standing commitment to volunteerism, both in the church and in the larger community.
“They do so many wonderful things for the community. They're involved in almost every community service you can think of,” she said, noting they have a strong partnership with Mission of Hope and currently are working on a soup drive.
Members of the congregation also are gathering supplies for backpacks to help get children ready to return to school. Mart said they plan to get back to hosting neighborhood potlucks this fall.
“I feel like most big churches can’t compare to all the ways this little church is serving. They are just so proud of the things we are able to do,” Mart said.
“... We want to give hope to other small churches out there that we will carry on.”