In 2007, the Bellville, Mount Sinai and Trinity United Methodist churches merged to create a new church in the Butler community, fittingly named Three Crosses, A United Methodist Fellowship. The name was chosen for three reasons: First, it speaks to who we are as Christians, believers in the centrality of the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Second, the image of three crosses easily identifies us a Christians to the local community. Third, it applies to the new church, three joined under the one and the three aspects of our mission statement, which is to reach up to God, into ourselves, and out to the world with the love of Christ.
The three churches all had a rich heritage of sacrifice and commitment made by generations of people to impact the community with the message of Jesus Christ. In 1814, Charles Waddle and James Smith came to Bellville and organized the Methodist Episcopal Church. The first house of worship was built in 1835, and it was 30 x 40 feet and cost $90. It was the first church in Jefferson Township. Then in April 1854, a new church was constructed, and this 40x 55 foot structure on Bell Street in Bellville was a thriving evangelical house of worship for over 150 years.
The Mt. Sinai United Methodist Church originated as Mt Sinai Evangelical Church, and their church building on Main street in Butler was dedicated on December 19, 1875 with 88 members. The church denomination changed over the years beginning in 1946 when the Evangelicals merged with the United Brethren to form the Evangelical United Brethren. In 1968 that denomination merged with the Methodist Church to form The United Methodist Church. Mt Sinai’s 132 years of ministry were very rich, and like the place for which it was named, the mountain from where God reached out to touch mankind, the Mt. Sinai Church reached out to the community.
The Trinity United Methodist Church was organized in May, 1893 with 110 charter members. The church building on Cleveland Street in Butler was finished in September, 1893, as the members, families and friends gave a helping hand in making their dreams come true. The total cost of construction was only $3000. For 114 years many pastors, teachers, board members and trustees blessed Trinity with their leadership, special talents and abilities. They all carried a deep concern for the spiritual growth of the congregation. No one can remember how many Holy Spirit empowered evangelistic services or how many fellowship meals were shared in the spirit of love.
When the churches merged in 2007, they met for worship at the Trinity church, while the Mt Sinai location was eventually used as the Clear Fork Christian Preschool, and for youth fellowship and the Clothes Closet ministry. In 2008, Three Crosses, under the leadership of Pastor Keith McLaughlin, voted to build a new church, incorporating the old Trinity church into the design. The construction goals included maintaining the “country church” feel but have much more space for worship, teaching, fellowship and service to the community. The existing parsonage, an historic 105 year old landmark, was moved across Craig Street and continued as the home for the minister’s family.
Mother’s Day on May 9, 2010 was the momentous ground breaking ceremony for the new Three Crosses building. The focus of the ceremony was that what was to be erected was a building, but each person that walks through the doors is the church, the interdependent body of Christ. Construction began in June, 2010 and the Fellowship Hall was put into use in early 2012. The new sanctuary was the last phase of construction, and the first service in the new Three Crosses Sanctuary was December 7, 2014. The service “Celebrating the Work of God and Dedicating the Building of Three Crosses” was on April 12, 2015.
Brandon Keck became pastor of Three Crosses in July of 2015, and the church has started an exciting journey of using our new facility to spread the “good new” of the message of Lord Jesus Christ to the Clear Fork Valley community.