Circuit riders from The Dalles provided the first Methodist ministry in Prairie City during the 1870s, and the Methodist Church at the south end of the community park was constructed in 1885. The building is now the Prairie City Community Center.
Alice Goodrum, who helped plan a centennial celebration for the church in 1985, said in looking over the history of Methodist services in Prairie City, W.H. Goddard, a traveling Methodist preacher, held the first services and made it possible for circuit riders to come from The Dalles. The Hall family in 1879 was instrumental in starting Sunday School services in Prairie City.
Goodrum said G.W. Grannis, identified as a district builder, was responsible for construction of the original Prairie City Methodist Church in 1885. That original structure still makes up part of the present Methodist Church, but it was moved to its present location in the 1920s, and the west wing was added to the building.
Some of the ministers who have served the Prairie City congregation included Mark White in 1929, who “left a lot of newspaper articles to prove it.” W.D. and Josie Bach served the church starting in 1937. He left in 1941, but she stayed on and was responsible for bringing church pews in from Island City, near La Grande.
Fred Waller came to serve as minister in 1953, Glen Walthum in 1963 and Dwight Wilcher in 1965. It was also in 1965 that the John Day and Prairie City churches were merged into one parish with one minister serving both churches.
Darwin Secord was minister of the combined parish starting in 1967, followed in 1973 by Carl Evand, in 1977 by John Page and in 1982 by Robert Newberg.
One story from the old days of the church, Goodrum said, concerned a cleaning project to get the church ready for Easter service. The floor at that time was made of rough lumber. To clean the floor of tracked in dirt, Gladys McKrola and Opal Willey opened the door and flooded the church with water.