About Us

We are called by Christ to be a welcoming and inclusive community of believers who celebrate life’s spiritual journey. We are dedicated to a growing faith manifested by unconditional love, compassion, thoughtful service and stewardship within our church, community and world. We are part of the worldwide United Methodist Church. In December 2021, our church voted with overwhelming support to affiliate with the Reconciling Ministries Network in solidarity and advocacy with LGBTQ United Methodists. We want to make everyone feel welcome to worship with us and to share God’s love with all. On March 20, 2022 we celebrated with a special worship service of reconciliation.

Local Church History

Our congregation has been a vital part of the Decorah community since 1851, when a Methodist congregation was established, just two years after the area was opened for settlement. A wooden building was used for worship until 1874, when the present church was built at the cost of $12,680. The steeple has had four different “looks,” and in the early 1900s, space for the kitchen and fellowship hall was excavated under the sanctuary — mostly by hand! A Christian education wing and offices were added in the 1950s.

Over the years, three small rural congregations have joined us: Freeport Methodist Church, Canoe Methodist Church and Washington Prairie United Methodist Church. Each of these had its own heritage. Canoe Methodist was a German-speaking congregation. Washington Prairie was Norwegian, and one of its first pastors was sent to Norway as a missionary. The United Methodist Church of Norway and its approximately 4,500 members trace its history to Decorah!

Below: Our 2018 Youth Christmas program featuring the Puppets of Praise and children’s choir.

Children's choir singing

First United Methodist Church exterior view from across the street, with Winnieshiek County Courthouse on right.
Our historic building on Broadway Street, with the Winnieshiek County Courthouse to the right.