Newman United Methodist Church has been a congregation in Grants Pass since 1857. We were the first church in Grants Pass and the first in Josephine County. In our more than 165 year history we've gone through a lot of changes and impacted countless lives in our community and around the world. Newman UMC, is the leading progressive Christian presence in Grants Pass. We have a long history of being inclusive and welcoming to people who did not feel welcomed in other churches.
The church was founded by Thomas and Hannah Croxton. Rev. Samuel Mathews was the first Methodist minister appointed to Grants Pass in 1867. He helped a young miner find his calling to serve the Lord. The miner's name was Thomas Lewis Jones (known as TL). When TL turned twenty he was overcome with "gold fever" and headed south from Eugene to Grants Pass. TL had success in Oregon and Idaho mining for gold. On Feb. 3 1871 Jones was licensed to preach in the Methodist-Episcopal Church. TL was assigned a circuit of sixteen preaching places.
In 1888 after 17 years of circuit riding TL Jones was recalled to Grants Pass to build a new church. In just two years, with the help of the Croxton's and others in the community, the church was built and paid for. During his career Jones traveled 50,000 miles by foot, horse, wagon, and train to spread the gospel throughout the region.
Newman UMC is named for Bishop John P. Newman. Bishop Newman was a self-educated man other than a few terms at seminary. He preached throughout New York State with a "rustic eloquence." From New York, he was sent to New Orleans to establish the Methodist Episcopal Church after the civil war. During President Grant's administration, Newman was in Washington D.C. He was a good friend of President and Mrs. Grant. President Grant appointed Newman as Inspector of U.S. consulates in Asia which allowed Newman to ravel the world.
In 1888 he was elected Bishop while residing in Omaha NE. One of his firsts duties as bishop was to attend the Annual Conference of the Oregon Methodist Episcopal Church being held in Grants Pass in 1888. This is when Newman ME Church was dedicated and given it's name in honor of Bishop John P. Newman.
In 1968 the Methodist Episcopal Church and Evangelical United Brethren Church combined to form the United Methodist Church.