The Stones of Faith: A Chronicle of Riverview United Methodist Church
Against the backdrop of an expanding Huron, South Dakota, amidst the changing tides of the 1960s, a seed of faith was planted. In 1965, a vision took root: a new church, a haven for the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodists of the community. This is the story of Riverview United Methodist Church, not just a structure of brick and mortar, but a tapestry woven from the threads of dedication, fellowship, and transformation.
The story begins with a man, Rev. Robert Feind, and his family. In June of 1966, they arrived in Huron, pioneers in a spiritual frontier. Their first meeting, in November, held in the humble setting of Madison School, drew a congregation of ninety in worship, forty-two in Sunday School along with a choir, eager to build a sanctuary of their own. From that small gathering, a church was born, chartered in 1967 with sixty-two members.
The journey was not easy. On June 18th, 1967, the groundbreaking of the new church at 1640 Simmons Ave. SE was a momentous occasion. The construction, at a cost of $120,000, was a daunting task. Yet, the community rallied, hearts and hands united in the shared vision. Finally, on December 31, 1967, the first service in the new church resonated with the joyous hymns of a dream realized.
The new year dawns, and with it, the official dedication. On January 28th, 1968, Bishop E.R. Garrison's words resonate, echoing through the pews, a call to build not just walls, but a community of love and service. On May 20th, Cavour UMC joined hands with Riverview, their paths converging in a shared quest for spiritual growth.
Life unfolded within the church walls. Love found its bloom when Susan Loos and Richard Oliver exchanged vows on August 24th, 1968, the first wedding in the young church's history. A baby's cries filled the air with joy as Karen Jensen was baptized on December 29th, the first new life entrusted to the care of the congregation.
The years that followed saw Riverview evolve. In June of 1971, it joined forces with Virgil United Methodist Church, forming a yoked parish. Later, they became a two-point charge, sharing the same minister, a testament to the growing spirit of collaboration. In 1979, Riverview officially became part of the South Dakota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, solidifying its place in the foundation of a larger faith.
The 1980s ushered in a new era. Mrs. Feind returned in 1983, not just to celebrate the burning of the mortgage, but to ignite a new flame – the passion for service. Earl Stucke’s morning message, "New Frontiers for Christians today," echoed through the hearts of the congregation, inspiring them to reach beyond their walls.
In 1988, the ground broke again, this time for a parsonage. The Huron High School Vocational Class, their hands guided by skilled teachers, built a home for our pastor, a symbol of the community's commitment.
The 1990s were a time of expansion. In 1992 El Shaddai Services began on Saturday evenings, a beacon of hope in the twilight hours. In 1993 a building committee formed, dreaming of a larger space for fellowship and growth. The "Vision for the Future" capital fund drive took flight, fueled by the unwavering faith of Tom Baruth, as chair of the building committee, and the guidance of Frank Witte, as a consultant leading us in the stewardship and capital/building campaign. It was a call to action, not just for bricks and mortar, but for a deeper commitment to Christ and his church. The new millennium dawned, and with it, the realization of the vision. At a cost of $450,000, the addition rose, a testament to the collective will of the congregation. As Wiedenman Construction laid the foundation, Bob Crawford led the charge as the Chair of the Building Committee, and finally, with the sweat and love of its members, the fellowship hall and kitchen were complete.
June 26th, 2016, marked a milestone – the 50th anniversary of Riverview United Methodist Church. It was a day filled with joy, reminiscence, and gratitude. The church that began as a seed of faith in 1965 had blossomed into a vibrant community, a beacon of hope and love in the heart of Huron.
Today, Riverview United Methodist Church stands tall, a testament to the enduring power of community, faith, and love. It is a story etched in stone, a chronicle of lives touched, hearts uplifted, and spirits renewed. And as the sun sets on the plains of South Dakota, casting long shadows across the fields, one can almost hear the whispers of the past, the voices of those who laid the foundation, their legacy echoing in the hearts of those who carry the torch forward.
This is the narrative of Riverview United Methodist Church, a never-ending story with each new chapter and stone adding to our ever-unfolding history.
Our Former Pastors
The following Timeline shows the major events of Riverview UMC from 1966-2016 when 50 years was celebrated.
1965 - Land purchased for the new EUB/Methodist Church June 1966 - Rev. Robert Feind and family moved to Huron to begin organizing a new EUB/Methodist Church in Huron Nov. 20, 1966 - First meeting on new church held at Madison School - First pastor Rev. Robert Feind - The first service had 90 in worship, 42 in Sunday School and a Choir - Lawrence Ketel was appointed the first lay leader. Jan. 1967 - Church was chartered with 62 members. June 18, 1967 - Ground breaking for the new church, 1640 Simmons Ave. SE, Huron, SD July 1967 - Construction began on the new church at a cost of $120,000 Dec. 31, 1967 - First service in the new church Jan. 28, 1968 - Dedication of the new Riverview UM Church - Bishop E.R. Garrison gave the sermon May 20, 1968 - Cavour UMC merged with Riverview UMC Aug. 24, 1968 - First Wedding held in Riverview United Methodist Church - Susan Loos and Richard Oliver Dec 29, 1968 - Karen Jensen baptized June 1971 - Riverview and Virgil churches became a yoked parish 1973 - Riverview and Virgil became a 2 point charge of Methodist churches, sharing the same minister Dec. 1979 - EUB signed Riverview Church over to the SD Annual Conference of the UMC 1983 - Mrs. Robert Feind returned to Riverview to burn the mortgage for construction of the church - Earl Stucke gave th morning message, "New Frontiers for Christians today" May 13, 1988 - Ground breaking for new parsonage - Bob Ruedebusch was pastor - House was built by the Huron High School Vocational Class 1990 - Building committee for church expansion project was established 1992 - Saturday evening El Shaddai Services began 1993 - Capital Fund Drive "Vision for the Future" was started to raise funds for new addition - Tom Baruth, Chair - Frank Witte came to Riverview as a consultant to lead us in a stewardship and capital/building campaign - It was an opportunity to spur on one's commitment to Christ and Christ's church and to begin the commitment and vision for the wonderful addition of a fellowship hall and new kitchen 1999-2000 - New addition was built at a projected cost of $450,000 - General contractor was Wiedenman Construction - Bob Crawford was Chair of the Building Committee - After the structure, plumbing, and wiring were completed, members of the Congregation finished work on the inside of the addition June 26, 2016 - 50th Anniversary Celebration of Riverview United Methodist Church