This summer, Aldersgate will celebrate 115 years of serving its
congregations and the community. During that time, the church has had
three names and three locations. The Normal Methodist Episcopal Church
was organized in 1898 and took its name from the Lincoln Normal
University located in the vicinity of 56th and South Streets. Bryan
Memorial Methodist Church became the official name of the congregation
following the union of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist
Episcopal Church South, and the Methodist Protestant Church in 1939. The
move to 6140 South Street took place on February 22, 1959. The
congregation became the Aldersgate United Methodist Church when it moved
to the current location at 84th and South Streets on Easter Sunday
By the late 1980s, Aldersgate had shown steady growth and often could
not seat everyone at special events such as Christmas programs. In 1995
Aldersgate constructed a new sanctuary with plans of achieving a
membership of 400.
This history reflects a long commitment to East Lincoln and a tradition of adapting to change.
This tradition is in evidence today as the congregation responds to the
dual challenge of renovating an aging facility and renewing its sense of
Symbolism of Worship Center
“The Lord said to Moses: ‘Tell the Israelites to make me a sanctuary, so
that I may dwell among them. In accordance with all that I show you
concerning the pattern of the tabernacle and of all its furniture, so
you shall make it.’” Exodus 25:1a, 8-9
We began using our Worship Center in 1996. Like other worship spaces
around the world, it is filled with symbolism. The symbolism is very
old, and yet very non-traditional.
In the Bible, the book of Exodus tells with story of a group of
newly-liberated slaves journey from Egypt back toward their homeland,
Israel. In chapters 25-26, Moses is given directions by God how to build
a dwelling place, a tabernacle for God where offerings can be made and
where God can have contact with the people. It was to be portable, for
they were a people on the move, ready to go whenever God called.
It is this story that inspired Aldersgate to model our worship space
after that tabernacle. The shape of the Worship Center or sanctuary
(sacred place or place apart) is the shape of a tent. The curtains are
like the sides of the tent and reflect the curtains of the Tabernacle
(Exodus 26:1). The tan border of the carpets and stone tiles around the
outside walls simulates the desert sands on which the tent stands.
Symbolically, it remind us that we, too, are a people on the move and
that God is always with us in the midst of continuing change.
A temporary wall cuts into the space in the northeast corner to create a
Youth Room on the other side of the wall. On the Sanctuary side the
nook created has become a Prayer Corner for personal meditation and
Three stained glass windows, donated by TierOne Bank, have been added to
enhance the beauty of the space. Their blues, purples, reds and golds
reflect the colors used in the original tabernacle (Exodus 25:3-4).
Internally, flexibility is the main feature. Our space is designed for
us to be participants rather than spectators, All the furnishings are
moveable and the space can be adapted to a wide variety of uses and
The Arrayments, the hanging and placed decorations, change with the
seasons and with worship themes. They underscore the vision of
flexibility and change.
The original worship area, now the Fellowship Hall, is an octagon. This
space, along with the courtyards follows that same shape. Two more
stained glass windows, also donated by TierOne Bank, decorate that