Our History

Over 180 years of faithful service

in Castleton and surrounding communities.

Castleton United Methodist Church was founded in 1843, and we recently celebrated 180 years of ministry in the northeast side of Indianapolis.

The early meetings of what we now know as Castleton United Methodist Church, were first organized by Rev. James Thomas Wright.

Meetings were held at his home on his property south of Shadeland Avenue and 82nd Street in what is now the Hillsdale Business Park and at the home of local Vertland Village founder Milford Vert.

The congregation grew quickly and began meeting in one of Vert’s warehouses. Later the congregation met in a frame building in downtown Castleton that served as Castleton’s school.

The expansion of the church, which started with 15 members in 1843, to a congregation of more than 60 members in 1874 led to more changes in what was then called Castleton Methodist Episcopal Church.

By Christmas Day 1876, a new one-room brick church was constructed in the village of Vertland, just north of Castleton, near Master’s Road. Members arrived bundled in bobsleds for the dedication on Christmas Day.

Despite Castleton village (by that time Vertland had been all but absorbed by Castleton) still having gravel roads and limited businesses, the church outgrew its 1876 facility in the coming years.

By 1927, Castleton Methodist Episcopal Church membership was 202, and Sunday School attendance was 221.

When member Ralph Culp passed away, his mother found 70 cents still in his clothes. Although a small amount, only equivalent to $10 today, the donation was the seed for the Ralph Culp Memorial Fund that was used to fund a new building for the growing church. Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Russell donated an acre of land across from the Castleton school for the church building.

On September 25, 1927, the new church building was dedicated. A few years later, the church continued to grow despite the uncertain times of the Great Depression. During this time, the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the Methodist Protestant churches merged to form the Methodist church.

After World War II and the Korean War, membership at Castleton Methodist Church grew, as did the population of Indianapolis and its surrounding communities in Marion County. In 1964, the Indiana State Highway Department planned the construction of an interchange at Interstate 69 and 82nd Street. The interchange would require the demolition of the 1927 church building and parsonage.

1972 sanctuary, now fellowship hall

After much searching, thought, and prayer, a committee to find a new home for the church proposed purchasing seven acres at 71st and Shadeland. The new building and educational facility were ready for occupancy in February 1968.

During this transitional time at Castleton Methodist Church, a more significant transition was occurring within the greater Methodist church.

In 1968, the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to form the United Methodist Church. At that time, Castleton Methodist Church became Castleton United Methodist Church. New sanctuaries were added to the building in 1983 and again in 2007.

During the course of 180 years, changes in any organization are guaranteed. Birth, death, growth, movement, and mergers are all changes Castleton United Methodist Church has experienced; however, our focus is unchanging: faith in God’s plan for the future and a long history of seeking, reaching, and welcoming others.