About Us

The Church

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In the spring of 1816, two years before Aurora was platted, a Methodist Episcopal class was formed with seven members. From this humble beginning was born what is now the First United Methodist Church of Aurora. The first structure to be built was in 1830 between the train depot and Importing Street. Following a revival in 1839, a new church was built at Third and Bridgeway Streets and was finished in 1845. In 1849, the church became a “station” and the first resident minister, Rev. John Miller came to lead the congregation. This is also the year of a large cholera epidemic in Aurora. Several church members were in the forefront of the care of those struck by the disease. An example of the community service to others that continues yet today.

In 1851 the congregation voted to erect a new church. Land was secured on Third Street and construction began in 1857. A slow economy and the Civil War may have impeded its completion but in 1862, Bishop E.R. Ames dedicated the building we still worship in today. The church is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the third oldest church structure in Aurora. The church also houses the oldest pipe organ in the city which you can read about on this site. The church and congregation support numerous missions, service projects and graciously open the doors to many groups for service to members of the community irregardless of their faith or affiliation. We are blessed with an exciting calling…From heart to heart, from home to home, from town to town, and from one kingdom to another.

Our Mission

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The Mission of the First United Methodist Church is to provide a welcoming environment for people to worship and gain fellowship with the Lord and to faithfully offer the message of Jesus Christ through word and action to our local and global community.

Our Pastor

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Ryan Goode has been the pastor of Aurora First UMC since July of 2020. Pastor Ryan has served churches in Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee and Indiana. He attended Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois and is a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. He has served the church as a youth pastor, associate pastor, lead pastor and church planter. Pastor Ryan believes that all people should be welcomed and have a place in the church. He believes we are all connected for relationship with God and with one another. He works hard to connect with people where they are and to help connect them with God and other people. His favorite scripture is John 10:10 where Jesus tells his disciples, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full!”

Ryan and his wife Kara were married in 2009. Together they are raising three children – Asa, Ellie and Hudson.

Hook & Hastings Pipe Organ

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Ludwig van Beethoven once said, “The pipe organ is the king of all musical instruments,” and Aurora Methodists are blessed to enjoy the service of a fine example of 19th century American Romantic organ building. The pipe organ which graces the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church of Aurora is Opus 2,012 by the renowned Hook & Hastings firm from Boston. Founded by brothers Elias and George Hook in 1829, the firm added partner Frank Hastings in 1872. Earlier organs bear the label “E. & G.G. Hook,” and instruments built after 1872 bear the “Hook & Hastings” label. The company built their last organ in 1936, a victim of the Great Depression.

In 1903 a former member of the congregation, Margaret E. Wymond, donated the instrument for the church at a cost of $2,500. Mrs. Wymond had relocated to Louisville, Kentucky, and perhaps had experienced the quality of an earlier Hook organ in her church in that city. The Aurora organ was dedicated on July 4, 1903 in memory of her husband W.L. Wymond.

The fine instrument is a tracker which originally was pumped by hand or provided wind through a water turbine. Today a powerful blower provides wind for the organ which is otherwise completely mechanical. A look inside while the instrument is in use shows an astonishing mechanical design wherein moving parts efficiently share a tight space.


The Aurora organ includes nineteen stops or registers. These drawknobs allow the organist to open or close ranks (sets) of pipes and to operate special functions such as the vibrato and the couplers. One such stop is denoted “Bellows Signal” and formerly notified the person pumping to begin or to stop pumping. Some of the pipes are quite large and require substantial wind, so the job of the pumper was strenuous.

The pipe organ presents an inspiring visual appeal in addition to its warm, silvery tone. The pipes visible across the front of the instrument are part of the Diapason rank of pipes and were originally beautifully stenciled; inside the cabinet, the organ includes almost eight hundred pipes. The instrument is serviced regularly for tuning and technical adjustments and was overhauled by M.P. Rathke in 2008, in large part due to the generosity of Dearborn Community Foundation, City of Lawrenceburg Community Grant Program. The congregation of Aurora First UMC is pleased to have welcomed the community into the sanctuary numerous times for organ concerts and recitals given to raise funds for various community organizations such as Hillforest, the City of Aurora, and St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. God willing, this fine organ will continue to help us worship Him and serve the community for many years to come!