Historic Grinter church to close

The Grinter Chapel United Methodist Church, 7819 Swartz Road, will close after the Sunday, April 25, service. (Photo by Pat Spencer)

The historic Grinter Chapel United Methodist Church at 7819 Swartz Road, Kansas City, Kansas, will close after the Sunday, April 25, service.

It will have outdoor services at 11 a.m. April 18 and April 25, with members wearing face masks and bringing lawn chairs.

The church has a long history in Wyandotte County. Its land was donated by Moses and Annie Grinter, early settlers of Wyandotte County, according to Pat Spencer, a member of the church. Anna Marshall Grinter, with Delaware or Lenape tribe ancestry, was a Methodist, Spencer said.

The congregation voted in March to close the church. Spencer said the church has lost four members since December 2020, and had only about 12 regular members then. The church members are very sad that it had to close, she said, but they didn’t see any other options.

Spencer said the church had been meeting every Sunday before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. With COVID-19, members could not attend and it was difficult for the church to meet expenses.

The church has a memory wall with the dates 1868 and 1941, she said. A cornerstone of the current church building is dated 1953.

Near the church is the Grinter cemetery, where Moses and Annie Grinter are buried. The cemetery and the Grinter House, south on 78th Street at K-32, are historic places. Grinter operated a ferry across the Kansas River at that point, and had a trading post at the Grinter Place. They built the Grinter House in 1857. The Grinters held church services at the Grinter House before Grinter Chapel was built, according to historians.

According to historical accounts, Moses and Annie Grinter donated the land for the Grinter Chapel Cemetery to the Methodist Church in 1877. Moses Grinter, a native of Kentucky who arrived at Fort Leavenworth in the Kansas territory, and started the ferry in the 1830s, died in June 1878. Annie Grinter died in 1905.

Some of the Grinter family members who died before the cemetery land was donated are buried at the White Church cemetery, Spencer said.

Spencer said the Grinter Chapel will go back to the Great Plains Methodist Conference.

A memory wall at the Grinter Chapel United Methodist Church contains historical pictures. Above the memory wall are the dates 1868 and 1941. (Photo by Pat Spencer)
Moses and Annie Grinter are remembered at the church’s memory wall. They donated the land for the church and cemetery. Moses Grinter ran a ferry across the Kansas River on the military route from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Scott. The Grinters built Grinter House, now a state museum, in 1857 at 78th and K-32. (Photo by Pat Spencer)
The sanctuary at Grinter Chapel United Methodist Church. (Photo by Pat Spencer)
Moses Grinter is buried at the Grinter cemetery, next to the Grinter Chapel United Methodist Church. (Photo by Pat Spencer)
The Grinter cemetery, a historic site, is located near the Grinter Chapel United Methodist Church. Moses Grinter is buried at the Grinter cemetery, next to the Grinter Chapel United Methodist Church. (Photo by Pat Spencer)

9 thoughts on “Historic Grinter church to close”

  1. A sad time to see this historical building to stay empty. It still is a beautiful place to be. Anyone that knows that history knows what I am talking about. What will happen to the cemetery that now that the church is closing? My grandmother part of the five generations of Grinters buried there also. This is concerning of what would be happening. It would be nice to know as a descendant.

  2. Surely someone can purchase it and turn it into a home or something like that. What a heartbreaker!

  3. Older faithful congregates gradually pass away, while the younger generation worships tattoos and rap music. It was bound to happen at some point. I remember growing up in that neighborhood in the ’60s, and the parking lot would be full of cars on Sunday. This whole country’s going to hell in a handbasket.

  4. I am sorry to see this happen as I am a descendant of Moses Grinter. I remember visiting the graves every year until my 50’s. As a child I attended the church until we moved in 1961.

    I hope someone will keep up the care of the grave yard.

    1. Why not have your services outside? We have done this and people stopped and some even donated. We took in more money for the church since my husband and i joined. I am sure we will do it again once it warms up.

    2. The cemetery was never maintained by the church and will stay the same, it’s maintained by Jeff Kirby, who is related to the Grinters.

  5. I hope that nothing happens to the cemetery I have my baby buried there . I would like to know who to contact with questions I have does anyone know who owns the cemetery .

  6. Are people still able to donate to the care of the cemetery?
    Who receives the donations?
    My family is buried there.
    How can we contact Jeff Kirby.

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