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.