|Written by Tracey Mickels|
|Wednesday, 16 February 2011 17:43|
The Methodist Church in Burleson was organized in 1888. We believe groups were worshiping in the name of Methodist Episcopal Church South before that date as there was a list of 18 names dated 1875. This list was found among the papers of Thomas Mills who was one of the founders of the church. The groups worshiped in the Primitive Baptist Church or the Red Oak Academy, Presbyterian, on the Mound.
A lot was purchased on the corner of Ellison and Dobson, and in 1895, a one room wooden structure was built. The contractor was W.D. (Squire) Harris. A boy whose last name was Adams was severely injured when a high wind blew him off the uncompleted roof where he was working. In the summer of 1907, an addition was added on the north side of the sanctuary. A church bulletin dated March 1928 tells of repairs being made to the building. In 1938, when Rev. C.C. Sessions was minister, Sunday school rooms were added to the north side of the white wooden building. In the 1950’s with Rev. John Dowd as minister, a red brick building was added for a fellowship hall and Sunday school rooms.
By 1961, the complete block was owned. A new sanctuary was built with Rev. W. L. Milner as minister.This is the building that is still located on the corner of Dobson and Renfro. The first service was held December 3, 1961. In 1962, with Rev. Jay Darnell as minister, the white wooden church was torn down and the chapel, educational wing, fellowship hall, and kitchen were completed.
In 1963, under Rev. Jay Darnell and Church Lay Leader Clyde Hurst, First United Methodist Church was given the Achievement Award by the Central Texas Conference. The church had added 118 members, 38 on profession of faith and three young men had surrendered to the call of the ministry.
On April 5, 1971, much of the church was destroyed by fire. Although badly damaged, the sanctuary and part of the educational wing was left standing. Easter services were held as scheduled on April 11, 1971. Plans to rebuild were started. By the end of 1971, under Rev. Dean Franklin, the building program was completed with the church covering the entire block. In 1982, there was a renovation project enlarging the sanctuary and new stained glass windows were added. The membership had now grown to 1,100.
For the first time in 25 years, in 1990, with Dr. Leonard Radde as minister, the Renfro property was dedicated debt free, and new building program was launched. While Rev. Allen Goss presided, 20 acres of land on McAlister Road were purchased in July 1995 and the Possess the Land Drive was started. A bell tower was the first building on the land in May 1998 as Phase 1 of the master plan. The tower was dedicated to the memory of James Brown by his wife Hazel. In 2001, Phase 2 was started – the building of an interim sanctuary/fellowship hall and educational wing. This was completed in 2002, with the first service being held September 22, 2002. Rev. Gary Whitbeck was the minister and Debra Crumpton was the associate.
The Renfro Street propery was sold to the City of Burleson on August 2005 for almost $900,000. Hill College and Texas Wesleyan University leased space for classes beginning in the spring of 2006.
On Sunday April 2, 2006, a Unification Worship Service for Kingswood United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church of Burleson was hel at the McAlister Road location. Early in the 1970’s, the Central Texas Conference decided that there would be a second United Methodist Church in Burleson. In 1973, the Kingsood United Methodist Church was organized. The first services were held in a rented parsonage on Murphy Street. As membership increased, services were held in the Community Bank. Four acres of land were purchased at 335 Thomas Street. Portable buildings were used until June 1976, when ground was broken for a permanent building. During early 2006, a decision was reached by the people of Kingswood United Methodist and First United Methodist to merge.
In 2010, the church reopened the Kingswood facility to become the Student Movement Center (SMC). This facility is being used in support of our Youth program and our Boy Scouts. We are very excited about the opportunities for ministry as the SMC is taking form. Sunday afternoon chill and Wednesday evening studies happen at the SMC. Boy Scouts have had campouts and meet regularly at the SMC.
First United Methodist Church of Burleson was named the Methodist Episcopal Church South until 1968. From 1888 to 2009 First United Methodist has seen 53 senior pastors. The church was circuit church with Crowley, Texas until 1946. Rev. R. R. Willingham was the first pastor assigned solely to the church.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 March 2012 19:28|