Celebrating 175 Years of Methodism in Palestine.
FUMC Palestine pays tribute to rich history
PALESTINE — Special events are planned Sept. 10-11 at First United Methodist Church of Palestine for the church’s Demisemiseptcentennial — celebrating 175 years of Methodism in Palestine and 100 years at its current location at 422 S. Magnolia St. in Palestine.
A s early as 1840, a Methodist Society was organized by John Wilson, a Crockett Mission supply pastor. These meetings were held at the home of Roland W. Box who lived near Fort Houston.
On July 13, 1846, Palestine was designated Anderson County seat and most of the Fort Houston settlers, including the Methodist Society, moved to the new town.
The Methodist church was the first to erect a building. It was located on what is now 812 North Mallard St.. In December 1847, the Palestine Circuit was created with Henderson D. Palmer as its first rider. Three years later the church was given the name Bascom Chapel in honor of the late Bishop Henry B. Bascom. The church served numerous congregations in the community for many years as Palestine’s sole house of worship.
In 1884, the Methodists built a new church named Centenary Church to commemorate the 100th anniversary of American Methodism. Centenary Church was a wooden structure with a tall steeple and was located near the intersection of Avenue A and North Mallard. The cornerstone of Centenary Church is now in the north wall of the sanctuary.
The present Gothic-style church was built in 1910 under the pastoral leadership of Dr. James Kilgore. It was formally dedicated as First Methodist Church on Sept. 3, 1911.
In 1968 when the Methodist Church and Evangelical United Brethren Church united and became the United Methodist Church, the name was changed to First United Methodist Church.
First United Methodist Church
Over the years, many improvements and changes were made. The sanctuary was remodeled in 1952 and a brick Children’s Building was built north of the sanctuary. A former residence across the street from the church was converted into a youth building. An elevator was installed in the church and additional parking space was provided. In 1986, the Carroll Building was erected.
In 1990, the church embarked on the “Room to Grow” campaign, resulting in a new fellowship hall, reconstruction of the old fellowship hall into a parlor and office space, remodeling projects in existing buildings, and a playground for the children.
In 1999, the church began a new campaign, this time an extensive renovation and modernization of the Children’s Building. The newly renovated Children’s Building was dedicated as the Jiles B. Upton Children’s Building on February 17, 2002.
The chancel area was once in the Northeast corner of the Sanctuary near the doors by the current wheelchair ramp and prayer room
The sanctuary, the third oldest in Palestine, is an architectural treasure. Its priceless stained glass windows reflect beauty, dignity and reverence. We began a campaign to “Restore the Glory” to our Continue reading