maintenance – on an historic church
Construction work at Seguin First United Methodist Church continues.
From the internet, Walker S. in San Diego, California writes:
I grew up in Seguin (’54 to ’66). This was my church. Every Sunday night I would join about 40 other youth for some games (four square), a meal (supper), singing and bible study. One of the church women’s groups (circles) prepared our meal; it was fresh cooked in the church kitchen. This was the peak period for membership growth in the United Methodist Church. But this church in Seguin kept expanding with open hearts and open minds. God bless my hometown church.
In 1991, Anne Brawner published a booklet entitled “150 Years of Methodism in Seguin 1841 – 1991”. Anne is an excellent writer, a meticulous researcher, and always willing to share her knowledge and her expertise. God bless Anne.
An excerpt from “150 years of Methodism” below:
When Anglo-American settlers began to move into Texas in the 1820s and 30s, they carried their Methodist beliefs with them. Because Mexican law required that all colonists conform to the established Roman Catholic religion, the first Protestant meetings were held in secrecy. Nevertheless, Methodists organized several “societies” in Northeast Texas, and after Texans won their independence from mexico in 1836, the Church sent three missionaries to the young Republic. On May 26, 1840, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church authorized the formation of the Texas Conference, to include all of the Republic of Texas, except a small area along the Red River.
The first meeting of the Texas Conference took place on Christmas Day, 1840, in Rutersville, a small community in Fayette county. Delegates divided the Texas Conference into three districts: the San Augustine District, the Rutersville District, and the Galveston District. From this small beginning the Methodist Church in Texas spread rapidly. By 1845 the Texas Conference had been divided into two conferences, which were named the Texas Conference and the East Texas Conference.
. . . In May of 1939, at a Uniting Conference held in Kansas City, the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the Methodist Protestant Church united to form The Methodist Church. At the same time, the West Texas Conference became the Southwest Texas Conference and absorbed the congregations of the Southern Annual Conference. Following the merger in 1968 of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren, the denomination became known as the United Methodist Church.
It is within the context of this larger story that the history of Methodism in Seguin unfolded. From the earliest services held under the oak trees on Government Square in 1841, through years of division and eventual reunification, Seguin’s Methodists gave evidence of their faith in God’s purpose for them.
We are extremely thankful for Anne’s “faith in God’s purpose” and her love of history, church, and her generosity in sharing her knowledge.
In 1951, the cornerstone for the First Methodist Church on Austin Street was put in place. The building was completed and formally opened on February 3, 1952.
Anne writes that “among those taking part in the opening services were Bishop A. Frank Smith and the Reverends Elmer J. Hierholzer, Pastor; Edwin C. Calhoun, District Superintendent; Lamar Leifeste, Associate Pastor; former pastors L. U. Spellman, C. M. Raby, James William Morgan, Bruce M. Cox, John Eeschner, E. F. Schuessler, Don Redmond; S. L. Batchelor, former District Superintendent; and S. R. Horwood, former associate pastor.
We moved to Seguin in December 1997 and shortly after, visited Seguin First Methodist Church. Reverend Tom Deviney was the pastor at that time. FUMC was such a welcoming church and we joined the church a few months after we initially visited.
Now, this Grand Church is not only getting a Facelift – but a much-needed Total Makeover.
Maintenance is required.
It is essential.
Roofs sometimes (after 60 years) may (and do!) leak. Stained glass is vulnerable and must be examined and made secure.
Old (old!) air conditioning and furnace units not only don’t last forever – but after a period of time, the parts for these units aren’t even available. Gutters begin to sag; drains become blocked; moisture seeps into the building. Paint peels.
The list goes on and now is definitely the time to restore this lovely structure of Worship. First United Methodist Church congregation recognizes that it doesn’t make sense to ignore the problems and leave it to our successors to deal with an even bigger problem.
This historic building is where we come to worship God, to fellowship, to be nourished and then sent out to do His work. As the work progresses, the church will not cut back on services and ministry.
We will restore this building and we will continue our ministries.
God is good and good things are happening!