A History of Angleton FUMC
In 1880 before the town of Angleton was established, two dedicated women, Mrs. M.S. Munson and Mrs. James Jamison, decided to organize a Sunday School to further Christian education for the children and the community. This Sunday School met in the small house located at “Variety Grove” on the J.J. Ranch, home of J.J. Jamison, about three and one-half miles southwest of the present city of Angleton. A Miss Black, niece of Mrs. Munson, was tutor for the Jamison’s. She taught in the new Sunday School. The project prospered and the group soon overflowed the building. Meetings were then held under the oak trees on the ranch.
This called for action, so a log house with dirt floor was built near Oyster Creek Station, the work being done by some of the employees of the Munson and Jamison families. Furnished with backless benches, this became the first real church building.
As the Sunday School continued to grow, a new building was planned. A frame building with floors near the Sloan home became the next church. Here the benches had backs. What an improvement!
1892 – First Sanctuary
In 1892, when the town of Angleton was laid out by Kiber and Bryan, a choice lot, Block 35 was donated to the Methodist Church. Soon after the donation, a large frame building was erected on the south corner, facing south. Since this was the only church in town, all denominations worshiped here. One member is reported to have said, “You couldn’t tell the Methodists from the rest.” This was a circuit church with a minister holding services two Sundays a month. Sunday School and Epworth League meetings were held each week.
The first pastor of this church, by this time located in the town of Angleton, was Reverend C.M. Thompson, who came in 1892. The first presiding elder was Reverend O.T. Hotchkiss.
One list of the ministers who have served the First United Methodist Church, Angleton, contains this statement though, the writer is unidentified: “Mrs. Pearl Rucks says he (Ike Riley) was the first minister. I haven’t found his name in any of the church records, so he probably preached before the Angleton church was organized.”
The Reverend H.G. Williams became the second pastor with Brother Hillburn finishing his term.
The third pastor was Reverend J.L. Murray, whose pastorate fell during the1900 storm, which according to the Angleton Times, “devastated the town and destroyed not only the church but its early records as well.” An Angleton Times story published September 14, 1900, relates the storm’s effect on the church, its pastor and his family. “During the lull in the storm, the editor of the Times went to secure the services of Dr. Smith for Mr. Stamper, who had been badly hurt, and as he passed the heap of rubbish where formerly had stood the Methodist parsonage, Reverend Murray was humbly kneeling on the top of the pile, offering thanks to God for His mercy in sparing his little flock, all of whom were saved as by a miracle…”. The same report included a block-by-block description of the storm damage and experiences. The Times states, “The Methodist Church and parsonage are completely destroyed…”. Since the parsonage had also been destroyed, the church purchased a nearby house which had survived the storm in fair condition, and used this for the minister’s residence.
In the months between the storm and conference Brother Murray was extremely busy with plans to start construction of a new building. In the fall he transferred to the Montana Conference and was replaced by the Reverend E.L. Ingram who completed the building which was described in one church record as “nicely furnished and boasting an acetylene-gas light, a fine double-reed organ, and a wonderful bell.” In the mean time, services were held in temporary quarters.
Then came the 1909 storm, and the “new” church building was destroyed. The bell, of which the congregation was so proud fell tearing out one corner of the building. So great was the destruction that the remaining lumber was sold for $2.75.
The Reverend M.F. Daniel was pastor during construction of the new stone building erected in 1910 on the same spot as the former church: it consisted of two rooms and a vestibule. By 1918 all debt had been cleared, and the building was dedicated.
By 1924 expansion was necessary, and another building program was begun under the leadership of the Reverend J.M. Ball. The choir and pulpit were moved; Sunday School rooms and an improvised kitchen were partitioned off by folding doors.
By 1934 still more room was needed. The Reverend W.J. Richards drew the plans and supervised the construction of the northeast annex which provided additional classrooms downstairs and a kitchen, classroom and recreation room upstairs.
During the pastorate of the Reverend Morris House, who came to Angleton in 1945, an addition was constructed on the southwest side to include classrooms and a pastor’s study upstairs with recreation hall and kitchen downstairs. The north east annex was converted entirely to classrooms, and the sanctuary was completely remodeled. These projects were completed and the building was ready for worship in 1949.
1961 – Education Expansion
The Reverend Vernon Cornelius was pastor in 1961, when yet another addition was made to provide more classrooms for the children’s department.
In 1962, the Reverend Lewis Nichols as pastor, the church began a building campaign, which continued through the pastorate of Reverend Byron Lovelady. Plans were made for a new sanctuary, Fellowship hall, offices and chapel.
In May, 1970 the old sanctuary and northeast annex were demolished, and the current structure was begun. The Reverend Louis Sada was pastor at the time.
While construction was underway, Sunday School classes continued in the educational wing, but church services were held in the theater next door.
On April 16, 1971, the first service was held in the new church sanctuary; the consecration took place on May 9, 1971, with Bishop Kenneth Copeland officiating. The Church celebrated the one hundredth year anniversary of its first services in 1980. The building indebtedness was paid that year and the church was dedicated on November 16, 1980 by Bishop Finas A. Crutchfield of the Texas Conference. In 1992 the church celebrated its one hundredth year anniversary of being in this location. During these anniversary years former pastors filled the pulpit on numerous Sundays.
The physical plant has continued to grow with the membership, one recent addition being the purchase of the E.L. Boston home on East Magnolia for a parsonage, while the old parsonage next to the church has been retained for other uses. In 1990, the church purchased six lots across the street from the sanctuary. The Beacon (theater) Building and parking lot was secured in 1992 for future expansion. At present this building has been leased for income.
In 1997, during the pastorate of Reverend Dan Danheim, a capital funds campaign was begun to build a Family Life Center originally planned to be erected on the six lots across the street from the sanctuary. During the years 2000-2004 plans changed for the Family Life center to be constructed on the north end of the existing church property and be attached to the existing Fellowship hall and education wing on two floors. This would require the demolition of the old parsonage and playground. A new playground was constructed in 2005 on the six lots across the street from the sanctuary.
Family Life Center
The Family Life Center consists of: a full service Kitchen, Fellowship hall (with a full court for sports activities, worship services, and special programs), Youth room for all youth activities, full stage (for concerts, special programs, and praise band activities), two Projectors (for use in worship and special programs), an elevator that will provide access to both the youth room and the existing second floor of the church education wing.
The addition of the Family Life Center allowed for the remodeling of the existing Kitchen, Fellowship Hall and existing classrooms into Offices, a new Library with Glass door and walls, a new main lobby, a new Parlor, new Brides room/Classroom and a new work room.
The new Family Life Center and remodeling work was completed and the grand opening was held on April 29, 2007 lead by Reverend Bob Sinclair. Soon after, the contemporary worship service was moved from the sanctuary to the new Family Life Center. The traditional worship service continues to be held in the existing Sanctuary.
In 2008 the existing Narthex, hallway and restrooms of the existing sanctuary were remodeled replacing the carpet with stone tiles and the sanctuary carpet was replaced.