History of The First Methodist Church

Bridgeport, Texas

608 17th Street

The Methodist Church in Bridgeport was organized officially in 1893, but even before then, as in many small towns, the faithful worshipped in the first floor of the Masonic Lodge building in " Old Town " Bridgeport where the Cemetery & Riding Club are now. A map showing the location of the Masonic Lodge building can be seen by clicking on "OLD TOWN BRIDGEPORT".

The first sermon believed to have been preached in Bridgeport 's "New Town" was on June 23, 1893, by Methodist circuit minister, Ben W. Bounds. These early meetings were held under an arbor near the first shaft worked by the Wise County Coal Mine.

In the fall of 1893, the first church building was a small box frame erected to house the Methodist Church on land deeded by Mr. & Mrs. Charles H. Hardcastle. This location became known as "Methodist Hill." This small building was later sold & became a part of Bridgeport 's first school building. A City of Bridgeport showing the location of the church can be seen by clicking on "METHODIST HILL"

Click on Images to Enlarge
A new church building was built in 1898, on the same site with Jack Lowery as our first resident minister. A two-story parsonage was built in 1909-1910, as well as an annex to our expanding church. A list of church members during this time period may be seen by clicking on "Church Members"
First Methodist Church & Parsonage

The year 1956, under the pastorate of Terry Atkinson, brought the idea of erecting a new church building. Not to be defeated by lack of funds, five men: Clarence Kaker, Johnny Edwards, Milton Manoushagian, Chet Arthur & John Burt, spearheaded a fund-raising campaign theme called "Thirty Pieces of Silver" & quickly $30,000 was accumulated. The project was off & running. Due to lack of space on "Methodist Hill", the congregation decided to move the church to land donated by W.A. Hutcheson, Lady Joy Hines Beeson, Mary Ann Hines Carlton & Embry Hines, Jr., all descendants of church families dating back to the early 1900's. The property is located at 608 17th Street.

The ground breaking ceremony for the new church building, the one we are in today, was held on June 25, 1961, & the first service was held on Palm Sunday, 1962, with the Consecration Service held on April 29th. Reverend Robert May was our pastor during this building phase, & that Christmas, he began the tradition of Christmas Eve Communion Service that we still have today.

A ground breaking ceremony was held on October 10, 1999 for an addition of more than 7500 sq. feet. Bishop William Oden & D. S., Gene Gordon, joined us for a dedication service on November 17, 2002 to bless & celebrate the completion of our new building. Photos of the church as it stands in 2007 are shown below.

The First Methodist Church of Bridgeport was awarded a Texas State Historical Marker in 2001. To view the marker material click on STATE MARKER
A list of the ministers of the First Methodist Church may be seen by clicking on "MINISTERS"
The church today represents over 100 years of love and hard work. May we continue proudly the heritage that has been passed on to the congegration..
The address of The First Methodist Church

web site is:

http://www.fumcbridgeport.com//

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