First United Methodist Church of Rockport, Texas
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Growing Families in Christ

Our Methodist History

 200 Years of Methodist History in Texas
 175 Years in the Crossroads Area
 145 Years in Coastal Bend Mission Field:  Rockport, TX      FUMC Rockport Historical Brochure

·   1815  Pioneer preacher Rev. William Stevenson, held the first recorded Methodist preaching service in Texas.   Transferred his membership from Missouri to Mississippi Conference.   Father of Rev. James P. Stevenson.

·   1830  Twenty families immigrated to the Mexican State of Texas-Coahuila and settled on the Navidad River approximately 25 miles east of current day Victoria, Texas, establishing the town of Texana.

·   1833  An itinerant preacher held services for Methodists in Texana.

·   1833  Rev. James P. Stevenson is credited as being the head of The McMahan Society and later the first Methodist Church on Texas soil near Milam, Texas.

·    1834  Henry Stevenson and Enoch Whatley, members of Mississippi Conference were sent to the Sabine Circuit in Louisiana with instruction to spend half their time in Texas.  They were assisted by Uriah Whatley, Joseph P. Sneed, Jephta Huges, James English, all Methodist Preachers, and Sumner Bacon, a Presbyterian minister.

·    1836   General Conference held in Cincinnati, appraised of the issue of the battle of San Jacinto…cast its eye over the new ‘mission field’, and Dr. Martin Ruter was appointed superintendent of the Texas Mission, and Robert Alexander and Littleton Fowler were appointed his co-laborers.

·    1840  Letter from Rev. Robert Alexander, presiding elder of the Rutersville District writes, “Victoria is not supplied, though I have made every effort…their request for help becomes louder and more importunate.”    Itinerant preachers – circuit riders – were endeavoring to feed the sheep in the wilderness regions of Texas and laying groundwork for the establishment of a Texas Conference.

(Information taken from Walking Orderly by Martha Nichols)

·        1870  The first deed of FUMC (located at the corner of Live Oak and By Streets) was recorded in Refugio County.

·        1872  The first Clergy was appointed to the Rockport Charge.  His name was Rev. H.G. Horton, a young preacher from Georgia                   appointed by Rev. John Wesley Devilbiss, the presiding elder of the District.   Rev. Horton stayed in Rockport until 1874 when he               was transferred to the Paine Chapel in San Antonio which became Travis Park Methodist Church. 

 ·        1914  The church re-located to its present site at 801 Main St. on May 6th .

 ·        1930  Dreams for expansion were met with the reality of the Depression.

 ·        1939   Parsonage was moved onto the church property.  No records show cost or method of payment however,  a laymen, Curtis                     Harrist, recalls ”the parsonage was located on old business route 35 approximately a block on the left hand side of the road from                     what was the old post office for years and is now the tax appraisal office.  A year later the parsonage was sold to Milton (Cotton)                     Mundine and another house was moved in by the church for the parsonage.”   Rev. Leonard Miller moved in with his family to the                     two-bedroom and one bath home.

 ·        1942   Ladies of the church got their Annex with two small rooms,  a kitchen, and assembly room.

 ·        1951   Notes written by Rene Stubbs speak about Rev. Calvin Peterson was in favor of building a new church and the Building                      Committee began planning.   Mr. Joseph Hans, AIA, of Corpus Christi and Mr. C.C. Fowler was hired as supervisor of project.                          Groundbreaking occurred on November 14,1954 and Rev. Dana Green inherited the dream and issues of building a new                                structure. 

 ·        1953  Organ Dedication and Homecoming  January 11, 1953.

 ·        1955   A new sanctuary was opened on May 29th at 10:45a.m. with an open house all day and a homecoming dinner at noon.                      Complete with lifetime Appalachian oak furniture, the building was constructed at a cost of approximately $35,000.  The                                    sanctuary, seating 250 people, was dedicated on June 20, 1965.   Bishop O. Eugene Slater presided.

 ·        1959   Rev. A.N. Bankert and the Building Committee decided a new Fellowship Hall and Sunday School rooms were needed to make                        room for a growing congregation.   On September 27, 1960, the Charge Conference authorized to building plan for Fellowship                      Hall and Nine Classrooms at the cost of $30,000 and Seth Steele was hired as the contractor.  

  ·        1961   Fellowship Hall and Sunday School Wing were completed.

  ·        1964   The church’s property was filled and the church began discussions on the need for a new parsonage.   Two lots were purchased                  in January on Shadyside Drive for $4,000.  By October, a three bedroom, two bath home was completed and the Rev. B.H.                          Bohmfalk and his family moved into it in November.  The home and furniture cost $28,598.09.    A note was taken out for                              $22,000, the Building Fund paid out $98.09.  Including the previous Fellowship Hall debt of $13,000, the total debt of the church                  became $35,000 in October of that year.

  ·        1972   Castaways Thrift Shop, Inc. since its creation in 1972 when it was not a shop, but merely a weeky rummage sale.

  ·        1974    the first Castaways' facility was purchased.

  ·        1989   AIM Hospice was founded, the Methodist Pastor made himself available for patients. Jodie Ware, FUMC member and Hospice                    Volunteer Coordinator has had, in the past, several Methodist members serving with her as volunteers to help with patients.

  ·        1989   Methodists were a part of the Aransas County Ministerial Association which formed a committee to develop an agency to                              evaluate and minister to the emergency needs of the low-income population. From this committee, under the leadership of                           Methodist, John Leslie, the Good Samaritan organization was developed.

  ·        1991   The FUMC of Rockport received a Texas State Historical Marker.

  ·         Mid-1990’s   Brought the remodeling of the Sunday School Wing and the opening of the First Learning Tree daycare center

 

  ·        1992   In September, First Learning Tree Parent’s Day Out opened with 2 classrooms for children 18 months to 4 years of age.

  ·       1995   ACCESS was registered as a non-profit entity with the County Clerk. FUMC provided office and counseling space in its buildings                in 1996.

  ·       The Methodist Men framed, roofed and landscaped the first Habitat for Humanity home built in Aransas County. They continue to      provide their services as each new house is built.

  

  ·        1997  First Learning Tree opened as a full time children’s center licensed by The Texas Department of Child Protection Service, for                 children 18 months to 13 years of age on April 24th, 1997. 

  ·        Prescription Assistance Program for providing assistance to persons who quality, to receive prescriptions their doctors have prescribed.      This program is also run by volunteers and has helped many people in need for this service. 

 

  ·        2000    With the completion of the new wing which included a Fellowship Hall, kitchen, choir and 2 additional infant classrooms, First                   Learning Tree expanded September 6th  to included infants into the program and increased their capacity to 111 children.  

  ·        2001   On May 6, 2001, the Rev. Dr. Geo Joehnk  hosted the Consecration of the newly expanded and remodeled building, District                        Superintendent Rev. Keith Wyatt also presided.

  ·        2012   In November, Rev. Laura Hewett Becker encouraged to pay off the debt of the church in one “Thanksgiving Offering” so that the                 congregation would have freedom to dream with God unhindered.   By December 31, 2012, the debt of the remodeling project                      was paid in full.

  ·        2013   The January meeting of the Church Council set their agenda to dream with God and seek to plant and grow new seeds                           (disciples) for Christ.   It became apparent that God was leading us to serve and grow the families connected with our First                       Learning Tree ministry. In order to accomplish this growth, plans to build a facility for FLT emerged.  

  ·        2013  In early Spring financial gifts were given in faith and readiness to explore options of potential property surrounding the church.                  Conversation began with local owners and realtor and by the end of May we closed on two properties adjacent to our Annex on                St. Mary’s Street.  The Summer was given to the process of seeking the closing and acquiring of St. Mary’s Street.    In the                           Fall, we began our Capital Campaign for the purchase of property and building soft cost.    The mortgage will be incorporated                       into the FLT operating budget.   Texas Methodist Foundation is providing the funds and holding our note.  

  ·        2014   Ground-Breaking was held and construction on First Learning Tree began.

  ·       August 17th,2014 Grand Opening of First Learning Tree's new facility for serving our Rockport Families with young children.

  • Spring of 2016  Partnered with Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation and Methodist Healthcare Ministries to provide Rockport Community with a Mobile Clinic every Monday.