First United Methodist Church
Coleman, Texas
by Drucilla George

from A History of Coleman County and Its People, 1985 
edited by Judia and Ralph Terry, and Vena Bob Gates - used by permission

The church was organized by the Rev. W. C. Brodie in the upper room of the stone building known as the Paddleford building in 1881.  Even earlier, there had been other Methodist ministers holding services in this wild, western country.  Then in 1876, the Northwest Texas Conference began sending pioneer Methodist ministers to hold religious services.  There were nine charter members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South: Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Collier, Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Bailey, Mr. and Mrs. T. J. White, Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Overall, and Mr. S. E. Lea.  Present membership is 512.  The early church as well as other religious groups, met in the court room though it was not considered of safe construction.  Later a Presbyterian missionary with some funds from the Church Board of Extension of the Presbyterian Church and with subscriptions from the citizens of Coleman, built the first church.  It served not only the Presbyterians, but also the Methodist, Baptist, and Christian Churches.

The Methodists bought the block (Clow’s Additional No. One, Block 22 – 500 block of West Live Oak Street) on which the present church stands, and in 1889 under the pastorate of Rev. C. H. Oswalt, built the first church, a building with Gothic windows.  The church also built on that block a parsonage.  Earlier there had been provided for the ministers a humble place just above the high water mark on Hords Creek near the present depot. The second parsonage was built on the southeast corner of the block (500 block of West Live Oak Street), later it was moved to the northeast corner of the lot.  In 1906 the north half of the block was sold, including the parsonage, and the third parsonage was built on the southwest corner of the block.


Coleman Methodist Church - built 1889

Image from a colored commemorative plate about 1889

Photograph taken in the 1890's

Weatherred Sunday School Class—1914

Front: Dr. Pope, J. C. Pope, Charles Smith, Jess Smith, ?, ?, fudge Weatherred, ?, ?, Garland Woodward, David Snodgrass, ?;
2nd row: Wade Golson, Candler, Tom Langford, ?, ?, F. K. Thompson, ]. T. Blair, ?, Dan Watson, Alex Crawford, ]. ]. Roberts,;
3rd row: ?, J. Lee Mayes, Tommy Wilhoit, ?, Cris Pitts, ?, ?, ? ?, W. C. Gay, ~
top row: Rufus D. Johnston, Sol Thompson, ?, T. F. D. Shepherd, ?, Joel Hicks, Charley Williams, ?, ?, Marvin McClure, Chap Fads, Y


Overall Bible Class - 1920's

Front: Mrs. J. P. Morris, Mrs. Zula Kemp, Mrs. J. R. Robey, Mrs. J. E. Stevens, Mrs. C. M. Alexander [teacher]
rear: Miss Anna Weatherred, Mrs. Cora Orr, Mrs. Wal. Taylor, Mrs. Ella Mulkey, Mrs. F. K. Thompson, and Mrs. Grundy Gaines


As the years rolled by and the church members increased in number, the church building grew too small,” according to Mrs. Overall.  “Under the pastorate of Rev. M. K. Little, a liberal subscription was raised and the present church edifice was built.”  In the summer of 1916, the church was completed and a “Greeting Service” was held, arranged by the Rev. Mr. Little.  Tiffany art glass windows portrayed Biblical scenes and church leaders and symbols and preserved the memory of early church members.  A bronze plaque on the front of the Martha Tye Overall memorial organ was inscribed, “Let anthems ring to the Glory of God.”  The committee for the construction of this building included the following: J. B. Pitts, G. W. Candler, J. P. Morris, Dr. C. M. Alexander, W. J. Robey, F. L. Snodgrass, Mrs. M. Tye Overall, J. E. Stevens, Mrs. J. P. Morris, Mrs. J. M. Crawford, D. J. McNamara, Dr. J. G. Pope, W. F. Leonard, T. L. Stevens, W. C. Gay, and J. W. Golson.

First United Methodist Church - Second building erected in 1916
picture taken about 1935

Dome Window on Former
First Methodist Church
(built in 1916)
Coleman, Texas
Commemorating Its
Charter Members
of March 13, 1881

--- Drawn by Lottie John Weatherred


Soon after 1951, with the assignment of the Rev. J. D. F. Williams to this church and with the recognition that the church needed a new building to meet the needs of the congregation, plans began to be formulated.  At First Quarterly Conference on September 20, 1951, a resolution was adopted which would constitute a Building Recommendation Committee to study needs and set up committees.  At the special Quarterly Conference on March 12, 1953, this committee composed of Rev. J. D. F. Williams, Mrs. Hal Woodward, Mrs. T. L. Stevens, John Dix, J. T. Saunders, E. C. Edens and Mrs. J. S. Lefevre, proposed that we definitely reject any idea of remodeling the old building and that the Conference constitute a plans committee to formulate a plan of building needs, select a competent architect to prepare preliminary plans, and devise and execute whatever financial program necessary.  This plans committee was as follows: J. D. F. Williams, pastor, J. T. Saunders, E. C. Edens, Mrs. C. J. Gordon, Mrs. T. L. Stevens, Raymond McElrath, Mrs. Raymond McElrath, Mrs. Hal Woodward, John Dix, Frank Stevens, W. H. Thate, C. R. Jeanes, I. A. Clark, and Gladys Townsen.

First United Methodist Church about 1960

In June, 1955, Reverend Urban A. Schulze was assigned to this church.  The superannuate home back of the parsonage was moved to a lot on the corner of Nueces and Peach; later the parsonage was moved to the corner of Cottonwood and North Blanco and remodeled.  In January, 1956, a Special Quarterly Conference elected the following Building Committee: Urban A. Schulze, pastor, T. A. Clark, J. T. Saunders, Joe Stevens, Gerald Swann and Mrs. C. J. Gordon.  In December of that same year, a church conference authorized the erection of the building in the architect’s drawing dated November 19, 1956.  Ground breaking was on June 9, 1957; the first service was held on March 31, 1958.  New furnishings for the sanctuary were provided through memorial and honorarium gifts under a plan sponsored by the Wesleyan Service Guild. The windows and the organ from the old church were preserved and used “to the glory of God.”

Upon completion of the sanctuary, offices and one wing of the education building, the church was now ready to build the remainder of the educational space, the fellowship hall and the chapel.  Rev. Marvin Bledsoe was pastor during much of this time.  The building program was completed with the provision for a parking lot at the rear.  This, as well as much in the chapel, including the rose window, was given as a memorial.  Also given as memorials have been two homes for retired ministers.  Only one of these is still in use, but the church has been blessed beyond measure by the families who have occupied them.

For many years the congregation had recognized the need for a new parsonage.  Finally in 1976 the board authorized the parsonage committee under the leadership of Dr. A. O. Brink to select and recommend for purchase a suitable home for the minister and his family.  Late in 1978 such a home was found at 1500 West Hill Lane, the fourth parsonage provided by this congregation in its long history.

Meeting the needs of the less fortunate locally has been a recognized responsibility of the congregation always.  In 1973, Ethel Gordon and a committee from the United Methodist Women opened a clothing room.  The church also maintains a pantry.  A church bus offers transportation to church groups, but also to participants in the nutrition program.

Through the years a helping hand has been extended to other church groups locally.  Among the projects this has included a chapel on the north side of town and later sponsoring and helping to build Trinity United Methodist Church in 1947.  More recently the United Methodist Women helped the A. M. E. Church renovate their church building.  One of the responsibilities of the Quarterly Conference each January is to hear a report from the trustees of the Overall Memorial Hospital and elect a Board of Trustees for the ensuing year.  One of the items checked by the conference is the amount of charity work done.

In 1975 under the leadership of the Reverend Leonard Radde and Dr. M. D. Mann the church began a television ministry making worship with the congregation possible for homebound Coleman people.  Using this facility, the Methodist Youth Fellowship, assisted by Jess Haynes and Bill Dick Hickman, and merchants and others of Coleman, have since 1978 been conducting a telethon each January to collect funds for the Abilene Rehabilitation Center.  Over $12,000 has been collected in this manner during these four years.

Through the years the church has not only met to worship but also has met to study.  At present, in addition to the children and youth divisions, the adults study in two men’s classes, three women’s classes, and two classes for both men and women.

Replacing the Missionary Society and the Women’s Society of Christian Service of earlier years is the United Methodist Women composed of five groups: The Susannah, The Koinonia, The Aldersgate Guild, The Bettie Morris, and the Hannah.  Not only do these groups meet for study and worship, but also for fellowship and for carrying out various projects both locally and around the world.  One of these has been to award scholarships to students going to McMurry.

In addition to the local ministry Coleman First United Methodist Church has a part in the benevolent and mission programs of the church at large.  This includes gifts to Texas Methodist colleges, Wesley Foundations maintained near college campuses, ministerial education, black colleges and camps.  Also included are gifts to hospitals, world service, and disaster relief. Mission programs at home and abroad also have a place in the budget.  For some years the local church has been privileged to have a part in making possible the work of a particular missionary in a foreign land.  Two of these recently have been John L. Grove, an educator, and now Terry Henderson, an agriculture specialist; both in Mexico.  John Ed Francis in Japan is yet another in whom we have had a special interest.

Pastors who have served the church since its founding on March 13, 1881, and whose names appear on a plaque in the narthex total forty-six.  In chronological order, they are as follows: W. C. Brodie, C. W. Daniel, W. A. Gilleland, J. C. S. Baird, John F. Neal, R. Lane, H. C. Jolly, A. P. Smith, C. V. Oswalt, M. B. Johnston, A. E. Carraway, C. D. Jordan, J. W. Adkinson, E. K. Bransford, W. H. Moss, W. C. Hilburn, R. J. Birdwell, W. J. Hearon, W. W. Moss, W. H. Howard, S. J. Rucker, M. K. Little, H. L. Munger, T. S. Armstrong, W. G. Bailey, J. H. Baldridge, J. W. W. Schuler, E. H. Lightfoot, Sam G. Thompson, J. A. Siceloff, W. H. Vanderpool, D. K. Porter, A. S. Gafford, Floyd Johnson, L. Bowman Craven, J. W. Whitefield, Wallace Dunson, J. D. F. Williams, Urban A. Schultz, Marvin Bledsoe, Floyd Boulware, Guy Purdue, Glenn Bowman, Leonard Radde, Vernon R. Whittington, and Pat McClatchy.


(See additional information and images of the Coleman Methodist Church, see the Coleman Virtual Directory, 500 West Live Oak Street.)

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This page updated May 30, 2005
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