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History of First United Methodist Church of Van Alstyne


Our Heritage ... Transforming Lives for Jesus Christ for 150+ years


Our church has evolved from the early days of Texas

1847 A small group of early Texas pioneers formed the Old Liberty Class of Methodism, known as The Class, in a family's log cabin home on the Grayson- Collin County line here in north Texas.

1856 Growth in members resulted in the building of a chapel in the nearby town of Mantua, and The Class was renamed Mt. Zion Methodist Church. The church was given conference recognition and Y.S. McKinney was appointed its first circuit rider pastor.

1873 At the founding of Van Alstyne by the Houston and Central Railroad, Mt. Zion church dismantled it chapel. The chapel was moved and rebuilt on a site which is now part of the current Van Alstyne cemetery. Mt. Zion was Van Alstyne's first church.

1885 First Women's Society organized as a Ladies Aid Society. Through the years, this women's organization has gone through several name changes.

1893 Continued growth in membership necessitated the erection of a new, larger steepled building at Waco and Jefferson streets in Van Alstyne. At this time, the church was renamed The Van Alstyne Methodist Episcopal Church.historicalmarkerweb

1894 First district Epworth League of the Southern Methodist Church in north Texas was organized in our Sanctuary to focus on young people and youth.

1904 Our church sponsored its first missionary, Miss Helen Hickman, for special service in Brazil.

1917 Present Sanctuary building completed and dedicated.

1917 Our church became the official sponsor of Boy Scout Troop 1, the third oldest troop in Texas and the fifth oldest troop in the nation. Troop 1 was chartered in 1913 and today is known as Troop 44. We continue to be the chartering organization for Troop 44.

1937 The church was renamed First Methodist Episcopal Church South and then in 1938 the name was changed again to The Methodist Church.

1946, youth groups were reorganized into the Methodist Youth Fellowship.

1968 When national ecumenical accords were reached, the present name, First United Methodist Church of Van Alstyne, Texas was established.

1972 Texas Historical Commission recognized our church with an official Texas historical marker.

1973 All women's groups of the Methodist churches joined to be the United Methodist Women (UMW).

1987 Major renovations to the Sanctuary building were completed.

1992 The WEE School was established at our church. Wee School offers a pre-K program for children two to four years of age.

2001 A new, modern Christian education and activity facility, the Sanford Activities Center was built adjacent to the Sanctuary building.

The historic stained glass windows in our Sanctuary have been using God's light to provide inspiration for our congregation for generations, as well as memorializing some of our early members.

Our rich heritage has developed throughout the evolution of our church and would not have been possible without God's hand and the members of our church who have kept the church and the community of faith alive, vibrant and thriving for the past century and a half... and continuing on for the next centuries into the future.


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