Our Rich History

Even before the organization of Temple, Texas as a town, there was a “Methodist Society” which met in a school called Double File, located west of Hickory Road. The congregation of twenty-seven members became the nucleus of the First Methodist Church in Temple, which worshiped in the Old School Presbyterian Church on selected Sunday evenings. 


The congregation had grown to seventy-five members when they moved into their own building on Avenue B and Fourth Street in late 1884. At the time, Temple was still on a preaching circuit with Troy and Rogers. It was not until 1886 that the church had a full time minister.


In 1891, ninety members left what was then called the First Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to form a new congregation in South Temple called Seventh Street Methodist Episcopal Church, South. That same year, land was purchased on the corner of Adams and Second Street for the erection of a new building for First Methodist Episcopal Church South. 


The new stone church, completed in 1895, was a source of great pride. However, because of the growth of the congregation, the need for new Sunday School rooms soon arose.

Money was being raised and plans were being made to modernize the building when, during the night of November 22, 1911, the building burned. Construction was begun in the fall of 1912, and was completed in 1914, on what is now the south domed portion of the present structure. Reverend Bob Shuler, pastor at the time of the construction, returned to preach the first sermon in the new sanctuary. 


In 1939, the two separate denominations, Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church South reunited, and became the Methodist Church. The church's name then became First Methodist Church. 


In 1954, yet another need arose for expansion. Under the leadership of Reverend Maggart Howell, a sum of $250,000 was raised to build a new education building, including adult classrooms, nurseries, and kindergarten rooms. The old parsonage that had stood next to the church since 1904 was sold and was removed to make space for the new building. 


Ten years later, during the years of 1964 to 1967, the church embarked on another major remodeling and expansion project. A new parsonage was built on 15th Street. Two lots were purchased for parking. New carpet, furniture, and faceted glass windows were added to the Sanctuary. Reverend Ervin Gathings was the minister during this time of building improvements.



In 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren Church united with the Methodist Church, forming what is now called the United Methodist Church. The church's name then became First United Methodist Church.


Under the leadership of Dr. H. Gordon Dennis, who became pastor in 1975, the church experienced yet more new growth. This required other significant additions. A family life center with a banquet area and kitchen facilities was constructed, as was a youth recreation area. Existing classrooms were renovated, a new parlor was added, and new administrative offices were constructed.


In late 2004, a new Reuter Pipe Organ was installed. In 2014, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of our historic sanctuary with many activities.