Our History

Since its beginnings in 1859. Wharton First United Methodist Church has been a place where people meet God. In tribute to that heritage, the First Methodist’s family today remains deeply committed to providing spiritual leadership for the city of Wharton.

While every new year brings growth and change, our mission remains the same. Year after year, we seek to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ by building a community of faith in which people can experience the love and hope that will transform their own lives and those of others.

In this new century we look to the future with confidence and excitement.

The Beginning (1835-1865)

Early Methodist services in the Wharton area can be traced to 1835 when a camp meeting was held in Egypt, Texas. The Wharton congregation began meeting in 1859 and was officially organized in 1865.

Years of Struggle (1885-1951)

In 1885 members built a church on Caney Street near its’ intersection with North Houston Street. This building was sold to the St. John’s Lutheran Church in 1898 and the Methodist Church moved to a new site on Fulton Street.

The first sanctuary there was destroyed in the 1909 storm, but the congregation immediately rebuilt. The new Church was ready for worship by 1910. This cement block building had a sanctuary with art-glass windows, three classrooms, and a small office.

In 1925, tragedy struck once again: a fire completely ruined the church destroying the building and all records, including those of Egypt’s original Methodist congregation.

The Members rebuilt - AGAIN-this time a much larger red-brick building with the sanctuary and office built above a large basement which held a large Sunday School assembly hall, numerous classrooms, and a kitchen. It was ready for worship in 1927. Wharton’s first ecumenical Vacation Bible School was held at First Methodist Church in 1930.

Growing and Taking Root (1951-1971)

The church grew and more space was needed, so in 1951, an L-shaped Education Building was added at ground level on the north side of the church. The new parsonage on Meadow Lane was built in 1957 and the old one on the south side of the church was converted into additional classrooms.

A New Church (1971-1973)

After many months and even years of planning, our present church site was purchased. On September 13, 1971, the formal ground breaking service was held and the building got underway. Bishop Kenneth W. Copeland and our District Superintendent, Harry V. Rankin, were present to celebrate with us.

We worshipped in our present church, which was designed to blend old and new traditions, for the first time on Christmas Sunday, December 24, 1972. Approximately on month later, January 21, 1973, Bishop Copeland was present to preside over our formal consecration service. It was a great day for us all!

Today’s Church Takes Shape (1973-Present)

Our church has been strengthened and blessed by the addition of other nearby Methodist Churches now closed: Glen Flora (which merged with Wharton in 1975), Lane City (which closed in 1980), and St. John’s, Newgulf (which closed in1981).

The church building debt was paid in March, 1987, and on March 29, 1987 our church was dedicated. We continue to grow and be blessed every year.

Praise the Lord for our Church!