Maypearl First United Methodist Church will host its 60th annual Lord’s Acre celebration on Saturday, Oct. 19 beginning at 11 a.m.
A BBQ lunch will kick things off while members and visitors place their bids in a silent auction. Adult lunches will be $8 each, while lunches for children under 12 will be $3. At 1 p.m., a live auction will begin, led by local auctioneer James Lewis Parten.
The church will also host a drawing for a brand new, 58-inch Samsung Smart TV with Alexa and Google Assist capabilities. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and can be purchased at the door or from any church member.
All proceeds from the annual fundraising event will be put directly back into facilities maintenance for the church, along with serving the church’s mission of supporting the community and those in need.
Steeped in history, Maypearl First United Methodist Church has attended to that mission for 115 years. But even before the church was officially organized in 1904, members gathered under the trees and in tabernacle-like sheds to hear the good word.
“Our church is 115 years old, and we’ve been in the same spot since it was organized,” said church member Cindy Jacobson.
“We are the only original church in town,” added Janice Faries, the church's unofficial historian.
“I grew up in the church,” she continued, “(It) is the only church I have ever known (and has been) my ancestors church for four generations.”
Services were held as early as 1901 under the direction of Rev. J. J. Canafax, a Methodist minister who lived at the Bethel parsonage, according to church records. By the time Canafax left the church circuit in late 1903, there were already 36 church members on the roll.
The ministry would add still more followers before member and contractor Fred S. Williams built an official meeting place in 1904. According to documents provided by Faries, “(the) building still stands on the two lots sold to the church for $2 by the Smith Land and Improvement Company.”
Maypearl First United Methodist Church began as the Maypearl Methodist Episcopal Church South on a circuit with four other churches under the pastorship of Rev. C. A. Clark. The church expanded quickly. By 1910, the church had joined the Central Texas Conference, adding more locations to the circuit by 1914.
Physical expansion began in the 1920s, when Sunday school rooms were added to the original structure. In the late 30s and early 40s, lots around the church were purchased to make room for parking and a parsonage.
An education building was added in 1957, erected from the salvaged lumber of the Greathouse Baptist Church and School. The building is now used for dinners and other get-togethers, as well as for Sunday school classes.
“And we have shared that building with other churches that needed a meeting place,” said Jacobson, whose mother, Ann Bynum, was also a church member.
According to a write-up from the Grandview Tribune in 2005, Bynum was instrumental in helping to maintain a longstanding piece of church history — a family quilt, made in 1928, which still hangs in the church today.
“The squares in (the quilt) were actually done by different families in the church, and they’ve got the family names in there,” recalled church member Tommy Faries, Janice’s husband. “We actually have people periodically … that will hear about that quilt, and they’ll come … and want to look at it because of their ancestors.”
Janice and Tommy stumbled upon the quilt top in a box in the attic of the church parsonage while helping Pastor Ken Bergeron and his family move out in 1993.
“Needless to say, it has been put in a glass case and is hanging on the wall now,” Tommy said.
The church held its first Lord’s Acre in October of 1959, led by Rev. J. W. Sellers.
“He was also our speaker at our 100th (anniversary) celebration on May 2 of 2004,” Janice said.
Money raised from annual Lord’s Acre events then helped the church make needed renovations in the 1960s: a fresh coat of paint on the interior walls, paneling behind the pulpit, new carpet and new pews, concrete sidewalks and landscaping outside.
These funds have continued to assist Maypearl congregation in maintaining their historic building — while keeping its historical integrity intact.
“The people ahead of us have kept it as close to the original as possible,” Tommy said. “The original cornerstones with the names of the trustees is still on the building.”
One thing that has changed about the Maypearl church is the height of its steeples. When lightning struck the church in November of 1984, a fire began in one of the steeples. High storm winds also caused damage, and lowering the steeples was considered. The project was completed in 1991.
Stained glass windows were added to the front of the church in 1993 and 1994 depicting the Good Shepherd and Jesus and his loving children. The pieces were given to the church to honor the memory of members Doris Sisk Chester and William and Faye Childers.
Today, services are still held every Sunday in the original 1904 structure, led by Dr. Art Torpy. The church is located at 301 West 3rd Street in Maypearl.
“Maypearl United Methodist Church is my family,” Janice and Tommy agreed, “and we all work together to make it a place that we will be proud of.”