Sunday, January 06, 2008

This Week in Texas Methodist History January 6

Herring Avenue Methodist Built in One Day January 11, 1911

Even a casual reader of Methodist documents from the turn of the 20th century will notice a spirit of optimism and confidence. There were ample grounds for such optimism. The Epworth League and Sunday Schools were in their heyday. Women were empowered as they had never been in Texas Methodism. The fruits of that empowerment included home and foreign missions, parsonage acquisition, and political activism in the fight for prohibition of alcoholic beverages. Many Texas Methodist institutions were finally financially sound. One expression of that confidence was a movement to create a university. (With the exception of medical education, previous efforts in higher education had been liberal arts colleges.) The Methodist Home in Waco was performing admirable service, thanks in part to the financial backing it received from evangelists Abe and Louisa Mulkey.

The Methodist Home provided the stage for a curious expression of the exuberant spirit of the times on January 11, 1911. It was on that day that a church building was constructed in a single day. The church, Herring Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church South, had 150 members. Many of them volunteered on that day. By 7:00 p.m. the Rev. Henry Munger was able to hold a worship service in the building which cost $1500.

The church was located across Herring Avenue from the Home. It served as the main worship venue for Home residents until the construction of the Home’s Chapel in 1941. On can view sequential photographs of the church construction in the Methodist Excitement.


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