This Week in Texas Methodist History July 1
Bishop Hendrix Dedicates New
Building in Galveston, July 6, 1902
rightly stress the importance of the Galveston
storm of 1900 as one of the turning points in our state’s history. Political historians point to the reforms in
municipal government known as the “Galveston Plan” that followed the
disaster. Urban historians point out
that that the destruction of Galveston helped Houston become the dominant port of the western Gulf of Mexico.
Historians of technology remain fascinated by the construction of the
seawall and raising the grade behind that seawall.
Texas Methodist history also took a dramatic turn after the
Galveston storm of
1900. The most important development was
the merger of two MECS churches, Saint
John’s and Saint James’s. Since the new church location was between the
previous locations at the corner of 19th
Street and Ave. I, the church was renamed . The magnificent church building was designed
to accommodate about 800 to 1000 worshippers by using a sliding partition
between Sunday School rooms and the auditorium.
Central Methodist Church
The pastor who spearheaded the merger and construction was the Rev. Seth Ward, probably the most prominent member of the Texas Annual Conference of the era. When it came time for the dedicatory service on July 6, 1902, he invited Bishop Eugene R. Hendrix (1847-1927) of
to come deliver the sermon. Ward knew
that he would not enjoy the fruits of his labors in Galveston.
Ward had been named assistant missionary secretary. The new position required a move to Nashville. July 6 would mark the last Sunday Seth Ward
would serve a local church appointment. In
1906 he was elected bishop, becoming the first native-born Texan to achieve
that position. The new preacher, Rev.
Eugene R. Crawford arrived on July 13to assume the Central pastorate. In 1906 Central Methodist changed its name to
. First Methodist Church
The 1902 building served the congregation until 1964. As the building aged, the congregation decided to relocate rather than refurbish. The generosity of Libbie Shearn Moody allowed the congregation to build a strikingly handsome church in a new location (53rd and Ave. U). The name of the church was changed to Moody Memorial at that time.
Church in Galveston is the successor to West End
Methodist and 33rd St.
Methodist. It took the name “Central” in