This Week in Texas Methodist History March 24
Orleans---At the last
West Texas Conference the Rev. T. W. Biggs was appointed to .
He was judged to be a very fit man for that very important frontier rail
road city, which les on the border of Laredo Mexico
and . His first and greatest need is a church
building, and to this work he is now addressing himself. If Southern Methodism would hold the keys of
the state of Texas
we must do by faith and works. That she has the faith, who can doubt? But faith without works will not hold Texas , whatever it may
have accomplished else where. There are
at present only a few church members there, but a large population of rail road
men and new settlers are coming who will attend upon the preaching of the word
if opportunity is afforded them. Thus by
the blessing of God and the presence of the Holy Ghost, these bones on the
border may be breathed to life. , and become a strong force in the great
Bishop Keener Issues Appeal to
Church in Laredo, “The Strong Should Support the Weak.” March 25, 1882
Bishop John Christian Keener (1819-1906) was the MECS Bishop most closely associated with the denomination’s Mexican Missions. It was Keener who founded the MECS Mexican Mission in 1873. He had been elected bishop from the editorship of the New Orleans Christian Advocate in 1870 and continued to reside in a
New Orleans suburb. For most of the first part of his episcopacy he
was thus the MECS bishop who lived closest to Mexico. In the fall of 1881 Keener presided over the Texas conferences. At the West Texas Conference he appointed T.
W. Biggs to Laredo.
1881 was a pivotal year in the history of
That was the year that the International and Great Northern Railway
extended its tracks from San Antonio to Laredo. Also in 1881 rails connected Laredo
to Corpus Christi. The rail connections made Laredo
the most important inland port connecting the United
States and Mexico. It continues to hold that rank. In 2012 there were 2,800,000 truck crossings
at Los Dos Laredos.
became an important center for international commerce, it also became important
for MECS missions. In 1880 the wives of
two presiding elders took some Mexican girls into their homes to teach
them. From such small efforts by Mrs.
Frank Onderdonk and Mrs. Joseph P. Norwood came Laredo Seminary. Laredo Seminary was later renamed Holding
Just months after appointing Biggs to
Laredo, Keener wrote the editor of the Texas Christian Advocate an open letter
appealing for aid in helping Biggs raise funds for a church building.
Here is the letter from the March 25, 1882 Advocate.
It is a well settled principle in Methodism that the strong should support the weak and I therefore commend Bro. Biggs to all the church he may visit in furtherance of building a good and creditable house of God in
. J. C. Keener. Laredo