This Week in Texas Methodist History April 17
Bishop Seth Ward Dedicates New Church in Bryan, April 21, 1907
One Wednesday night in 1906, while prayer meeting was in session, the Methodist Church in Bryan burned. Pastor I. F. Betts managed to evacuate the members, but the church building, an Akron style building only three years old, was destroyed.
Rev. Betts, convened a meeting of the board of stewards while the fire was still smoldering and immediately authorized building a new sanctuary. The foundation was still sound so the church officers decided to rebuild according to the same plan.
Approximately one year later, on April 21, 1907, Bishop Seth Ward came to preach the dedication sermon for the new building.
The new building was designed to accommodate 1200 worshipers and cost $30,000. The $3500 pipe organ had been ordered but had not yet arrived for the dedication.
Bishop Ward was no stranger to the congregation. He had been raised in nearby Leon County and had married Miss Betty South in Bryan. His sermon was “The Value of Christian Faith,” from the 7th verse of I Peter, “That the trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire, may be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
The dedicatory service was followed by a revival led by Lovick P. Law of Siloam Springs, Arkansas. The revival continued for two weeks. Law was also known in the area. He once lived in Cameron where he managed the opera house. He was converted and immediately cancelled all musical and dramatic productions and converted the opera house into a YMCA. He then became a traveling evangelist.
First Methodist Bryan eventually outgrew the 1907 building. The present sanctuary was built in 1951.