Saturday, September 10, 2016

This Week in Texas Methodist History September 11

Bishop Joseph Key Dedicates Polk Street Methodist, Amarillo, September 1908

Amarillo Methodists had using their new church building for worship for about a year in September 1908.  They had completed the new building and paid off the debt in July 1907, but they had delayed the dedication service until they could secure a “big name” preacher for the dedication.

In September 1908 Bishop Joseph Key was en route from his home in Sherman to Portales, New Mexico, to preside over the New Mexico Annual Conference.  He arranged to stop in Amarillo to preach the dedicatory sermon.  

Joseph Key was truly the grand patriarch of Texas Methodism of the era.  He had been born in Lagrange, Georgia, in 1829.  Both his father and grandfather had been Methodist ministers.  He attended Emory College in Oxford Georgia and joined the Georgia Conference upon graduation.  He served various appointments in Georgia and was elected bishop of the MECS in 1886.  

Bishop Key moved to Fort Worth and travelled widely presiding over annual conferences in Mexico, China, and Japan.  After the death of his first wife, he married Lucy Kidd, a noted educator and president of North Texas Female College (later Kidd-Key College and Conservatory of Music). 

In addition to his interest in Kidd-Key College in Sherman, Bishop Key was instrument in the founding of the Methodist Home in Waco and of the state Epworth League.  

Lucy Kidd-Key died in 1916 and Bishop Joseph Key died in 1920.  At the time of his death he was known as the “Grand Old Man” of Texas Methodism.  They were both buried in Texas. 


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