Sunday, January 28, 2018

This Week in Texas Methodist History January 28

Northwest Texas Conference Convenes in Special Session to Accept Hospital
January 29, 1954
Sometimes Annual Conference business cannot wait for the next regularly scheduled session, and the Discipline allows for called sessions of Methodist conferences.   Under those Disciplinary provisions, the Northwest Texas Conference met in Lubbock on January 29, 1954.  The business of the conference as to consider a proposal to accept the Lubbock Memorial Hospital. 
Drs. J. T. Krueger, M. C. Overton, and J. T. Hutchinson were the principal owners of the hospital.  They proposed deeding it to the conference.  The property included the hospital building, a medical building, and two nurse’s homes in Lubbock.   The proposal also included all furniture and fixtures.  The estimated value was about $4,500,000.    The Conference would assume a debt of $1,359,746.21.  
The Annual Conference voted to accept the proposal and within a few years expanded the hospital system by adding a five story addition to the north wing, A nursing school, nurse’s home, and radiation center which was named the Furr Radiation Center in honor of the Furr Foundaiton. 
Lubbock Methodist Hospital traced its origins to a 25 bed sanitarium founded in 1918.  In 1941 it became Lubbock General Hospital and in 1945, Lubbock Memorial Hospital.  In 1998 it merged with St. Mary’s of the Plains, another venerable Lubbock hospital.
Today it is part of the Covenant Health, part of St. Joseph Health.  It provides state of the art medical services not only in Lubbock, but also in Levelland and Plainview.   It serves a vast geographic area of West Texas and New Mexico with a variety of medical specialties and wellness programs. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

This Week in Texas Methodist History January 21

Rev. John R. Nelson Attends Large Evangelistic Services Held for Camp Logan Troops, January 22, 1918

Try to imagine a far different geography of Houston 100 years ago.  Camp Logan occupied 9312 acres of land, including the present site of Memorial Park.  Such a large area was needed because much of the land was used for artillery practice.  A smaller area, about 2000 acres, was used for rifle practice.  The Army had leased the land, which had included truck farms, pasture, woods, and dairy farms for a three year period.   
Just to the east, down Washington Avenue at the intersection of Washington and Heights, was the “Soldier’s Tabernacle” which had a seating capacity of 2500.  Standees could bring attendance to 3500.  A canteen and reading room were attached.   There were Methodist Episcopal Church South churches fairly close to the Tabernacle, Grace and Washington Avenue.  Washington Ave. was the older of the two, having been established specifically for the railroad employees and their families who had settled along the main tracks leading west from downtown.  Grace had been established later to serve the Houston Heights which was an incorporated municipality built around the most success streetcar suburb of Houston.   There was also a Methodist Episcopal Church, Collins Memorial, in the same general area.  Larkin Street Methodist was also not too far away as was West End Methodist (Brunner at Wood).
One hundred years ago this week the Rev.  W. H. Holderby, an evangelist of the Salvation Army held services for the troops in the tabernacle.  Nearby churches sent their young people to these services, and Collins Memorial held an all day prayer meeting in support of the evangelistic effort. 
There was a Methodist Chaplain at Camp Logan, H. T. Perritte (yes, you might know Perritte Memorial in Nacogdoches, named in his honor), and there was a also a state wide director of Methodist Army work—John R. Nelson, of the North Texas Conference in town for the week of preaching by Holderby and lectures supplied by the Fosdick Commission to prevent drunkenness, venereal disease, and visiting prostitutes.* 
It must have been an impressive sight to see troops marching down Washington Avenue in their uniforms to attend services at the Soldier’s Tabernacle.    John R. Nelson must have received a favorable impression.  In 1920 he transferred from the North Texas Conference to the Texas Conference so he could be appointed to Grace in the Heights.   In 1921, however, he transferred to the Memphis Conference.  That vacancy at Grace opened the way for a transfer from the Little Rock Conference, W. C. Martin---later Bishop Martin. 
*Raymond Fosdick was director of camp activities during World War I.  His office supplied speakers and programs to promote readiness and morale.  After the war he returned to the practice of law and directed the Rockefeller Foundation.  His brother was Harry Emerson Fosdick.   

Saturday, January 13, 2018

This Week in Texas Methodist History January 14

SU Board Rejects Presidential Resignation,  January 18, 1918

Because of its connectional system in which preachers are subject to annual appointment, and churches receive preachers from by the appointment process, a vacancy in one pulpit almost always sets off a chain reaction. 
On December 28, 1917, the Rev. and Mrs. Allen Lewellyn Andrews (Lewis) and their son William, were riding on the Fort Worth Pike when their auto was struck by the eastbound Texas and Pacific Sunset Special passenger train.   Allen was killed instantaneously.  Hassie Allen survived.  William did not. 
Andrews was the pastor of First Methodist Church Fort Worth, a leading church of the Central Texas Conference.  He was born in 1869 earned a Master’s Degree at Southern University where his father was president.  He served appointments in the North Alabama and Alabama Conferences before transferring to the North Texas Conference. He served Dallas Grace, was Presidng Elder of the Sherman and then the Terrell Districts then returned to the pulpit at Wichita Falls.  He transferred to Central Texas in 1916 and was appointed to Fort Worth.  He was a delegate to three General Conferences.

The tragic death created a vacancy that needed to be filled.  Bishop Mouzon sent Rev. F. P. Culver who was finishing his fourth year at Austin Ave. Methodist in Waco to Fort Worth First.    Bishop Mouzon announced that he was appointing President Charles Bishop of Southwestern University to the Austin Avenue Methodist Church in Waco.

President Bishop’s tenure at Southwestern had been rocky, to say the least.  In June 1917 a group of disaffected faculty presented a series of resolutions calling his administrative abilities into question.  World War I had hindered enrollment, and therefore finances.  Bishop admitted that some faculty members were at the “bread line of poverty.”  Leaving SU for a church such as Austin Avenue seemed like a good way out.
The Board met on January 18, 1918, and Bishop tendered his resignation.  The appointment had already appeared in the newspapers of the state.  The Board asked Bishop to leave the room.  When they invited him back in, they urged him to reject the appointment and stay at Southwestern.   That is what happened.  Charles Bishop’s resignation was not accepted. 
He informed the Board in June 1921 of his intention to resign, and the following December told them of his appointment to St Paul’s in Houston.   A committee of professors administered university affairs  until his Bishop’s resignation became effective in 1922.  Bishop later taught at SMU, but came back to Georgetown in his retirement years and died and was buried there. 

Saturday, January 06, 2018

This Week in Texas Methodist History January 7

Huntsville Welcomes James Follansbee as President of New College, January 1853
When Texas Methodists wished to establish schools and colleges, it was necessary to recruit leadership from the northern states.  The southern states had not supported education to the extent that the northern states had.  A case in point is the recruitment of James Morrill Folansbee to be the first principal of Andrew Female College in Huntsville.  The college was founded by the Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South at its 1852 Annual Conference.  It brought in Follansbee (1823-1900) to be the first president. 

Follansbee was born in Washington, D. C.  His father, Joseph, once served as Door Keeper for the House of Representatives and served on the D. C. Common Council.  James attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA and Columbia Medical School in Washington.  He taught several years in Tennessee.  He was admitted on trial to the Texas Conference in January, 1849 and was appointed to Gonzales.  $ years later he became head of Andrew Female College.  He then transferred to Soule University as professor of languages.  When Soule fell on hard times he went back to Washington, D. C. where he rejoined the Baltimore-Washington Conference.  He returned to academia with his appointment as president of Johnson Female College in Union, West Virginia, and then as president of Charleston (W. Va.) Female College.  
Follansbee married Eliza Stevens of Ohio, and they had several children.  They named one of their sons James Soule Follansbee.