First United Methodist Church--Magnolia, Arkansas logo

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History

Our church was organized in 1853. On April 18, 1854, on a lot that is part of the present physical plant, a frame structure was erected for the First Methodist Episcopal Church, South. A brick building replaced the frame structure in December 1892. Just seven years later, in 1899, a fire destroyed the entire Magnolia square, including the Methodist Church. Services were held in the old frame church while another brick facility was constructed at the corner of Madison and Main. Completed in 1912, this building served the congregation as the place of worship for almost fifty years.

In 1936 the Leland Clegg Education Building was constructed. The present sanctuary was dedicated September 25, 1949. In 1954 a second educational wing was completed, connecting the sanctuary to the Clegg Building. Another addition was completed in 1960, housing a fellowship hall, parlor, chapel, kitchen, and classrooms.

In 1982 the Stewpot ministry began. Three evenings a week, hot meals are served free of charge to all who come. A historic Magnolia home became part of the church facility in 1987, with the purchase of the building at 311 W. Main. The Child Development Center opened on August 14, 1989. This weekday ministry to children and families provides high quality weekday child care for infants through elementary grades.

In 1998 the congregation launched an extensive building program. This commitment included renovation of much of the existing facility—the sanctuary, the 1954 educational wing, the chapel, the kitchen, and the fellowship hall. The Clegg Building was replaced by a new fellowship hall and children’s center.

Just a week before construction was to begin on the new facility, the church was again devastated by fire. On February 24, 1998, fire destroyed the chapel, fellowship hall, and kitchen areas of the church. Meeting and ministry space was now very limited, but the congregation continued to serve the Magnolia community. The Couch Building had been erected as a storage facility and van garage; this became a key facility for youth and adult activities until the fire renovation and new construction were completed.

On September 1, 1999, the Fellowship Hall and Children’s Center were consecrated. In November 2000 three key areas of the physical plant were officially named to commemorate key figures in the congregation’s history. The Peace Fellowship Hall, the Clegg Chapel, and Averitt Hall, along with the entire church facility, stand as symbols of love and sacrifice built on a foundation of prayers.

We continue to grow as our visions of new ministries push us forward to make a difference in the world.

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