The Beginning - 1892
Macedonia Methodist Church had its beginning in 1892 when Methodist Circuit rider, the Reverend C. W. Bracewell, arrived in the community. The first services were held in the McPherson School, a small community-built structure, that stood a bit west of the present sanctuary, down by the lake. The school was built on land lent for that purpose by J. J. Parker and his wife, Lea Springer Parker. The Springers owned extensive acreage in the area and Lea's parents donated the original plot for the nearby cemetery. This community, church, school, and cemetery were first called "Springer", later "McPherson" (in honor the first teacher, Enoch McPherson), and lastly "Macedonia". The community was also called "Hegar" at one time for the Hegar store and post office that originally stood a bit southwest of the church.
It is believed that services were held in the school for about a year, perhaps a little longer, and that the first church building was erected about 1893 or 1894. Oral history sources indicate that the first building was raised on land belonging to William Page. It was a common practice in those days for citizens to provide land for church and school purposes, as noted above in the case of the Parkers having lent land for the McPherson School. The church property was purchased May 17, 1901.
According to the deed, J. J. Parker and wife L.E. (Lea Springer): "...for and consideration of the sum of $22.00 cash paid by J. W. Page, J. O. Dinkins, and O. B. Hegar, trustees of Methodist Episcopal Church South, sold and conveyed all that certain parcel of land ... containing the four acres..."
Field notes indicate that the church property joined the Page property on the southwest. It would seem reasonable to conclude that the first building probably stood near the present church site.
Although the exact date and location of that first building have been lost in the haze of time, common knowledge passed from generation to generation has kept alive the memory that it was built by families of the community and was paid for by public subscription. Responsible sources of oral history indicate that T. S. Dinkins was the chief planner and supervisor of the building, and that the present sanctuary is patterned largely on the plan of that first building. Selection of the name "Macedonia" was from Acts 16:9, which passage tells of Paul's vision of a man standing over him saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us."
Early services were few and far between, having been held when the circuit rider chanced to be in the area. But with time, things improved. A minister was assigned to three area churches; New Hope, Waller, and Macedonia, then in the Montgomery Circuit. By this arrangement Macedonia began to enjoy a sermon one Sunday out of each month. It also hosted its share of Quarterly Conferences, usually the third quarter. Quarterly Conference was celebrated with dinner on the grounds, an event at which people turned out and a time when all enjoyed not only the fine fellowship, but also the fine food.
Early ministers were sometimes paid in farm and garden produce as money was scarce. However, as time wore on money became more plentiful and cash was the order of the day. Annually, five members of the church got their heads together at Quarterly Conference, determined the amount of money due on the preacher's salary, reached into their pockets and drew out the cash.
During those early days, summer revivals were great events in the life of the church with great singing, preaching, and soul saving. A brush arbor was erected under the trees that once stood just north of the sanctuary, and the homemade benches, the pulpit furniture, and the pump organ (covered at night with a wagon sheet to protect it from dampness) were moved outside under the arbor. All the meetings except those on Sunday mornings (and sometimes Saturdays, too) were held at night and the arbor was lighted with kerosene lanterns and Coleman lamps, which also provided light for the early building.
Great crowds from around the community came by horseback, buggy, wagon, or on foot, and later by Model T's and Model A's. They came to hear the preaching and to join in the fine singing. On these occasions, preachers (there were usually two) and their families, along with the visiting song leader, were often guests in the homes of parishioners. And although there was a scarcity of money in those early days, the hat was passed every night and the meetings largely supported themselves.
Revivals lasted at least a week, often two. The culminating activity for these evangelistic endeavors was the baptism of new converts on the last Sunday and dinner on the grounds. These dinners, spread outside under the trees, were always gourmet delights for all the mothers brought out their finest foods - and in wondrous quantities!
Sunday school seems to have been organized at some time prior to 1910. At one time, everyone met together in one class with the Bible used as the study guide. An adult would read a chapter from the Bible, expound upon it, and lead the discussion that followed. At a later time, classes were organized and literature became available but Sunday school membership has ever been quite sparse.
In 1949, Macedonia began to share a pastor with the church in Magnolia, a plan that provided for regular Sunday morning worship at 9:30 AM. With the exception of a short time, Sunday school preceded the worship hour. This arrangement was continued until 1978 when the Reverent Elliott Seymour became Macedonia's minister. Mr. Seymour commuted from Houston every Sunday morning and the early worship hour was changed from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM to allow more time for travel from the city. This time arrangement continued to 2000, when a second service was added. Pastors continued to commute from Houston until 1996 when a parsonage was rented.
Information handed down through generations indicates that the first church building was damaged by the terrible storm of 1900, also that the building was damaged by the 1915 storm, reportedly having been blown off its blocks. In both instances, community effort quickly repaired the structure, retaining its original appearance, which is the appearance of the present sanctuary, except for the foyer and steeple, which have been added in recent years. An answer to the question of when the building was moved to, or erected upon, the present site has eluded research efforts. Questioning of older persons who lived in the area in the early 1900's has yielded no answer to this question. Since we know not the date nor the particular occasion upon which the church building was raised on its present site, nor the date when the building might have been moved from the Page property to the present site, two points relative to known storm damage might be pondered:
Since the church property was purchased in 1901, could it have been that damage from the September 8, 1900 hurricane prompted church members to buy available property (adjacent to the Page property) and raise a new building thereon, or move the damaged building thereto and repair it?
Could it have been that after the 1915 storm damage, a new building was raised on the present location or the damaged one moved thereon and repaired? Perhaps the greater probability lies in #1, since interviewed persons who lived in the area in the early 1900s had no recollection of the building ever having been moved from one site to another. Had the move been made in 1915, it would seem probable that some of those older persons would have been knowledgeable of it.
In 1946, a new sanctuary was erected, the new building reflecting the physical form and configuration of the earlier church. Lumber for this building was purchased from Grogan Lumber Company in Magnolia, Texas, and the supervising carpenter was the late George Imhoff, of Waller, however the building of the church was accomplished through community effort and volunteer labor.
Pews in the sanctuary were made by the woodworking shop at Prairie View A&M College (now University) in 1948 using material bought from Temple Lumber Company in Houston and hauled from Houston to Prairie View by Marshall Swanks and Theodore "Tedo" Dinkins. The finished pews were transported from the college in stock trailers by Marshall Swanks and D. E. "Doc" Williams and placed in the building. The church's new floor was sanded and varnished by Lillian and Marshall Swanks, the late "Tedo" and Maggie Dinkins, "Doc" Williams, and the late Alice Williams Coffman. The original ceiling fans were installed in the early 1950's by Marshall Swanks and the late Ishmael B. Snow.
In 1966, Macedonia purchased from the Magnolia church a building which was placed adjacent to the sanctuary to serve as the fellowship hall and Sunday school rooms. This building was added on to by the congregation in 1969 and was dedicated February 16, 1971. The historical marker was placed and dedicated in 1970. The foyer was added to the sanctuary in late 1974, and the steeple, secured through the efforts of the late John C. Trimble, was added shortly thereafter. The first electric organ, purchased in 1968, served until 1983 when it was replaced by a new one. The water well was drilled and outside lights added about 1975. It was in 1977 that the sanctuary received wall-to-wall carpeting and it was about this time that a gift of furniture was placed on the chancel in memory of Melin S. Schultz; also, a gift of candleholders and a Bible stand in memory of Ismael B. Snow.
Through the years, numerous gifts of love and service have been presented to the church by some donors wishing to remain anonymous. These acts of love have enhanced the beauty, utility, and comfort of both the sanctuary and fellowship hall. From the years 1892 to 1901, thirty-six members came into the church. With the passing of time, membership increased very slowly. However, in the 1960's the population shift from the city to the country began to bring new families into the area and consequently, new members into the church.
The present fellowship hall, with Sunday school rooms, kitchen, and appliances, was completed and fully paid for in the spring of 1985. In that year, the Reverend DeWitt Weaver and his wife, Mary Jane, presented to the church a new piano in memory of their fathers and in honor of their mothers. One year earlier, a new organ had been purchased. The wheel chair ramp was also erected about that same time.
In late April of 1992, the church building was once again shaken from its foundation blocks. This time as a result of a pipeline explosion near Brenham, some thirty-five miles away! Again, with the same dedication and sense of responsibility, members rallied to repair the damage. Mr. Ed Ferdon, Mr. Carl Wenzel, and Mr. R. N. "Bully" Hogue, were the persons performing the labor.
The year 1992 marked the 100th anniversary of Macedonia United Methodist Church, first organized as Macedonia Episcopal Church South. A Celebration of Dedication was held on May 31, 1992; a day of homecoming, worship, fellowship, remembrance, and a time to look forward to a second century of service and devotion to God. To commemorate this milestone, brass candlesticks were placed on the Communion Table in memory of the founding families of the church and in honor of those who would celebrate the Bicentennial. The stained glass windows were installed with the two large windows on the east end of the sanctuary designated in memory of the founding families of the church.
These are the thirty-six names of the families who joined Macedonia Methodist Episcopal Church South from 1892 to 1901 which was later changed to Macedonia United Methodist Church: BRIERS, DINKINS, FERGUSON, GLASS, HEGAR, McPHERSON, PAGE, PATE, PROCTOR, SOUTHWELL, WILLIAMS, WINDHAM