Building in a time of uncertainty

First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth plans courtesy

On Thursday, Oct. 29, at exactly 4 p.m. First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth leaders and ministry representatives will pull together – literally with a specially outfitted antique plow – in the official ceremonial launch of the first phase of its NEXT90 building expansion project.

The significance of this date and time harks back to the same date and time exactly 91 years ago when First Church also broke ground on another enormous building project — its current location — on the day of the stock market crash that signaled the beginning of the Great Depression, the church said in a news release.

In continued ceremonial symbolism, the same shovel used in 1929, plus a brand-new shovel engraved with this date, will turn dirt at the hands of two clergy members from past generations.

This building expansion will feature a new two-story children’s wing, an expansion and complete remodel of Wesley Hall, where additional worship services and other events are held, a new central plant with additional power and new HVAC system, perimeter lighting and landscaping, and an extended drop off lane for the First United Methodist Church Day School.
In addition to meeting the church’s most immediate needs, NEXT90 Phase I sets the stage for Phase II, which will complete the vision of the church’s NEXT90 Building Expansion Project to fuel the growth of this historic church’s mission and ministry into the next 90 years, the news release said.
Architects for the project are HH Architects of Richardson. General contractors are a joint venture of Fort Worth-based firms Byrne Construction Services and Scott-Tucker Construction Company.

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During The Panic of 1873, one of the worst financial setbacks the United States had ever experienced, the visionary Methodists in Fort Worth purchased a lot at Fourth and Jones Streets for the first Methodist church building and moved forward with construction, completing the building in 1874.
In 1887, at the climax of the worst recorded draught in Texas’ history at that time, this church decided to take another step forward, building a new brick structure at Fourth and Jones, completed the same year. The remnants of that building can be seen at Fourth and Jones, along with a historical marker.
In 1908, new City fire safety regulations meant the landlocked First Methodist had outgrown its building and relocated and built a new building at Seventh and Taylor Streets downtown, just in time to provide spiritual support to World War I soldiers stationed at Camp Bowie.

And then, at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1929, a day etched in our nation’s memory, the church broke ground on its current location.
“With faith and courage in a difficult time, that congregation pulled together to build the building that has enabled the ministries of this church to thrive over the succeeding 90 years,” says The Rev. Dr. Tim Bruster, Senior Pastor.
“Now it’s our turn; the baton has been passed to us. In this groundbreaking, we will symbolically pull a plow through the earth on our campus, demonstrating our commitment as a faith community to pull together, even in hard times, to accomplish what God calls us to do in our time,” Bruster said.