Jacksonville First Methodist Church traces its founding back to 1845 when a Methodist church was established in the community of Gum Creek, located west of present-day Jacksonville. The specific site is now under Lake Jacksonville. Gum Creek was renamed “Jacksonville” in 1850 and in 1856 the church replaced a one-story structure with a two-story one that served not only as a church but also as the town school and meeting place.
In 1872 the church followed the migration of the entire town of Jacksonville as the town was relocated approximately two miles east in order to take advantage of the railroad which had been built but had bypassed the original location of the town. The first church built in the relocated town was the Methodist church.
In 1882 the growing congregation purchased property southwest of current downtown Jacksonville and built a larger facility, adding buildings in 1908. In 1920 the church became the first to have a pipe organ. Growth led to the building of an education building in 1940, and a chapel and additional classrooms were built in 1953.
In 2007 the congregation built new modern facilities at the church’s current location on the southeast loop in Jacksonville. Proud of its heritage, the new facilities incorporated the historic stained glass windows which were painstakingly removed, transported, and installed. If you want to know more about our the history of our church, feel free to stop by the Archives at church!
Currently, the church has a membership of more than 1,000 members. It hosts the Methodist Readiness school and also has an after-school program on Wednesdays, called Mini Methodists, that averages more than 60 children from kindergarten through 4th grade in attendance every week. It also works with the East Texas Food Bank to provide a weekly food pantry in addition to supporting other community agencies, such as Hope, Inc.