The Bend United Methodist Church in Bend, Texas, will be celebrating their 100
In the early years of the 1900’s, numerous families lived in the Bend community and surrounding area. They represented several different religious faiths, but all church services at that time were held in a one-room schoolhouse. In 1910, Reverend E.E. Thompson was appointed as pastor of the Chappel Circuit, of which the Bend was one of the appointments. Recognizing the great need for a Methodist Church house, Reverend Thompson challenged his congregation to build one. When he presented his dreams and plans for the church to the people, the response was tremendous. A building committee was elected which contained the following members: W.J. Millican, Miles Millican, John L. Lewis, Newt Lucas, and I.W. Keeney.
Work on the new Methodist church began. The lumber for the new church was hauled by wagon from Round Rock, Texas. Mose Millican hauled the first load, and W.J. Millican, Miles Millican, Newt Lucas, and John Lewis hauled the rest. Many people donated labor as well as money, and it gave the whole community great pride in their accomplishments. It also gave them faith and encouragement in the future of their community.
The beautiful hillside was donated to the church by Mr. and Mrs. Phil B. McCoury. Miles Millican and his brother cleared the ground, which was covered in mesquite trees and prickly pear. Mrs. McCoury was sick during the construction of the building, but after it was finished, she made it to the door of her home and saw the church. It was reported that she was well pleased with what she saw. She passed away on February 25, 1911. Reverend E.E. Thompson conducted the funeral, which was the first funeral to be held in the new church.
The new Methodist church thrived with strong pastoral and congregational leadership. Reverend E. E. Thompson preached the first sermon in the church. Ella Millican Elder was the first organist, and I.W. (Bub) Keeney was the first Sunday School Superintendent. Mrs. Eva Millican Keeney was the first secretary and treasurer. Mrs. Arva Amelia Millican Young was the first baby baptized in the new church. The first wedding was held in the church on August 27, 1911 when Reverend Thompson joined in wedlock Mr. Ben Watson and Miss Della Sprinkle.
The Methodists at Bend have always been proud of their church, and the original church building was always kept in a good state of repair. However, over the years, drainage from the hillside had rotted and weakened the foundation, making the building shift and the walls bow. Experts were called in to look at the older building, which was literally sliding off its foundation. The best that could be suggested was a "shoring up" effort that would not increase the life of the building and would cost a substantial amount of money. The church congregation eventually decided to build a new church after determining that the years of water damage to the original structure’s underpinning could not be repaired.
The congregation met in the old wooden structure for the last time in February of 1987. The old building was removed, and the new church was built on the same hillside; although in a slightly different location from the original 1910 structure. Congregational bake sales, a bar-b-que, and a pledge drive helped to fund the new church building. Not only the church members, but others from Bend, San Saba, Lampasas, Kempner, and Lometa gave generously to the church fund drive. This same community effort, and God’s rich blessings, has kept the Bend United Methodist Church going for 100 years. (Condensed history written by Mrs. E.C. Young)
th year as a congregation on Sunday, May 23rd, 2010. Everyone is invited to attend the celebration with services starting at 10:00 AM. The church will host former pastors, descendants of the first pastor, as well as many visitors who have ties to the rich history of the Bend United Methodist Church.