Church History

Bluff Dale United Methodist Church History

Bluff Dale United Methodist Church History

By Cathey Hartmann

            The first Bluff Dale Methodist camp meeting occurred in April, 1881, at a brush arbor beside the Paluxy River with more than forty people coming from as far away as fifty miles.  In 1886, the church was chartered with the Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal South denomination with five other area churches.  Only the Bluff Dale and Morgan Mill churches still exist from that organization.

            The first church, a wooden frame structure with a bell tower, was built in the late 1800's. Captain W.N. Freeman was the superintendent for this early church, and J. J. Harris was the pastor.  The congregation grew with increased farming and ranching in the area, and by the turn of the 20th century, an average of fifty people was attending worship service.  This old church was replaced with a new red brick facility in 1956, and this still serves the community of Methodists today. 

            In 1968, the Methodist denomination merged with the Evangelical United Church so the local church became the Bluff Dale United Methodist Church.  As Bluff Dale saw its population dwindle in the 1960’s due to an exodus of young people moving to the metropolitan areas for employment, the church also suffered.  In 2000, the Bluff Dale church was included in a Rural New Church Development program of the Central Texas Conference and membership began to grow once more.  The housing development, Mountain Lakes, brought new members who add sustenance and vitality to the congregation.

            The Bluff Dale United Methodist Church is a unique blend of those who can trace their ancestry back to a charter member from 1886, and those have just moved to the community and have chosen to make this their church home.  Together they continue the traditions and heritage of the past while bringing new energy and inspiration in saving the spiritual needs of members.  The United Methodist slogan of “Open Arms-Open Hearts” is alive and well here.

 

Pastors who have served – years are shown if known
 
Rev. J. J. Harris – 1886                            Rev. A. B. Roberts                                                     Rev. Morton                               
Rev. Clarke                                                Rev. R. M. Ballentine                                               Rev. Price                                      
Rev. W. N. Byrd                                         Rev. W. A. Flynn – 1929                                           Rev. Lightfoot – 1936                     
Rev. Langston – 1939                              Rev. W. C. Ferguson – 1941                                     Rev. Ticknor – 1942
Rev. Doug Moore – 1950                         Rev. Paul Robbins                                                   Rev. Craig Aikman – 1951         
Rev. Bob Robertson – 1952 -1953         Rev. Conrad Himmel – 1954                                  Rev. James Barker – 1956            
Rev. Leonard Raddle – 1957                   Rev. Jeff Evans – 1958                                            Rev. Waylon Bratton – 1963          
Rev. Tony Campbell                                Rev. Mike Alexander                                               Rev. Gus Guthrie
Rev. John Hutcheson                              Rev. Lylette Pharr                                                    Rev. Norman Suggs                   
Rev. Paul Porter – 2002-2010               Rev. Laraine Waughtal – 2010 - 2015                 Rev. Stacy Roberts - 2015-2016             
                                                   Rev. Christy Barto - 2016 to present