Tour of First United Methodist Church

Midland, Texas


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Journey in Writing
Ray Waugh, Sr.

I am assuming that this is something Father wrote and/or edited before he died.

Glass Chapel
Chapel Narthex
Foyer of Fellowship Hall
My recolection of Father and the Methodists

Stop 1 - Glass Chapel [Allow 10 Minutes]

Have everyone sit down while you talk.

This lovely chapel is named for Mael Holt Glass, member of a pioneer ranching family. The room seats 172 persons, including the choir. Members of the Glass family donated the chapel, and it was completed in 1976.

Our Church is one of the oldest in West Texas. It was organized August 23, 1885. Fortunately, a surviving letter from a rancher named J. H. Barron to his bride-to-be mentions this event. The letter notes there were six in that first congregation, and only one of them was a man.

While the Methodists were first to establish a congregation in Midland, the Baptists were the first to build a structure. They kindly let the sprinklers meet in their Church building until 1889 when we built a small frame building in the 200 block of North Main, about one block South. In 1894, this same frame structure was moved to the exact site where the Chapel now stands.

There has been steady growth of the Church since then. In 1907, a larger, brick Church was built on this same location. It served until the 1940's when growth forced building of a larger Church on this same site. It was in Spanish Style and was completed in 1943. Again, growth forced a change. So the present sanctuary was built and completed in May, 1968. We will visit this last of the four sanctuaries as the final stop on our tour.

In the 1980's, the Church confronted space shortages in its Fellowship Hall, inadequate Church School, Music space, and othe needs. There began a major construction job that spread over 3 years and required more than $3,000,000.00. Presently, in 1992, the Church has about 2,150 members.

Let's look at some of the interesting things in this beautiful room:

1. A special effort was made to link the Chapel with the long Methodist heritage on this site. The pews are from the 1940's Church. So are the Altar, the Kneeling Communion Rail, and other things.

2. Another like to the past we will see as we leave: the Window linking the Chapel with its entry area or narthex. This window makes use of stained glass from the 1907 Sanctuary. It is typical of the art glass of around the turn of the century, with emphasis on plant motifs [acanthus leaves, in this case]. The glass is opalescent, with pastel colors. This type of glass was most popular in the 1880-1920 Period.

We will be seeing gorgeous stained glass here and in the Sanctuary. Perhaps some of you have been to Cathedrals in Europe and recall the brilliant colors in the stained glass made during the Middle Ages. The art of making glass with such vibrant colores was, believe it or not, totally lost from about 1500 to about 1863. It was in this last year that an Englishman named Charles Winston, who was a lawyer and archeologist, began chemical experiments to see if he could duplicat eh earlier colors. The William Morris Company in England also did much experimenting. Gradually the old techniques were re-discovered and even improved.

How does stained glass get its colors? During the "lost period," glass makers tried to tint glass by painting it with transparent paints. Today, clear glass is blown by skilled glassblowers into sylinders. These are broken up, re-melted, and pressed to lie flat. The color comes from mixing impurities into the molten glass.

You might think something tinted red would make a red area. But we see these windows by transmitted light, so the impurities hold back the unwanted colors permitting only the wanted hues to come through. For example, yellows and orange usually are made with adding silver nitrate to the melted glass.

Look with me at the Center Window above the Altar. At the left is a symbol of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. In the enter is a depiction of the Hand of God. Athe right we see the Holy Spirit in the form of a descending Dove! The smaller Jewel Windows show various types of Christian Crosses.

If you will walk with me...[pause to stand]..., we will look at the needlepoint Kneelers that were handmade by women of the Church. Each symbolizes one of the 12 disciples.

  1. You will find that for St. Peter, with his keys, his inverted Cross, and the famous Rooster.
  2. Or Matthew, with his money bags from tax collecting.
  3. Judas is symbolized by the betrayal coins and the hangman's noose.

 

Stop 2 - Chapel Narthex [about 2 minutes]

Look for a moment at the stained glass window showing Christ's Cross as the Rock of Ages. This Window as in the 1907 Sancturary, and was moved to the 1940 Church, and then placed here later. It memorializes Cornelia Holt, sister of Mabel Holt Glass. Note the pastel colors and how they contrast with the more brilliant colors now in fashion.

As we walk down the corridors of the Church, you likely will see wall banners that were done by creative people on the Banners and Stichers Committee. These are changed at intervals, but their beauty always shows the fine designs and notable needlework of those involved.

[Continue walking toward the foyer entrance to the Fellowship Hall. Pause before ent4ering to let the group see the Memorial Garden at the left, through the glass wall. [about 2 minutes]

This lovely Garden has been lovingly designed and maintained through the gifts and service of the Boone Bible Class, a women's group in our Church. The Memorial Tower contains "The Methodist Bell" from the 1887 Sanctuary, and was first placed in our 1889 Sanctuary. So the bell is over 100 years old. Set into the bottom of the Tower is the Cornerstone from the 1907 Sanctuary. A bronze plaque notes the role of the Boone Bible Class in building the Tower and Garden, and they dedicate them to The Glory of God.

[Turn around, and lead the group intothe entry or foyer of the Fellowship Hall. [Stop 3 on the map.]

Stop 3 -- Foyer of Fellowship Hall [about 3 minutes]

The 13 Limited-Edition Lithographs framed here are by Rev. Kenneth Wyatt of Tulia, Texas. He is still an ordained minister, but his service is in the arts field.

The paintings show the 12 disciples plus Jesus. Models were chosen because their faces suggested the faces of the originals. In some cases symbols appear.

For instance, Andrew -- the fisherman -- is shown pulling on a strong rope. Andrew is supposed to have been crucified by being tied with a rope to an X-shaped Cross

There is one other Wyatt painting in this series, that one showing the Apostle Paul. It is hung in the Church office.

You might want to take a minute or two to look at the paintings and perhaps select your favorite.

[If asked, a book showing color reproductions of these paintings and a description of how they came to be done is -- or was -- available from Y-8 Publishing Company, 310 Comanche Trail, Tulia, Texas 79088. Current Price is not known.]


My Recollection of Father and the Methodists

NOTE: Father's history begins with a Methodist church in Upper Arlington, Ohio where his mother was a member all her life. Even though he was a Baptist with some "beliefs that differed with the Methodist," his love for the people was never deminished.

Updated Thursday, February 24, 2000


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