University United Methodist Church has been a congregation committed to worship and service in Fort Worth for over 100 years. As the city has changed, so has University. For many years, University has recognized the importance of adapting and learning new ways to share the love and grace of God that never changes and endures forever.
A Sunday School group of 18 people meet at a vacant house rented for the occasion at 3221 Hemphill Street.
The group outgrows the house on Hemphill and erects a large meeting tent where Capps Park is today.
After steady growth, the group now includes 30 members. They purchased a lot and built a tabernacle.
The first pastor, Rev. W.S.P. McCoullough, is appointed to what was now called the Hemphill Heights Methodist Mission.
The tabernacle is expanded as the church goes through a period of rapid growth.
The church moves into George Clark Elementary while the church building on Hemphill is being built.
The church building on Hemphill is completed.
After an extended period of drought, the building’s foundation is weakened and building cracks appear in the masonry. The church hired an engineer to repair the building, but he determined the building to beyond repairs with tearing down and completely rebuilding as the only course of action. With a $15,000 lien already against the property, the church could not raise or borrow the considerable sum of $23,000 to do the work. The building is condemned.
With the church building condemned, there was a unanimous vote from the members to not abandon their church family and to rent an unused warehouse to meet for church. Members of the congregation work tirelessly to repair the warehouse and move in. The congregation met in this temporary and often uncomfortable space for two years. For the next two years the congregation worships in the warehouse which was temporary and often uncomfortable. The building was neither cooled in the summer or heated in the winter; on cold days, the members heated bricks, wrapped them up and brought them to church to set on the floor and warm their feet during services. A campaign was undertaken to get a new location and build a new church building.
The conference secures the site of the present location of the church at Berry St. and McCart Ave. For the next two years, funds are raised for the erection of a building at the new location.
Ground was broken for the first building at Berry & McCart.
The congregation gathers for the first services at the new location. The church changes its name to Matthews Memorial Methodist Church in honor of Rev. W.H. Matthews, whose family made a gift to help the struggling church.
The building, begun in 1936, is completed and fully furnished.
It was decided by the Board of Stewards and the Board of Trustees to clear the church of all debt, but WWII intervened and the project was delayed. With some advice, a plan was put into action to finance payment of their debt through the purchase of Defense Bonds by the congregation.
The Defense bond plan worked and on Easter Sunday it was announced to the congregation that the debt had been fully paid.
The church begins to fund raise for the building addition that is today the building’s sanctuary.
The congregation begins worshipping in the beautiful new sanctuary, the same sanctuary still used by the congregation today.
Ground is broken for the new wing at University. The new addition included the current chapel, kitchen, library, fellowship hall and many classrooms.
The church changes its name to University United Methodist Church
100 years after the church began in with 18 people in a small house, University recognizes its centennial with a special worship service and celebration. The following video is produced to record and remember University’s many years of ministry.
100 Years Video
A significant hail storm passes over Fort Worth, causing significant roof and electrical damage to the church building. An insurance claim is opened and construction work soon begins.
As construction continues, the project grows as complications are discovered. The entire roof is replaced, the sanctuary pews are removed for renovations, and the entire second floor and most the first floor are vacated for abatement and repairs. For 8 months, the congregation worships in the Fellowship Hall and all ministries take place in the Fellowship Hall, the Solarium, or in Child Development Center Classrooms.
The construction is completed with final costs exceeding $7 million. The church re-opens all of the renovated areas with a “Restoration Celebration,” including a ribbon cutting, combined worship service, refreshments, and building tours.