A Brief History of First United Methodist Church of Brady
The growth of Methodism in Brady
(Collected and written by Mrs. T.J. Bradley)
When we realize all that goes into the making of history we know no history is complete. The memory and consideration of man is too short, but a few torches can be recalled which helped to light the way for growth and development of Methodism in Brady which today stands as a beacon light to all who would know its way of life.
The following is only a brief sketch of some records and facts which were recalled by the few of those who remain since the beginning of Methodism in Brady. Many things will be left out which others may recall as these lines are read, which would have fitted into the history, and much will remain to be “read between the lines.” Mure often no record is made of the struggle, the hardships, and sacrifices together with the joys and pleasures of building and growth.
Turn back, if you will, to the state of conditions here sixty years ago when Methodism was in its infancy in Brady. As far back as we know, religion has dominated the life of civilized man. It was true in the early days of the City of Brady, and as early as 1875 Methodism was working as leaven in the life of her pioneers. For several years Methodists worshipped with other Christians of the town, meeting together in the old school building which was located between where the light plant and city hall now stand. Among some of the early families were the Dukes, McGrews, Winsteads, Hentons, Marsdens, Stricklands, McShans, D. Banham, Tisdales, Ogdens, Abe Jones, and others, many of whose descendants are still living in the City of Brady.
There was no regular pastor, but occasionally a circuit rider preacher would pass through and stop to preach. Opportunity to hear a sermon was not so common in those days, and many were eager and hungry for the gospel. It was Mr. J.T. Williamson, a local preacher and one time editor of the Brady Sentinel, who took the lead in the organization of the church here. He was an uncle of Mrs. Elma Campbell, who is a present member.
Brady Methodist Church church then became connectional with all Southern Methodist Churches. During this time a frame building was erected on the eastern half of the block of the present church location, the site being donated by Will McShan, county clerk at that time. Ben Henton, father of Jesse Henton, hauled the lumber from Lampasas for the building. E.W. Sparks laid the foundation for the first church. He was the father of Mrs. Laura Strckland and Edna Watters. J.P. Jones and Miss Kate Marsden were the first to be united in the new church. She was organist of the early church. In 1905, a new parsonage was built. In 1910, the new brick building was erected at a cost of $17,125.00.
Gradually, but surely, each pastor has led his congregation to a higher rung on the ladder of growth and development. And each year as been a stepping stone to higher ground. As the City of Brady has grown, as surly and as steadily has Methodism grown. From about a dozen families to one hundred families has her membership increased until today the membership is approximately 400. From a low sum her budget has mounted to $6000 annually. She is striving and anxious to serve all through a good church school with a corps of officers and teachers standing eager to help, and a Missionary Auxiliary whose aim is working for others. Twice daily on the Sabbath, she welcomes all to worship at her shrine. Her educational courses offer advanced opportunities for Christian education. A Supply of non-doctrinal free literature is a part of her great mission. Not only is this church helping to serve the local people and cooperating in many ways with other churches of America, but twelve foreign fields. With John Wesley, she believes, “The World Is My Parish.” Today she is inviting the population of Brady to give her opportunity for services that she in turn may serve all whose needs are within her bounds.
- from the Ruby Williams' Historical Collection prepared during the early to middle 1930's when D.A. Newton was superintendent of the Brady School System.