Germantown United Methodist Church
In 1840, Germantown was a very small rural community. Worshippers began meeting in homes for Bible study. When the group reached about 45 members, the first home of Germantown Methodist Church was built on what is now McVay Road. The lot was divided into a churchyard and a graveyard. It was served by a circuit rider minister until 1890 at which time the adjoining lot was purchased for a parsonage and a full-time minister was employed.
The church served its members until 1862, then it became necessary to turn the church into a hospital for wounded soldiers during the Federal occupation of Germantown. The church building was severely damaged during this time.
In 1869 or 1870, a very small, plain building was erected on the same lot, to serve as their church, and subscriptions were sold to the members to pay for the building. Several years later, the women of the church organized a Ladies Aid Society to raise funds to build a vestibule, remodel the pulpit, and carpet the aisle. In 1902-03, Mrs. Nellie Peeples, wife of the minister, was president of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society at the church and reported a membership of 23 ladies and dues of $18.16.
In 1916, members decided to tear down the existing church building and build a better structure using most of the same materials. In 1921, tragedy struck in the form of lightning and the new church was destroyed by fire.
Following the fire, the Germantown Methodist members purchased the land that is the present site of the church. A concrete basement was constructed with a temporary roof. For seven years, the members worshiped there until the sanctuary ( which is now used as a chapel) was completed in 1927-28.
In the true spirit of Methodism, one of the earliest projects of the women, to raise money, was centered around food! Prior to 1929, a community, Thanksgiving dinner was cooked in the homes of the members and served in the Masonic Lodge. The dinner was attended by most of the people of Germantown and many from Memphis and surrounding areas. This project continued for many years but eventually became too large to handle.
In the 1950s, a used, city streetcar was purchased, converted, and placed on a lot on Highway 72 (Poplar Avenue), where the Methodist members ran a “Country Store” on Saturdays selling clothes and household goods donated by the members. This continued for many years and is considered the forerunner of the annual Germantown United Women’s Bazaar. As the City of Germantown grew in the 1970s, so did the membership of Germantown United Methodist Church. In November 1976, a new and much larger sanctuary was constructed (between Germantown Road and West Street) and is used for worship today, along with weddings, funerals, and special events. A beautiful organ with 2500 pipes, was donated, gracing the sanctuary. In the early 2000s, a large addition was added to the church in the form of a Welcome Center, new choir rooms, church offices, a new nursery, parlor, brides’ room, and a larger narthex.
Germantown United Methodist Church is steeped in history and proud of its heritage. Its mission has always been centered on making disciples for Christ. Its doors are open to all and it’s many diverse programs serve all ages. Safe and secure classrooms for infants, children, youth, and adults welcome all to worship.
Click the link to learn more about the church https://www.germantownumc.org/