The First Rowlett United Methodist Church will celebrate its 125th anniversary with its milestone celebration service Sunday.
In 1895 the church began at the current location and previously the congregation met off at Big A Road at the Big A schoolhouse near the cemetery.
“I can see the vision the founders had for making sure the church would always be a spiritual anchor for the community. That was their goal to make sure the church served that purpose,” Rev. Pam White said. “There have been a lot of things changed about our community, and as a church that has grown that core desire has stayed there.”
During the Great Depression era, a lot of the members moved, and the church did not gather at that time. The ministers were able to continue it through that time as they needed the church.
“We are in another unprecedented time now, and it’s a reminder of the way the church continues to be relevant and be a present now more than ever,” White said. “Especially during this time during the pandemic the needs are greater than ever. This 125th is a good reminder of the why of what we are and the work that needs to continue.”
Prior to March, the church only had audio files of the sermon available on their website. When the church shutdown for in-person services, they began to pre-record services and release them online. In October, the church was available to seat a limited capacity of 100 members for in-person service as well as continue virtual services.
“We knew this was an important ministry, and we started reaching more members. We started reaching previous members that had moved away, and some members that were homebound, guests and new people that found us online,” White said. “We knew this was a ministry that needed to grow, and we had a large donation that allowed us to purchase equipment to live stream our services.”
During the milestone service there will be videos played during the service and online. State Rep. Rhetta Bowers will read a proclamation, and Rowlett Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashian will read a city proclamation. The bishop from the North Texas Conference will be lead the sermon virtually.
“It’s only by looking back at our legacy, by remembering the vision that our founders had that we can then pick that up and look forward and continue to work with what’s in front of us,” White said. “Our church has always been dedicated to reaching out to the community to seeing the needs around us. We have a big ministry, connected with a lot of the schools.”
This last week, the church boxed 317 holiday meals for families in the community for Thanksgiving. The Reindeer Project is another church initiative to provide gifts and foods for about 1,500 children.
“As we grow, we’ve expanded our ministry. We’ve remained focused on sharing our love of Christ, but we have also adapted and tried to connect with the current needs,” White said. “As we look forward, that’s what I want to continue to do. I want to ask, how can we remain relevant and speak the same message that we have endured but do it in a way that connects with our current situation and needs.”