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FUMC Celebrates 125 Years

By Linda CooperFUMC Burying of a time capsule on the church lawn.

District Superintendent Rev. Tim Carpenter and Bishop Bill McAlilly.

District Superintendent Rev. Tim Carpenter and Bishop Bill McAlilly.

Members of Millington’s First United Methodist Church since the 1940s - John Proctor, Jerry Rawls and Tommy Goin in front of a historical marker on the front lawn of the church and unveiled during the 125th anniversary celebration.

Members of Millington’s First United Methodist Church since the 1940s – John Proctor, Jerry Rawls and Tommy Goin in front of a historical marker on the front lawn of the church and unveiled during the 125th anniversary celebration.

Current pastor of Millington’s First United Methodist Church Ed White.

Current pastor of Millington’s First United Methodist Church Ed White.

Millington’s First United Methodist Church, at 8029 Wilkinsville Road., celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding on Sept. 21, with a wide range of activities.
The Episcopal leader of the Nashville Area  for the United Methodist Church Bishop Bill McAlilly preached the morning’s sermon at a worship service with more than 200 people in attendance, The Superintendent of the Asbury District Rev. Tim Carpenter and his wife Dawn also were present, as well as several pastors who had led the church or been a part of the congregation in the past including Rev. Jerry Corlew 1973-77, Rev. Roy D. Williams, Jr. 1977-1986, Rev. Joe Mosley 1990 and Rev. Sam Pace 2011.
“God has been with this community of faith for a very, very long time. We stand on the shoulders of others, a cloud of witnesses,” Bishop McAlilly said.
Prior to the worship service, Bishop McAlilly’s wife Lynn gave a presentation on the United Methodist Church’s Adopt-A-School initiative, which centers on the importance of education, and literacy in particular, as a means toward lifting children and families out of poverty, She cited the success of Project Transformation, a summer reading program in Nashville, which focuses on reading with children, providing leadership skills to college students and fostering partnerships with local churches. She hopes to bring Project Transformation to the Memphis area. She stressed, “Not as a way to share Christ, not to preach Christ, but to be Christ,” in these communities. Following the worship service, an historical marker was unveiled on the front lawn of the church noting the year of the church’s founding in 1889. According to a brief history of the church written by Thelma Sigler Williams, faithful members organized the Methodist Church in Millington in 1889 and in 1891 purchased one-acre of land for $100, and built a one-room frame building that was the first church.
A time capsule, filled with items collected by the children and youth of the church, including vacation bible school crafts, a Millington Municipal Schools T-shirt, a copy of The Millington Star as well as a church directory and other items, was buried on the church grounds to be unearthed in 25 years during the church’s 150th anniversary celebration.
The day’s activities also included a potluck luncheon which featured a slide show and video presentation set to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” historical memorabilia including a photograph of a Sunday School class from the1930s and an anniversary cake. A historical booklet and church recipe booklet also were distributed to members of the congregation.
Jerry Rawls, a member of First Methodist since 1949 said becoming a member of the church, “proved to be a good decision. There are plenty of things for people to be a part of, from the United Methodist Men, United Methodist Women, hospital auxiliary and leadership. It has been a great and valuable asset to Millington for 125 years, and still is.”
John Proctor, who turns 77 years old next month, noted he has seen a lot of changes and growth at the church since he became a member more than 50 years ago. “There was no Williams Hall or Flame Center, and a small white house the pastor lived in.”  He added, “I really like [Pastor] Ed [White]. Ed is bringing in young people. I’m glad young people are coming in. The future (of the church) looks bright.”
Beverly Burk the church’s historian commented on the celebration stating, “It means a lot to us, giving us an appreciation for our church, bringing us closer to our church family, recognizing all of those who have done the work, and appreciating those who have passed on and made the church what it is today.”
She added, the celebration is also about recognizing “what a leader in this community our church has been, and looking forward to seeing it continue to grow.”
For more information about Millington’s First United Methodist Church visit the website at: http://www.fumcmillington.org/, on Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/First-United-Methodist-Church-Millington-TN/277362889711 or call 872-4414.

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