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First United Methodist Church celebrates 170 years

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
May 20, 2010 at 12:20 a.m.
Updated May 21, 2010 at 12:21 a.m.

First United Methodist Church in Victoria will celebrate its 170th anniversary Sunday.

ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

First United Methodist Church Christian Life Center

407 N. Bridge St.

9 a.m., special ceremonies

10 a.m., worship service, confirmation, Holy Communion and sermon

Celebrating the birthday of the church, during what many Christians recognize as the Day of Pentecost, takes on a special meaning for First United Methodist Church.

Sunday, the church will celebrate its 170th anniversary along with Pentecost, confirmations and a visit from Bishop James Dorff of the Southwest Texas Conference.

Pentecost celebrates when early Christians first received the Holy Spirt.

"It was just too good a chance to pass up putting all three together," said the Rev. Jarrel Sharp, church pastor.

The Methodists were the first protestants to organize a church in Victoria during a time when protestant churches were illegal in the Mexican state of Texas-Coahuila.

Circuit riders, like the Rev. Jesse Hord who preached in Victoria in 1839, were vital to keeping the faith alive during the Texas Revolution, according to the church's history. The congregation was established in 1840 by the Rev. Joseph P. Sneed.

Sharp said the celebration is important to recognize not only the past but also the future.

"The reason that we celebrate the 170 years is not for nostalgia's sake, but to remind ourselves the heritage we received is a gift for our future ministry," he said. "It's a foundation we build on for tomorrow, so that others can know Jesus Christ, so a greater service to the community may be possible in the future."

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