Oldest Methodist Church in Dallas County Holds Final Service
FARMERS ‘BRANCH, Texas – The oldest Methodist church in Dallas County held its last service on Saturday.
Church leaders said between dwindling financial resources and the pandemic, the United Methodist Church congregation from Webb Chapel to Farmer’s Branch no longer had the support they needed to continue.
Leaders voted in February to close the church.
On Saturday, members celebrated the Service of Life to celebrate its 176-year history in Dallas County.
For Sammie Jo Perry, Webb Chapel United Methodist Church is her home.
“My mother brought me here when I was a baby,” she recalls.
She married in church in 1954 to a man who came from another background.
“They were all Baptists, but I told him when he married me he had to become a Methodist,” she said.
Saturday was the first time she had been inside the sanctuary since the pandemic moved online services.
There was a birthday party, when Perry was 89, but there was also a dark celebration for something nearly twice his age, his church.
Saturday’s service was the last service, as the oldest Methodist church in Dallas County is closing.
Perry’s son Joe says times were tough for the aging church until last year, but the pandemic was the last straw.
“The church is a family,” he added.
“It was difficult, and I know it was difficult for every church,” said Reverend Albano Tayengo of Webb Chapel UMC.
The members said their farewells. Don Walker joined the church after a battle with drug addiction in 2006.
“I haven’t used it since,” he says.
It is safe to say that his life is now better for it.
“Absolutely, I met my wife here. I proposed to her here, and we got married here, ”he says.
Members shared stories. They took a look at the founding members and the original building.
Perry isn’t sure exactly how she’ll feel when she leaves.
“Don’t ask me that,” she said. “I will be sad. I will be sad.”
But as she glanced around one last time, she knew that in her heart this church would forever be home.
“Well, it’s just part of my life,” she added.
The building will remain standing. It was handed over to Immanuel Korean United Methodist Church, which uses the space part-time.