Local church closing its doors after 72 years of services

church members

by Ben Posey

Wesley Fellowship United Methodist Church will meet for the last time this coming Sunday at its location on White Settlement Road.
Over the years, membership has dwindled along with contributions, and now the church has run out of money.  Several of the current members will be seeking a new home for worship.
The church will hold its final service this Sunday, June 28, have a special catered luncheon, and then have a De-Consecration service at 1:30 p.m.

church curio cabinet b&w
This keepsake box containing a photo of Rev. Houston Petway Shrader (1895-1899), the Harwell Chapel and the communion dishes used at services in the early years will be donated to the White Settlement Historical Museum.

The backbone of the church was first organized back in August of 1943 as Liberator Methodist Church and was sponsored by Boulevard Methodist Church of Fort Worth. Reverend M. A. Turner officiated and there were thirty-five charter members that met in the Harwell Chapel.
In November of that same year, a lot on North Cherry Lane was purchased and ground was broken for the Wesley Methodist Church. A year later, ninety-six members were worshiping in the new building. A parsonage was purchased and moved to the Cherry Lane premises in 1947, and in 1948 the education building was opened. In 1950 an organ was purchased for the Sanctuary, and members Henry Knox and Ollie Campbell served as pianist and organist while Norma Williams led the choir.
Pastors during this time included Rev. Coy Simpson (1944-45), Rev. J.W. Ward (1945-49), Rev. R.R. Willingham (1949-57).
One current member, Carrol Holley (member since 1956), recalls attending at the building on Cherry Lane.
“I remember attending at the building on Cherry Lane for a few years and then we were excited about the new location here,” Holley said. “I helped hang that beautiful cross in the Sanctuary.”
In 1958 the Normans, a White Settlement pioneer family and members of the church, donated the land for the current church location at 9000 White Settlement Rd.
Charles Chadwick was the pastor at the time, and seventeen pastors have served Wesley including the current pastor, Rev. Jana Wear.
In 1960 the Methodists joined with the United Brethren and Wesley became Wesley United Methodist Church.
In 2008, the name was expanded to Wesley Fellowship United Methodist Church.
William and Martha Wedge have fond memories of the current church.
“We were married here in 2008,” Martha Wedge said. “William and I met here and we both knew God wanted us to be part of each other’s lives.”
“We were hoping to find another Methodist church in the area for our members,” said Margaret Hughes (member since 2005). “Our older audience needs a closer place because of travel.”