Wimberley United Methodist Church History
In April of 1980 a few people saw the need for a United Methodist Church in Wimberley. The Austin District Superintendent, Dr. Ralph Seiler, instructed us in the procedure of establishing a church and assigned the Reverend Grady Roe, pastor at Dripping Springs, to assist in this endeavor. Initially we held worship services in the elementary school cafeteria. Dr. Seiler constituted the church on June 8, 1980, with Grady Roe as part-time pastor while he continued at Dripping Springs. In the fall of 1980 we moved our services to the log cabin chapel in Pioneer Town.
By the time we celebrated our first anniversary we knew that we needed our own facility. In July 1981 we retained architect Charles Roccaforte to develop a master plan to be executed in three phases, beginning with the multi-purpose building. Our Building Committee worked under the guidance of the Austin District Board of Church Extension to search for a site and to plan our building. God richly blessed our efforts in numerous and wonderful ways. Jim Winn and Tinka Winn Eoff gave us four acres of prime land, and we received generous monetary contributions. We held our first worship service in our new multi-purpose building December 5, 1982.
A year and a half later we needed more classroom space and raised $10,000 for the addition of four rooms. The construction, done primarily by volunteers, was completed by October 1, 1984. In June 1985 J. W. Hutcherson became our first full-time pastor. We rented a house as the parsonage, and in April 1987 we bought a parsonage a half-mile from the church.
By 1986 we again needed more classroom space. In the spring of 1987 we engaged the services of Dr. Ken Callahan to help us determine our needs and to outline a method of proceeding. Following his advice we retained architect David Foster to develop plans for an education building. We sold church bonds to finance the construction, begun in December 1988 and consecrated on Palm Sunday in 1989.
Programs evolved over time. In the early years we held weekly Bible study classes in the St. Mary’s Catholic Church Parish Hall. In the Pioneer Town chapel we formed one adult class and one children’s class, followed shortly by a second adult class. Six members organized a choir, meeting for rehearsals in the Kuder home until the multi-purpose building was completed. Myrtle Kuder was the temporary pianist (a position she held for seven years). We hired Roger Pillsbury as our first paid organist.
We began two worship services on a trial basis in the fall of 1986. Dr. Callahan recommended in 1987 that we continue both services and add a competent Music Director. We hired Mary Guemple for this position in August 1987. With continued growth came more staff: a part-time Youth Director in July 1992, a part-time secretary and a part-time custodian in 1997, nursery workers in 1998, and a Director of Christian Education and a bookkeeper in 2001. Reverend J. W. Hutcherson was followed by Reverend Fletcher Pool in 1991, followed by Reverend Andy Tyson in 1995, Dr. Steven Sweet in 2000, and Reverend Laura Merrill in 2004.
In September 2001 a Needs Study Committee proposed to the annual Church Conference that we build a new sanctuary and additional classrooms. The congregation agreed. Over the next two years we hired the Texas Methodist Foundation to assist with fundraising. We appointed a Building Committee led by Wendell Payton who contracted with architect Duke Garwood to design the building and Bailey Elliott Construction to erect the building. The new sanctuary on the upper floor would seat about 300, and administrative offices would house staff on the lower floor. Existing offices would convert to needed classrooms.
Construction was completed early in 2005. Bishop Joel Martinez consecrated the new facilities on February 6, 2005.
Adjusting to the new space took time but it soon became our new home. Special services became even more special. Evening services like Christmas Eve are so beautiful, the lighting is so warm.
A part time Associate Pastor joined WUMC staff in 2007 to assist with adult education, pastoral care and evangelism. 2007 also included the development of a children's choir and youth band.
In March of 2008, the Barnabas Connection, an outreach program started by Faith Meets Life Sunday School class, began administering the financial assistance fund of the Wimberley Ministerial Alliance for people in need (Operation Good Shepherd). It is an honor to be entrusted with this responsibility.
During the summer of 2008, the church kitchen was remodeled and expanded to assist the growing ministries of the church.
God has truly blessed Wimberley United Methodist Church. We have active programs for children and youth, a wide variety of Sunday School for all ages and interests, and special Bible studies. We support mission projects within our church and for the community and for the world.
Thank you for joining us. We hope that you will come be a part of this wonderful family.