Troup: Church celebrating centennial

Courtesy Henry’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Troup is seen. The church is holding a centennial celebration today.

Henry's Chapel United Methodist Church in Troup will hold a ceremony today to celebrate its centennial and unveil its historical marker it was awarded from The Texas Historical Commission.

The Texas Historical Commission has recognized Henry's Chapel United Methodist Church as a significant part of Texas history with an Official Texas Historical Marker.

The designation honors Henry's Chapel United Methodist Church as an important and educational part of local history.

Henry's Chapel UMC is located at 4539 Farm-to-Market 13 East, six miles southeast of Troup.

Speakers for the afternoon include the District Superintendent of United Methodist Church, East District, the Rev. Chuck Hoffman, of Lufkin. Elizabeth McCutcheon, chairperson of the Cherokee County Historical Commission, will perform the official dedication of the marker.

"The Official Texas Historical Marker program helps bring attention to community treasures and the importance of their preservation," said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the THC, in the written release. "Awareness and education are among the best ways to guarantee the preservation of our state's history. This designation is a tool that will increase public awareness of important cultural resources," Wolfe said.

A subject qualifies for a marker if two criteria are met: historical significance and age.

"The community of Henry's Chapel was established six miles from Troup and named for Cumberland Presbyterian minister William Henry," reads the marker. "Before 1914 many Methodists worshiped at Bethel located two miles north of Henry's Chapel. R.E. Barron donated land to the Presbyterian Church, which, in turn, was donated to the Methodists to establish Henry's Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church South. In 1968 the denomination changed the church name to United Methodist. Circuit Preacher Joe Wells became the first minister and served other churches in the Marshall District. In the early days, the church hosted summer revivals, when prayer meetings and services were conducted under a brush arbor.

Church membership grew during the oil boom of the 1930s and, as a result, Henry's Chapel Church built a parsonage and hired reverend J.L. McAdams as the first permanent minister. The youth were organized in 1932 under the name Epworth League and, in 1939, changed the name to Methodist Youth Fellowship to reflect the merger of three different factions of Methodists.

The women organized in 1935 under the name Women's Missionary Society. In addition to giving spiritual guidance, the women's group supported missions and raised funds to help finance the building of a kitchen, fellowship room, and other church improvements. Through many economic and social changes, the church continues to meet the needs of the community as a place of worship and spiritual growth as well as social and civic events."

Historical significance is established by reviewing its role and importance in local history, and the age requirement depends on the topic.

"It is vital that as we move forward, we do not forget our past," said Susan Martin, church member, in the written release. "Not only will the Texas Historical Marker provide awareness in the community of our fascinating history, but it will become a building block for the church's future."

Texas has the largest marker program in the United States with approximately 15,000 markers. Seventeen states have used the Texas program as a model; the THC reviews more than 300 marker applications each year.



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