For over 160 years the First Methodist Church of Comanche (FMC) has been witnessing to and serving the people of Comanche County Texas. The church began in Cora when Comanche County was first organized and the county seat was at Cora.
When the county seat was moved to Comanche in 1859 the Methodist Episcopal Church South also moved to Comanche. The church was located in the 200 block of East Grand Ave., one block north east of the courthouse square, where it is still located today.
During the more than 160 years of its existence the church has been led by some 68 pastors. The first church building was built in 1859, serving only until about 1875
From 1875 to 1879 services were held in the Comanche College building.
A sanctuary constructed of stone was opened in 1879 and served until 1929
In 1939 the name was changed to the First Methodist Church after the Methodist Episcopal Church South and the Methodist Protestant church combined.
In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist church united to become a new denomination United Methodist Church.
In 1973-1974 an education building was added.
Then in 1992 ground was broken for a new sanctuary and a family life center.
The 1929 building was deemed unsafe, and church services were held in the fellowship hall of the education building while the new buildings were begun. As soon as the family life center was completed services were held there pending completion of the new sanctuary. The first worship service in the new (current) sanctuary was on Easter Sunday, April 11, 1993 with Dr. Russell (“Rusty”) Martin, pastor, conducting the service.
Although there is a tendency to think of church history in terms of facilities, the history really is one of people and programs, with sanctuaries serving only as places to plan and think and organize. Over the years several church members have become preachers.
Before 1958 those preachers included Price McCullough, Yeargin Switzer, R.A. Baird, John Donaho, Glen Bowman and Harold Shankle. More current preachers from FMC include Gary Turner, Marie Helm and John Seth. Known missionaries to foreign countries include Agnes Graham (Korea) and Alice Alsup (China).
FMC has been and continues to be known for its outreach to others. Rather than developing internal programs of outreach, the church’s efforts have often been accomplished through working with other civic organizations. Mission projects developed in the local church include “Happy Feet “that provides shoes for local school children, Turkey Blessing Boxes providing Thanksgiving meals for needy families, and SHINE Serving Him in our Neighborhood Everyday Women have played an important part in the church from Missionaries to ladies raising money for the upkeep of the parsonage. Sarah Circle, is currently the active women’s group which meets one Thursday morning a month. They support the pastor’s Bible Study and other missional projects in the church.
For several years the youth of FMUC participated in annual Central Texas Conference Youth in Mission trips for Junior High and Senior High youth groups. Senior High trips were usually in adjoining states, while Junior Highs were always within the state. On location the youth and adult sponsors work on construction projects for people in need of help. FMUC Comanche also served as the host church for other congregations doing mission work in Comanche.
In May of 2022 following years of conflict in the United Methodist Church over Biblical doctrine, upholding the book of discipline and traditional values a new denomination was launched, the Global Methodist Church. First United Methodist Church of Comanche became on of the very first Global Methodist Churches on Nov. 9th and changed the name back to First Methodist Church.
We feel very blessed by our rich history, but we also look forward to future endeavors rather than living in the past. Won’t you come visit and work with us as we attempt to make Disciples of Jesus Christ Who Worship Passionately, Love Extravagantly, and Witness Boldly.
Making the Connection
Comment from Rev. Jae Kim:
Long ago, the greatest Architect said: “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matt 16:18). This statement, made by Jesus Christ, confidently assures that what He builds will stand firm against any opposition that may come against it. Indeed, throughout its 2000 years of existence, the Church has stood the test of time and has been able to endure through all hardships. We also remember the heroes of the faith, who through their legacy continue to shape the church today.
When I first came to Comanche, I was unaware of the rich history of our church. This year, Comanche First Methodist Church celebrates its 165th year. As I was rummaging through the history of our church, I discovered something fascinating. There was a woman from Comanche who set foot on the soil of Korea, where I grew up as a child, 100 years before! Her name was Agnes Graham (1885–1944), who was sent as a missionary from the Epworth League (Methodist Ministry Organization). As Agnes sailed for Korea in 1913, she became a shining light of hope in that desolate land and began to plant the seed of the gospel. She was proficient in 7 languages and immediately began to teach and educate the local population as the president of the Mary Helm Girls’ School. There, she served the poor, marginalized, and especially women who had lost the opportunity for education due to confinement in domestic roles.
Thanks to her tireless efforts, an evangelistic center was established in the city of Songdo, featuring a beautiful stone building complex that includes a clinic, hospital, classrooms, domestic science equipment, and everything necessary for a complete evangelistic social center. At the time, it was the only building of its kind in all of Korea. The impact of Agnes’ teachings can be seen throughout our church, as there are countless women who have been dedicated to learning under her guidance. In recognition of this, we have a classroom named after her in the back of the church, where you can visit, take a picture, or have a moment of silent prayer. For 18 years, from 1913 to 1931, Agnes devoted her entire being to serving the people of Korea, even sacrificing her beautiful youth for what she believed to be precious. It is striking to note that she not only made the journey to Korea three times, but also had to undertake a long journey to San Francisco and endure a 45-day voyage by ship to get there.
One can only imagine what must have been going through her mind as she stood on the deck of the ship, returning home after 18 years of hard labor. Maybe, maybe she said, “I’m finally departing the land I dearly loved and served. But someday, a swan will come, flying across this Pacific ocean.” I, as the pastor of Comanche FMC, a hundred years later, am humbled and privileged to be here, standing on the shoulders of her sacrifice and the gospel she planted in that desolate land. Her legacy is a testament to the beautiful faithfulness of God and a reminder that Christ is still building His church even today. People of Comanche are not ordinary people, but possess a unique identity. Today, we can take pride in our rich history and legacy.
Pastor Jae Kim's Ordination
Short Bio of Reverend Jae Kim:
Rev. Jae Kim completed his Master of Theology (ThM) in 2016 and finished his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) coursework in Bible Exposition with high honors at Dallas Theological Seminary in 2019. As the Comanche First Methodist Church embarks on a new journey as the Global Methodist Church, we are excited to have Rev. Jae Kim as our very first Global Methodist Pastor