St. Paul UMC moves on after Rita
The Rev. Brad Morgan may be new to Bridge City, but he knew one thing before he got there.
That nine months ago the area where his new church is was under water.
St. Paul United Methodist Church, with 65 years of history in Bridge City, will have the first service at its new location Sunday at 1155 W. Roundbunch Road.
Sunday school begins at 9:15, with worship at 10:30 followed by a fellowship meal.
It was not Hurricane Ike that made the old sanctuary unusable, but Hurricane Rita in 2005.
“This is an exciting time,” said Morgan, who replaces the Rev. David Green.
Green and his family recently moved to head a congregation in Cold Spring, after receiving much credit for making the new church possible by striking a deal with Walgreen’s for the old property at 120 Bland Drive.
“We are blessed to have a new facility to open, and we want the whole community to be a part of it,” Morgan said.
The church will also host an open house from 3-7 p.m. July 18, featuring food, beverages, games and live music.
“This is a state-of-the-art facility for worship,” Morgan said.
“It has seamless integrated technology and will be great place to evidence its first fruits being given to the Lord. It’s very surprising to see it from the street, because it looks like such a very modest facility. Inside, there are line passage ways on the way to the sanctuary, with beautiful wood beams that remind me of Noah’s Arc. I don’t know if it was planned that way on purpose or not, but it’s very beautiful.”
The sanctuary, as well as other rooms, have large screens for multimedia presentations. Other designated room include a children’s area, a Fellowship Center, a Christian Center that seats 200, a Worship Center and a “children’s pod” area for younger kids. The building is just short of 29,000 square feet.
“I’ve never seen a church that makes such good use of its space,” Morgan said. “We’re still waiting on some altar furniture. We’ve had volunteers bringing things from the old church all day; it’s been like an army of ants around here. In the future, we plan to have an outside Prayer Garden that will be available to the public; a playground area and our outside sign are still forthcoming. As pastor, I’m thrilled and excited to be here at this time and place.”
Morgan added that numerous underwriters and countless volunteers have made the new church possible.
The St. Paul UMC congregation decommissioned its older 25,000 square-foot sanctuary in a special service Jan. 6, 2008.
“This building has history and it was not an easy decision to make,” Green told The Record in 2008. “None of us could have conceived of this move two years ago, but we feel that God is directing us to a new place.”
Members met in the Family Worship Center, a smaller side building next to the original sanctuary, on Bland until September, 2008; then changed to an interim location on Farm Road 408.
According to The Record’s news archives, the congregation began in 1944. According to church historian Mildred Hatton, there were 47 charter members.
Members worshipped in a tent with folding chairs and gas lanterns.
Later they built a little white church with a steeple; and in 1961, the modern A-frame church building near the corner of Texas Avenue and Roundbunch was built.
In 1978, a bell tower was built on the corner of Bland and Roundbunch to house what was called “the old church bell.”
Morgan, 37, is a graduate of Perkins School of Theology in Dallas.
He and his wife Laura have two children, James, 7; and Kate, 5.
St. Paul UMC’s Web site is stpaulfamily.com.