Celebrating Milestones, Methodist Style

Date Posted: 9/13/2012

There were Methodists in Malakoff before the town was even named!

Flash back 160 years to 1852. Picture a log cabin chinked with mud. Imagine the six charter members sitting in “Mitcham Chapel  Methodist Episcopal Church South” -- what is believed to be the first Methodist church in Henderson County in East Texas.  After the town of Malakoff was formed several years later, the church relocated in 1883 to what is now “First United Methodist Church of Malakoff.”  Pastor Charles Kimble says, “As we celebrate our 160th anniversary, it is amazing to think the church was here basically before the town was named.” 

Malakoff UMC has launched the ministries of many notable members in its history. According to Kimble, “St. Paul’s UMC Pastor Jim Bankston of Houston grew up in the East Texas church with Reverend Dr. Charles Millikan who currently serves as a V.P. of Methodist Hospital System in Houston. Charles’ father, Reverend Herman Millikan is also among the list of former pastors.  An additional point of distinction: Malakoff UMC has been home to 8 certified lay speakers out of 60+ in the district.”

September 16 will be an exciting day of celebration as the church welcomes former Malakoff pastor--now Bishop John W. Hart back to the podium to preach at 10 a.m. “At 91, Bishop Hart is still active in the General Conference and he still has family here at our church. We will also be hosting a reception after church and welcoming former pastors, members, and our District Superintendent Sandra Smith.”

According to Kimble, who is just two years away from having the longest tenure at Malakoff UMC, the Mitcham family collected enough funds in 1887 to purchase a bell for the church that is still in use to announce the beginning of Sunday service. “We are particularly excited about having well known Christian musician Ken Medema write a special song for our anniversary.” 

Malakoff UMC’s 160th anniversary was featured in the summer edition of Down Home Magazine http://www.thedownhomemagazine.com/