A New Day Dawns At Wesley
Wesley Chapel UMC
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors The people of the United Methodist Church

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Our History

     In the summer of 1912, Mr. James Lagroan, a member of Haven Chapel United Methodist Church (Meridian MS),  paid a regular visit to Bonita (a suburb of Meridian) and realized there was not a church there.  While he visited the homes of the people of the community, he knew that they were very interested in having a church in the community.  When talking with the families of Mr. Sanders Walker, Mr John Alexander, Mr William (Bill) Cole, and Mrs Lucy Bridges,  this church was organized.  It was on the second Sunday evening in August of 1912. 
The Sunday School met with Mr Lagroan and Mr Henry Johnson, from Haven Chapel, every Sunday evening in the home of Mrs Martha Cole.  Mrs Cole served as superintendent of the Sunday School.  And from the accumulated Sunday School treasury, they were able to purchase a lot from Mrs Repsher, who owned about half of the houses of African Americans in Bonita, for the sum of fifty ($50.00) dollars.  Mr Lagroan went to ACME ( a local building supply store), and talked to Mr John McLemore, the owner of the company at that time and also lived in Bonita, and told him what they were trying to do.  Mr McLemore was kind enough to give them enough lumber to build the first church.  Mr Lagroan, the people of the community, and some people from the East End section of Meridian built the church in one day.  Mr Sanders Walker gave the church the name "Wesley Chapel".  It was his dream and his prayer, that one day Wesley Chapel would be as a city that sits on a hill, and could be seen by the eyes of its members and the entire town.
In the fall of 1912 the Annual Conference met  and Mr Lagroan proposed the idea for a minister for the church.  The first pastor the Conference decided upon was Reverend Jessie Williams, who was in school at Haven College.  Mrs Martha Cole in later years moved away and Mr Sanders Walker was elected Superintendent of the Sunday School.  In 1926, Reverend Tom Johnson became the pastor and during his term a parsonage was built and the church enlarged and continued to grow.
Mr Ed S. Walker, a trustee and steward, asked the men from the brick company where he worked to donate a thousand bricks for the church.  The owner of the company, Mr W Parker, who also lived in Bonita, donated another thousand bricks.  In 1948, a new brick church was built with Reverend FW Pound as the pastor and Reverend AL Holland as the District Superintendent.  On Mr Sanders Walker's deathbed in 1950, he requested that Mr Esau Martin take his place as Sunday School superintendent.  Meanwhile, Wesley Chapel continued to grow.   Under Reverend AL Holland, the members of Wesley Chapel worked very hard to ensure that the African Americans in the Bonita community had a nice place to worship.
Wesley Chapel relocated to its present location, 512 18th Street, in 1961.  The church had to relocate because the city was building a new highway along the very location where the church was located.  Under Reverend JE Sherrod, Pastor, and Reverend S.S. Burnett, District Superintendent, the members of Wesley Chapel purchased the lot for $5,300 and built the new church for $32,000. 
Today, when we discuss the state of the church at Wesley Chapel UMC,  we believe our church to be a stable, organized, welcoming church that is ready to minister to all who are in need. 
The Lord has blessed our congregation and has given us the ability to reach out to the members as well as the community to provide different spirit filled services and activities that uplift the Kingdom of God.
Our leaders strive to set examples of love, loyalty, and inspiration to those who follow and seek God's will.  As a result, we see happiness, contentment, and an eagerness to do, learn, and to be apart of the Body of Christ.  We have witnessed growth in membership, ministries, and in community involvement.  We strive to nurture within the church the fruits that produce motivation, inspiration, and support for others.  There are still many needs within this community.  Our goals are to have our doors open even more to provide stability, education, and spiritual enlightenment to all people.