1835 - 1904
1835 Colonel William Barrett Travis wrote, in a letter to the New York Christian Advocate and Journal on August 17, 1835, of the urgent need for religious instruction in Texas. This letter was read at the Methodist General Conference which inspired the church to send missionaries:
My dear Sir:
I take liberty of addressing you from this distant quarter of the world for the purpose of requesting you to receive my name as a subscriber of your widely circulated Advocate. We are very destitute of religious instruction in this extensive fine country, and the circulation of your paper here will be greatly beneficial, in the absence of the stated preaching of the Gospel. Although the exercise of religion in any form is not prohibited here, but is encouraged by the people, yet but few preachers have come among us to dispense the tidings of salvation to upwards of sixty thousand destitute souls. I regret that the Methodist church, with its excellent itinerant system, has hitherto sent the pioneers of the Gospel into almost every destitute portion of the globe, should have neglected so long this interesting country. I wish you would do me and the good cause the favor to publish such remarks as will call the attention of the reverend Bishops, the different Conferences, and the Board of Missions, to the subject of spreading the Gospel in Texas. About five educated and talented young preachers would find employment in Texas, and no doubt would produce much good in this benighted land. Texas is composed of the shrewdest and most intelligent population of any new country on earth; therefore, a preacher to do good must be respectable and talented. In sending your heralds in the four corners of the Earth, remember Texas. Wm B. Travis
1839 Reverend Jess Hord organizes Houston's first Methodist church in the Senate Chamber of the Capitol Building of the Republic located, at that time, in Houston.
1843 At the December 13 Conference of Texas Methodists, it was reported that the Houston congregation consisted of 36 white members and 32 black members.
1844 The first Methodist church building in Houston, also the first brick church in Texas, was completed.
1848 "Slaves" and "Free" form separate congregations. It is the joy of the First family that, today, we minister to ALL people across lines of race, culture, class, or nationality.
1854 Reverend James Ferguson becomes our pastor. Ferguson is also remembered as the father of Jim Ferguson who later became Governor of Texas and the father-in-law of Miriam "Ma" Ferguson who was Texas' first woman Governor.
1860 A wall of the church's original brick building collapses during a storm just minutes after Sunday services. The congregation meets in the black members' building on a nearby lot until after the Civil War.
1867 A yellow fever epidemic kills more than 1,000 Houstonians, including our pastor, William Rees.
1883 On December 9, we begin worship in our new church building. It is an English Gothic brick church called Shearn Memorial. The church property is located at Travis and Texas Avenue, at the present downtown location of the Houston Chronicle.
1900 A disastrous September hurricane devastates Galveston, requiring the church to minister in dramatic ways to the survivors, followed by extensive support of the work to rebuild Galveston and much of Houston. Shearn church severely damaged.
1901 The automobile arrives on Houston streets creating a future need in church ministries as the city spreads out. Since then, the First family has helped start other Methodist churches throughout the Houston area.
1904 Members of the church form a city-wide ministry which becomes known as Wesley Community Center. Wesley is now supported by many churches and ministers to over 50,000 persons in need throughout Harris County each year.