The Methodist movement in Bois D’Arc began at a revival in a one room school house just south of town in 1886. The congregation quickly built a church building on the north edge of town shortly thereafter.
The original church building was a white frame building much like most churches and schools of that time. Our church building had three sections of pews inside the sanctuary, and had colored panes of glass instead of the usual clear glass windows.
This building was home to the congregation for many years. During the 1920’s, there was a Christian Church congregation in Bois D’Arc whose minister preached against dancing and playing cards. The Methodist response to this was to take the pews out of the sanctuary and host dances on Friday evenings. Most of the young families of the other church moved their membership to the Methodists!
In 1929 the Ladies Aid Missions group was meeting at the church when the flue of the pot belly stove caught the roof on fire. The women quickly began a bucket brigade fighting the flames and trying to save articles from the church. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful, and the church building was a complete loss.
Mired in the depths of the depression, the congregation banded together and pledged that the Church would not go into debt to rebuild. The property of the now defunct Christian Church was purchased and in 1930 construction began on our current church building. The congregation built the building themselves, as money and time were available. The basement was finished first, and the congregation met there for several years while finishing the rest of the building.
The native rock was hauled from neighboring farms and congregants told stories of assembling the pews on the front yard when they arrived. The windows in the sanctuary, basement and auxiliary rooms all bear the names of the families that paid for the window. The large windows in the balcony and choir loft have the names of the groups that raised the money to provide them. It should be noted that the two largest windows have the names of the two women’s groups in the congregation. A hint to the role women have always played in the survival of our congregation.
The church building was dedicated in 1938, with the distinction that it was never in debt.
Maude (Frame) Squibb a long time member and widow of the town’s jewelry store owner (Elmer Squibb) passed away in the 1950’s leaving the church her home in town and a farm west of town. Her only request was that their pictures hang in her Sunday School room. Their pictures still hang in the room on the west side of the sanctuary.
In the early 1970’s an education building was added with several Sunday School classrooms and a large Fellowship room. In the 1990’s, the Education Building was expanded, and the buildings were joined giving a LONG awaited handicap entrance to the building with the addition of an elevator.
The United Methodist Church worldwide, and especially in Bois D’Arc has always been a host to the community. The local elementary school burned in the 1930’s as well and the school met in the church’s mostly unfinished building while the school was being replaced. The Bois D’Arc Braves 4H Club was founded in the basement of the church in 1968 and still meets in our Fellowship Hall. The fire department, water department, Bois D’Arc Boosters, Cub Scouts have all held fundraisers or meetings in our facilities.
Our church has a long and storied history, yet the best is yet to come!
Bois D’Arc United Methodist Church remains a vital congregation. We were very happy on our 125th anniversary to celebrate that we are a much bigger church now than we were when we started. There is a certain energy when the people of BDUMC gather inside our beautiful rock building. We can tell our future is bright and full of promise.
To really get to know what BDUMC is like, it’s best to visit. It’s easier to experience than to explain. So take a Sunday morning drive down I-44 or Hwy 266 and come experience a little church with a great big heart.
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