Multiple generations of Weatherford families are celebrating this year’s 50th anniversary of the construction of Weatherford-First UMC’s sanctuary.
Pastor Lynn Brack said that part of this year’s celebration was a sermon in worship Nov. 23 by Kenneth Tobler of Tulsa, who was pastor of the church from 1974 to 1979. Tobler had presided at the dedication service in 1977 when the mortgage debt was retired.
The process of building had started with a meeting of the Methodist Men and their wives in 1959. The group unanimously recommended appointment of a building committee and establishment of a building fund.
In 1960, the church voted to buy 10 acres of land on North Seventh Street for the sanctuary. A floor plan was drawn up in 1962, and the church building committee approved a $300,000 bond issue in 1963.
Groundbreaking was in April 1963, and the church sold its former site at Custer and Franklin Streets in March 1964.
The first service in the new sanctuary was a service of consecration on March 1, 1964. Nightly services celebrating the opening continued through March 6.
Cost of the sanctuary was $385,636.40.
The congregation is proud of its status as a "generational church," with families worshipping there across more than a century.
Dating back to the church’s inception in 1898 is the family of Ed and Winnie Ola Berrong Sr. The baptism of Nyla Isabella Berrong represented the fifth generation of that family at Weatherford-First.
Several generations of the Everett and Bernice Hamburger family have also attended First UMC.
Samantha Hamburger is a student at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford and an intern at the Wesley Foundation there. She represents her family’s fourth generation at Weatherford-First. Arlen Hamburger has served as church treasurer for more than 50 years.
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