History

of Gainesville United Methodist Church

 

Today's Gainesville United Methodist Church (GUMC) has a long and rich history of serving Gainesville and the surrounding area. For 135 years many generations of church members have been "Winning and Nurturing Disciples for Christ" and "Being the Hands and Feet of Christ."

GUMC was originally organized in the 1870s as the Gainesville Methodist Episcopal Church, South and was part of the Sudley Mission of the Washington District, Baltimore Conference. In 1881, the church's earliest members transferred from Buckland Church to Gainesville. In these early days, church ministers lived in a parsonage built on land that was conveyed to the church on November 16, 1883, by Mr. Lorenzo J. Prescott for $800 cash.

On August 18, 1883, Miss Somerville Gaines, an original member of the congregation (whose family gave the community its name), conveyed one acre of land upon which the church was built. This acre adjoined the historic Gaines Cemetery. Adjoining this family cemetery, the church established its own cemetery which to this day is the final resting place for many members of the church. The first stone for the new church was laid in 1884. The building remained unfinished and incomplete in its interior for several years. Finally on October 10, 1886, the completed building was dedicated.

Since then, the church and is members have experienced many different "firsts", events, and milestones. In 1954, it was determined that a new parsonage was needed to replace the one built in 1883 and 1884. A new parsonage was built by members of the church as a labor of love on a site in an area known than as Lake View Estate, a new addition to Gainesville. Today, the church's pastor lives in his own home. In 1961, with the help of the Northern Virginia Board of Missions, five more acres of the Gaines estate adjoining the church were acquired. Other events of interest are: 1964, the first church paper was published under the name, "The Gleamer"; 1972, A Gainesville-Bethel merger took place in June; and in 1982 and 1983, the church building received updated electrical wiring and white siding was added to the Sunday School Wing. A well was also dug and the sewer hooked up.

Over its long and storied history, the church has had 49 different pastors with the current lead pastor, Rev. John Patterson, coming to Gainesville in 1997. With his arrival, the GUMC embarked on its most significant physical, operational, and spiritual changes since its beginning in 1884.

For many years since 1984, it had been recognized by its members that the church was in desperate need for more adequate facilities to accomplish its mission. From that date to 1997, the planning for a new building had gone on sporadically. Finally, under Patterson's leadership and the dedication of its members, plans were developed and implemented to build a new church building that would be larger and able to accommodate a growing congregation and an expanding vision. With the very generous support and interest of the Peterson Family Trust, a beautiful, modern church was built and consecrated on April 30, 2006, by the Presiding Bishop of the Virginia Annual Conference, Rev. Charlotte Kammerer.

Today, the members of GUMC enjoy worshiping in a beautiful, open sanctuary, enjoying fellowship in a large recreational hall, and educating its children and adult members in the two-story education wing. The church membership has grown, necessitating the addition of the church's first associate pastor in 2015. The church facilities are used by a host of community groups such as the Garden School, Boy Scouts,  AWANA, AA,  and a robust youth program. Particularly important is the dedication of church members to mission programs that help those in need not only locally but throughout the country and abroad.

Thank you for taking the time to read the history of our church. We hope you spend some more time browsing our website and then come join us for a Worship service. It's where children (and adults) are all seen and heard!