Marvin Methodist Church in Tyler holds 175th anniversary celebration

East Texas News’ Avery Niles speaks about Marvin Methodist’s 175 year celebration on Sunday.
Published: Nov. 12, 2023 at 3:37 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The oldest church in Smith County celebrated their 175th anniversary on Sunday.

The Marvin Methodist congregation began meeting as a part of a community service that was held in the first log cabin courthouse in Tyler in 1848. Gerry Giles, an associate pastor for the church, said after several years they moved locations.

“What was then the methodist church began to meet in a blacksmith shop. Some years later, we moved to a facility just across the street to where the sanctuary is currently. We used the lower floor of what the masons had built. We stayed in that building until it became structurally unsteady. Ground was broken on this very location at 300 West Erwin in 1890,” Giles said.

On Sunday, 175 years later and after 130 years in the very same sanctuary, the congregation celebrated the momentous occasion with worship, a big lunch, archive tours, horse and carriage rides and former pastors returning for the event.

“I always think it’s so important to remember milestones in one’s history. It’s always great to remember, but it’s always a great occasion to look forward to the future,” Giles said.

Stratton Hibbs has been a member of the church from a very young age. He said the number of people who showed up today is a reflection on the number of lives the church has touched.

“It’s wonderful to see all of the people who have been impacted all the way from their adolescence up to being married here, potentially. The Sunday schools they have had and perhaps raising their own children in’s just a wonderful opportunity to see the continuity of all those relationships stitched together,” Hibbs said.

The church’s historic steeple had been damaged in a storm several years ago. Over the last few weeks, it has undergone repairs. The work was finished on Friday, right before the big celebrations.