Fort Worth First Church of the Nazarene
Following a revival campaign conducted by Reverend Mrs. Bessie Williams, the First Church of the Nazarene of Fort Worth, Texas was organized March 20, 1920. The following thirty-one persons were charter members: Miss Lillian Ling, Mrs. T.D. Key, Miss Leonce Ling, Miss Martly Bradford, D. A. Bradford, Mrs. J.C. Jones, Mrs. Bessie Williams, G. H. Willliams, S. P. Leverette, Mrs. B. G. Leverette, J. W. Lawler, Mrs. J.W. Lawler, Mrs. W.H. Teel, T. L. Mulanax, Miss Aline Morris, Mrs. T. L. Mulanax, Mrs. G. A. Banister, Mrs. Hower, Miss Jewel Scott, J. F. Bynum, J. C. McWhirter, Mrs. M. M. Colbert, Wesley Lawler, Syble Ray Boisseau, Mrs. Shrivers, T. D. Key, and Mrs. D. R. Boisseu.
The first official board meeting was held April 4, 1920 with District Superintendent J. Walter Hall presiding. At this first meeting, Mrs. W. H. Teel and Mrs. J.C. Jones were recommended as deaconesses. On October 28, 1920, Mrs. Teel submitted the following Deaconess Report. "Since January 1, 1920 I have conducted 284 jail services, distributed 353 books and tracts, paid out $184.28, made many visits to hospitals and to the County Farm, received many requests for prayer, had several conversions, and distributed several suits of clothes to the poor. The year 1920 has been a blessed year with the Lord."
The Sunday School was organized the first Sunday in September, 1920 with twenty-three enrolled. There were three classes and teachers with Mrs. E. M. Murrill presiding as superintendent. Services were held in a tent, following the organization, and later a room in the Tarrant County Court House was used for worship.
Subsequently the congregation worshipped in a hall on South Main, in the home of the pastor, and in 1922, a lot was purchased at 821 East Baltimore Street where a temporary tabernacle was erected. Several years later this crudely built structure was torn down and a commodious frame church was erected at the same location. This frame building was used until 1930 when a lot at 837 East Elmwood was purchased and the basement church was constructed.
On July 5, 1939, while Reverend James McGraw was pastor, a lovely red brick church was purchased at 1201 East Allen. Although conservatively valued at $45,000, the building was bought for only $15,000. Six years later, on March 4, 1945, during the pastorate of Reverend Raymond McClung, the mortgage was paid and the church building was debt free.
As the congregation grew stronger, a new facility was purchased at 3755 South Freeway. Rev. Dal Newberry and his wife Carolyn came to pastor First Church in June of 1978. With a passion for education, they worked with the church to begin the Training Depot Daycare Center in 1981, and Nazarene Christian Academy in 1984.
Previously in 1983, the church signed a contract to buy 52 acres at 2001 E. Main in Crowley, the east property line being the city limits of Fort Worth. In 1984 thirty-two acres were sold for a price of $8,000 greater than the entire cost of the original 52 acres. This transaction allowed the construction of the present facility to begin early in 1986. The estimated cost of the building and equipment was 1.5 million dollars.
Near completion of the building, the bank, which held the note, failed. The debt grew during that period of uncertainty to $2,000,000 when the note was called. Through the prayers and persistence of the members and friends of FW First and the diligence of Rev. Newberry, Mr. Chesley Lewis, Rev. Charles Jones, and Attorney Walter Cook, the note not only remained solvent but also was reduced to $750,000.This was truly a miracle of God and services began in the new facility in 1987.
October 3, 1994 marked the first Sunday for the current pastoral family, Rev. C.B. Glidden, Becky, Lauren and Ben. They soon added Courtney (the first parsonage baby FWF ever had!) and last but not least, Julia. Pastor Glidden has led the church in some great days of growth both spiritually and numerically.
Fort Worth First has a strong ministry to the children of our community not only through children's ministries in the church but also throughthe Training Depot Childcare and Learning Center and Nazarene Christian Academy. To continue God’s vision at First Church, in 2008 the St. Timothy Ministry Center was constructed adding 35,000 square feet to the campus.
God is good. He has been faithful and the congregation at First Church continues to trust Him for His continued guidance and direction in the days to come!