By James Shott
BLUEFIELD, Va. (July 19, 2018) – First United Methodist Church of Bluefield – “First Church,” as we locals call it – has a long history of service to its mission. It is a mission that began nearly 100 years ago when the processor of First Church – Graham Methodist Episcopal Church, South -- opened on Nov. 29, 1925.
This building was east of the location of the present building, which was dedicated as the First Methodist Church on Easter Sunday 1946.
After 93 years, First Church is still doing God’s work every Wednesday and Sunday, as well as other days during the week.
As one of 872 congregations in the Holston Conference, First Church works to assist the conference in its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,
In 2017, the Rev. Jay Ferguson returned to his hometown to become the minister of First Church. Ferguson says that he is pleased to work the fertile ground that was prepared by his predecessors. Ferguson says that he has removed the stumps and rocks at different churches but he has not yet brought in a harvest. At First United Methodist Church he is harvesting what his precedessors’ work has grown. He will gladly harvest what others have planted and nourished.
On Easter Sunday 2018, Ferguson’s harvest saw 41 children and adults join the church.
Over recent years, the church grew to its peak of 488 members in 2013 but has since suffered from the difficulties affecting many regional churches. These difficulties include identity changes as well as people leaving the area, passing away, or just leaving the church. Membership at First United Methodist Church dropped to 402 in 2018 but has increased to 437 in 2018.