The area around Duncanville had its beginning in 1845 when the first families came and built their log cabins. In 1847 missionaries from Nacogdoches came and established Methodism. These missionaries built a log house and called it Wesley Chapel. It was located southeast of where Highway 67 crosses Camp Wisdom Road. In 1872 a church house was built at Wheatland (Hampton Road at Wheatland Road) and the membership moved there.
In 1881 R. G. Penn gave 2 acres of land on Horne Branch (Center Street east of Cedar Ridge Road) for church and school purposes. A house was built and called Union Hall. In 1882 the first Sunday School of this community was organized at Union Hall. In 1883 George W. Owens organized a Methodist Episcopal Church South at Union Hall with 14 members: H. S. and Eliza Carr, James and Nottie Horne, John and Rachel Hastings, John and Sallie Harrison, Joe and Lizzie Swytzer, Miss Cordelia Garner, Miss Rebecca Brandenburg, Miss Lura Carr, and Mrs. Jane Garner. In the 1880s and early 1890s camp meetings were held under the trees at Union Hall. In 1888 the land and house at Union Hall were traded to Mr. Penn for land where our church campus is located.A large one room house was built and the membership of Union Hall was moved. In 1896 Duncanville and Cedar Hill were made into a circuit and these two churches were together until 1913. In the summer of 1900 an addition was built to the church. A room on the north side was added with a vestibule and a belfry with a real bell.
In 1913 the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South at Duncanville were put with Wheatland and they were called the Duncanville and Wheatland Circuit. A large shingle-top tabernacle was built east of the church. This tabernacle was used for meetings, homecomings, funerals, and other gatherings during the summer. In 1926 the Duncanville membership decided that they needed a new church so they moved into the tabernacle and the church was torn down. Everyone helped by pulling nails and piling lumber. On Thanksgiving Day in 1927 the ladies served a dinner in the business part of town and raised $1400 for the construction of a new sanctuary. Much of the labor for this new facility was donated and when they dug the basement in solid rock, they dug deeper than needed and had to fill in a foot or more. Several outsiders and doubters, when they saw the excavation, commented that many a snow would fall in that hole before it is finished.
This new building cost $15,000 and was a pay-as-you-go undertaking. Every brick and every bit of mortar plus the labor was paid for before it was placed. D. L. Hopkins, Sr. was chairman of the men’s building committee and Mrs. N. M. Hunt was chairman of the ladies. This sanctuary was located at the corner of Daniel and Avenue C facing north on Daniel. The church was completed in 1928 and Rev. A. M. Stout was the first pastor to serve. On Sunday, July 8, 1962, Bishop William C. Martin and Rev. Walter Sullens led the congregation in the laying of the cornerstone and opening the sanctuary (presently Aldersgate Fellowship Hall) for worship.
On November 17, 1974 a Memorial Garden was dedicated on the site of the 1928 sanctuary which was razed in 1973. It was dedicated to the glory of Almighty God and for service in this church in loving memory of Mr. and Mrs. C. O. Vinyard, Mr. and Mrs. J. O. Fite, and Mrs. Frances LoPresti and also in a spirit of love and thanksgiving to all those who served in the 1928 church and to those for whom memorials have been given by loved ones and friends.
The Youth Center contained a gymnasium, scout rooms, equipment room, snack bar, a conference room, a suite of offices, a work room, and upstairs recreation room and youth classes. Over the years, several changes have been made. It now consists of a gymnasium, snack bar, recreation room for the youth, youth Sunday School classes, adult Sunday School classes both up and downstairs, and the Church Library.
Through the years, the church has actively served and met the needs of the community. Many of Duncanville’s earliest settlers and town leaders have been members here. With its founding dating to the first days of the city’s settlement, the First United Methodist Church of Duncanville is an important element of the area’s heritage. On September 27, 1984 the church accepted with gratitude a gift from Mr. and Mrs. S. G. Alexander the architectural plans as well as the shell of this building. The finishing of the building was made possible by donations from other members of the congregation and friends.
November 17, 1974, the new S. Gus Alexander, Jr. United Methodist Youth Center was dedicated. Lieutenant Alexander, a life-long member of FUMC Duncanville, was killed while serving his country in Viet Nam. His wife, Kathy, initiated the action for the Youth Center in his memory.
The business of our church is conducted in the Administration Building located at the corner of Main Street and Daniel. It was purchased from Texas Power and Light in 1993 and remodeled to fit our needs and occupied in 1994.
In 1988 as worship attendance increased, the need for a new sanctuary was evident. Fund raising began and the groundbreaking took place October 30, 1994. The dream was realized on March 24, 1996 as we moved into a new 900 seat sanctuary, with a 70 seat choir loft, 2,300 square foot narthex and 2,300 square foot choir rehearsal hall.
After moving into the new sanctuary in 1996, work began on remodeling the old sanctuary into a 6,000 square foot bi-level fellowship hall plus a new 750 square foot commercially equipped kitchen.