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The History of Chapelwood United Methodist Church

The vision of Chapelwood was seen by 13 people who met October 2, 1948, to discuss forming a neighborhood Methodist church. Conrad and Lorene Bering, Chester and Arla Bintliff, Sally Carroll, Bill and Nitis English, George and Clara Hardeman, Berta Jones, Albert and Frances Lewis, and Carrie Rush vowed to “see this project through to its ultimate goal.” They canvassed neighborhoods north and south of Katy Road to invite other Methodists to join the effort. The first worship service occurred in December 1948, with 19 present at the Boy Scouts’ Camp Hudson, Memorial Drive at South Piney Point.

Early in 1949 the meeting place changed to Spring Branch School, Campbell Road at Long Point. The Sunday School, Board of Stewards, Women´s Society of Christian Service and Adult Choir were organized. A building site of five acres on Magnolia Drive (now Greenbay) was purchased. The name “Chapelwood” was officially adopted, a contraction of “The Chapel in the Woods.” Various conference preachers filled the pulpit on Sundays; and in May, Bishop A. Frank Smith appointed our first pastor, Dr. H. Grady Hardin. Charter membership closed June 5 with 103 members on the roll. The charter was issued by the Texas Conference on June 6, 1949.

Worship services and Sunday School moved to the newly opened Memorial Drive Elementary School on Smithdale in October 1949. A successful fund drive in 1950 raised $4,500 to match funds from the District Board of Missions and First Methodist Church. Church members cleared and staked the property, the county added a road, and a donated house was moved in for office and fellowship space. Boy Scout Troop 666, chartered in March 1949, was sponsored by Chapelwood beginning in 1950. As the congregation grew, annual events began: Vacation Bible School (with St. Francis Episcopal) and the all-church picnic. The temporary building burned in 1951, adding urgency to the building campaign in 1952 which raised $150,000 for a 500-seat Sanctuary and first educational wing. Houston architect Hamilton Brown was commissioned for the design and ground was broken on January 10, 1954. The Sanctuary was ready for two services on September 12. The sounding of seven chimes to end each Sunday worship was inaugurated. A Service of Consecration in November included Bishop Smith preaching and the choir singing an anthem written for the occasion. The new Sanctuary was one of three U.S. churches recognized in 1955 by the National Church Architecture Association and the American Institute of Architects, Houston Chapter.