HOUSTON- Sloan Memorial United Methodist Church, a 133 year old congregation in the heart of Houston’s 5th Ward, has embarked upon a “faith-filled journey” in its quest to respond to a call for action that will effectively and efficiently minister to its ever-changing community and congregation. In recent years, the church’s facility has been plagued with numerous structural and foundation issues that aggravate and expose additional deficiencies each time one issue is taken care of. A survey by several structural engineers deemed the facility unsafe for the continuance of weekly worship services and related ministry activities.
The decision to forego continued repairs, renovations, and upgrades and embark upon a “journey of faith”, to trust in the Lord to “do a new thing” with Sloan Memorial UMC, was not an easy one. Rev. Joseph R. Wilson, Sr., Pastor of Sloan, suggested the theme – “A HOUSE NOT BUILT BY MAN” to reflect the congregation’s need to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:4-6. With Sloan UMC being a multi-generational congregation in the midst of a community whose demographics are completely different from those of some 50+ years ago, when its present structure was erected after having been destroyed by fire, its members have rallied together and developed a “MINISTRY PLAN” that will be the foundation for its new construction.
Mrs. Isabella Hall Carvin, a member of Sloan UMC for 90 years, noted “I am excited and looking forward to the new Sloan! I was here when they built the existing structure and believe that it’s time for a new one. Sloan, keep moving forward! I thank God for the leadership that we have at this time and for their faith that we will be able to complete this task.”
Eleven-year old Baily Billings, a student at First Colony Middle School, makes the weekly drive with her family from Missouri City. She reflected, “I feel somewhat disappointed, on one hand, because the church at 3102 Nance Street is the only one I have ever been a part of. But, on the other hand, I am excited that we will have space for Children’s Church, a Computer Room, and will be able to invite our friends to join with our praise dancing and lock-ins.”
The sanctuary structure at 3102 Nance Street has been cleared. Files have been secured. Archives, furniture, musical instruments, and other artifacts have been placed in temperature-controlled storage for preservation. The church’s cornerstone and bell have been preserved. Asbestos abatement has been completed. Demolition was scheduled to begin during the week of February 18th.
Worship services for the Sloan UMC congregation are held weekly at 11 AM at Wesley UMC, 7225 Homestead Road. Worship services for the Wesley UMC congregation begin at 9 AM. Weekly meetings, Bible Study, and Sunday School sessions for Sloan UMC are still conducted at Sloan’s Helping Hands Center, adjacent to the sanctuary structure.