History

The Church

fumc100In the 1830’s the river town that would become Shreveport, Louisiana, was a frontier settlement often mired in the mud. It was merely a stop on the Texas Trail, welcoming the river boats and then watching the dust settle behind wagons headed west. The town prospered from its alluvial Red River soil and its port status, and it dealt with the flotsom — saloons, carousing, shootings.

First United Methodist Church was founded in this rough-and-tumble environment by a small society of Christians called Methodists. The church had no building, and pastors were visiting circuit riders. It was still simply known as Shreveport Methodist Church in 1845 when it built the city’s first small meeting house on Market Street and shared it with the Baptists and Presbyterians.

Later it would be called the First Methodist Church – after it helped establish other Methodist churches in Shreveport. A denominational merger eventually would change the name to its current name of First United Methodist Church. The church, like Shreveport, would grow and prosper. It would move to the head of Texas Street and would become central to the life of the city. That would be one thing that would remain the same. Eventually, most of the other Shreveport churches would move to the burgeoning suburbs, but the Methodists would not. In 1960, pastor D.L. Dykes, Jr., phrased the philosophy, “I think every city needs a heart, a heart of religion. We chose to stay downtown and be that heart.”

Today First United Methodist Church lifts its steeple high above the city — a symbol of the same, simple hope that marked the church’s founding: the desire to serve God and reflect the abiding love of Jesus Christ.

History Brochure

Moller Pipe Organ

fumcorganIn traditional churches, everything you see and hear is designed to be a vital element of the worship service. Nowhere is that more true than with the church organ.

There’s a reason that the pipe organ is referred to by 14th Century French poet and composer Guillaume de Machaut as the “King of Instruments.” Nothing short of a symphonic orchestra can rival the majesty, the power, and the awe-inspireing sound of a pipe organ. To hear a pipe organ played with skill is to experience what in the Middle Ages would have been likened unto hearing the voice of the Heavens.

The organ is one of the oldest instruments still used in European-style, classical music. As a traditional  church, First United Methodist Church Shreveport has maintained for over 100 years the tradition of a pipe organ as the primary instrument that leads worship. The current organ originated in 1950 as a 3 manual, 39 rank electro-pneumatic instrument built by the Aeolian Skinner Pipe Organ Company of Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1986, The Moller Organ Company was chosen to build a new 5-manual console, 48 new ranks of pipes, added to the present 39 ranks, bringing the total number to 87 ranks. In 1989, a 16-rank gallery (antiphonal) organ pipes were installed in the balcony and in 1990, a 5-octave set of English Hand bells (exposed) were added, both gallery organ and Hand bells are playable from from the 5-manual console. In 2004, the entire organ was re-voiced by Bruce Shultz and Associates.

The Organ console comes up on an elevator lift to a prominent position for concerts and other recital programs. The Texas Street Art series brings every year nationally and internationally known organists who have included, Frederick Swann, Joyce Jones, Simon Preston, David Higgs, Hector Olivera, and Gillian Weir to name a few. CDs of the organ are available for purchase in the music department.

Organ Specs

*denotes prepared for5 Manuals, 5243 Pipes, 110 Ranks
Moller Organ 1986, revoiced in 2003 by Bruce Shultz Associates