On September 8, 1941 an organizational meeting of the University Methodist Church was held in the Methodist Student Center at Louisiana State University. Permission was received from the Dean of the University for the use of the University Theater for the church services. The first worship services was held on Sunday, September 14, 1941. On November 30, 1941, one week before Pearl Harbor and the entrance of the U.S. into World War II, the first sermon was preached to the new congregation. Seventy-seven people were present. On Pearl Harbor Sunday, a crowd of over three-hundred attended the services in the University Theater.
On October 22, 1942 a request was made for approval of a state wide campaign for funds to erect a church and student center. A commission was pointed and on May 27, 1943 a lot adjoining the University was purchased.
The cornerstone for the new church was laid May 24, 1950 and the first service in the new sanctuary was held on May 20, 1951. The churches name, The William B. Reily Memorial University Methodist Church, was chosen by the commission to honor a large donor to the original building fund.
Almost 70 years ago a new congregation was formed, with a mission to the University, to the community, and to the world as a whole. In these last 70 years attractive and functional buildings have been constructed, children nurtured, youth guided, marriages celebrated, mourners comforted. Classes, committees and organizations have multiplied and flourished. From that small gathering of a few dozen people drawn together by the Holy Spirit has grown a congregation with ministries, organization, building and budget.
Our church continues to embody the United Methodist tradition of “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.” Our programs serve the community, the university, and our congregation, including the Preschool of Excellence, and After School program for University Lab School students up to 8th grade, Kids Hope USA tutoring partnerships with University Terrace Elementary School, church education programs for children, youth, and adults, outstanding music programs for all ages, highly regarded Scouting programs, and many other excellent, Christ-centered programs.
Presented above is a brief history of our church and below is a short explanation on the beliefs of the United Methodist Church. If you would like to dig deeper into the things that we believe and learn more about our roots, please visit the main United Methodist Church website or call the church office to speak to one of our ministers.
The United Methodist Church seeks to create disciples for Christ through outreach, evangelism, and through seeking holiness through the process of sanctification. With a focus on triune worship, United Methodists seek to bring honor to God by following the model of Jesus Christ, which is made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The flame in the church logo represents the work of the Holy Spirit in the world, which is seen in believers through spiritual gifts. The two parts of the flame represent the predecessor denominations, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren, and are united at the base symbolizing the 1968 merger. By the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley within the Church of England. As such, the church’s theological orientation is decidedly Wesleyan.
The United Methodist Church understands itself to be part of the holy catholic (or universal) church as it recognizes the historic ecumenical creeds, the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed; they are used frequently in services of worship.