The Mission of Pontiac First United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Our mission, based on Christ's Great Commission and motivated by Christ's Greatest Commandments, is the foundation for ministry at First UMC. We are deeply committed to living out the teachings that Jesus gave His disciples in all that we do. From our diversity of worship services, to our family gatherings, to our small group studies, to hosting community events, to building schools in Haiti, to participating in the Livingston County Community Pantry, to inviting and welcoming new guests on Sunday morning - we live these teachings out in our hearts, our minds, and our actions.
Our Livingston County Heritage
In 2005, this congregation celebrated the 150th anniversary of First United Methodist Church serving the Livingston County area. We are very excited about the blessings God has shared with us over the last century and a half. Pontiac First is a church rich in history and tradition with a proud heritage of service in missions. Through the strength of that heritage, we have the experience of faith in a trustworthy God that provides us the courage and creativity to minister throughout this community in new and exciting ways.
The First UMC family comes together to celebrate the blessings God has given us, and we come together to cry when life's burdens are weighing on our hearts. The congregation of First United Methodist Church is not just a group of people that meet together on Sunday mornings. We are a living, breathing family of Christ-followers, committed to caring, loving, and praying for one another. We hope you would be our guest, so you might experience for yourself the blessings of this church and the loving fellowship that worships within its walls.
Our church was chartered
in 1855 and is the oldest existing organization in the city of Pontiac. In
the beginning, Pontiac Methodists met in homes to hear the preaching of God's
Word and for study. The first church building was built in 1857 at the
Livingston and Main streets. It was dedicated in December of that year.
Just a short nine years later the congregation found itself too large and
growing too fast for the building they were currently in. They sold the
original church building to the Catholic Church in 1866.
That same year a
new larger church was built at the corner of Chicago and Madison streets where
we are still located today. At 11:00 PM on the February 15, 1885 a cry was
heard "The Methodist Church is burning." A fire had begun due to a
defective chimney. Unfortunately the church was a total loss. God
was not through with this group of faithful people however. In June of
that same year the cornerstone was laid for a brand new church in the same spot
that the previous one had burned just four months before. The new church
was dedicated the following April in 1886. In 1891 the Ladies' Aid Society
paid to have electric lights placed in the church, which had been lit by large
oil lamps before this. Soon after this the very first organ was installed in
the church and a balcony was added to the sanctuary to hold the growing
membership. By 1896 the church had 803 members on role with an average
worship attendance of 439.
In 1923 construction began on the Education
Building which included a library, kitchen, Sunday School rooms, the Fellowship
Hall meeting rooms and new offices. This was a great blessing to an
already growing church. The new
Building was dedicated on Easter morning, 1924. The sermon that Sunday
morning was given by Rev. William J. Davidson, the president of
University. In 1938 the sanctuary was remodeled thanks to the efforts of many
donated hours from the men of the church. In 1946 the Rev. Charles B
Wagner was appointed to
Pontiac. He left in 1951 to become a District Superintendent but before he
left Rev. Wagner oversaw the building of McCoy Chapel.
When Rev. Clifford Brown was appointed to Pontiac in 1951 planning began for a
new sanctuary to replace the one built in 1886. Planning for this
continued under the leadership of Rev. Dale Pitcher. A capital campaign
was launched and soon ground was broke. The new and our current sanctuary
was built by Jean A. McCoy and Sons and was dedicated in 1960. In the
1990's under the pastorates of Rev. George Russell and Dr. Don Black planning
began for a major remodel of the front the building. In 1998 the addition
was completed which featured a new spacious lobby with floor to ceiling glass
windows, new offices, and an elevator. Under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Phil Icenogle in January of 2009, a newly remodeled McCoy Memorial Chapel and Youth Center was dedicated to the glory of God, and in service to the young men and women of this community.
The last 150 years have brought many changes to the congregation of First United
Church. We have come through war, fires, births and deaths, new worship
services, and so much more. Through it all we continue to be what we will
always be: a family of faith focused on our Heavenly Father, listening for the
leading of the Holy Spirit, and embracing Jesus Christ in all we do.