Methodism first came to Gainesville more than 160 years ago and has continued to grow in strength and service ever since. In 1830, a young circuit rider was ridden out of town for attempting a service in the small village of Gainesville. Nevertheless, just a few years later, in a borrowed house, with a local preacher belonging to no circuit or district, J.W. Glenn organized the First Methodist Church in Gainesville with 15 members.
The old, wood-framed Gainesville courthouse was sold for $150 to the Methodist Church. It was moved to a lot at the corner of South Bradford and Church Streets. In 1872, the congregation built and occupied its second house of worship on the Bradford street lot. In 1908, a new church at the corner of Green Street and Academy was completed, and the Annual Conference met in Gainesville with the church as its headquarters.
The Church voted to buy property on Thompson Bridge Road. Construction began in 1980 under the leadership of Dr. Jim Thompson, and the interior North Wing was completed in 1985. In 1988, seven acres of adjacent land was purchased for future expansion.
Under the leadership of Dr. Phil DeMore, the charge conference adopted plans for a $4.8 million expansion. By June 2000, the church had expanded to include a chapel, multipurpose facility, youth area, prayer room, a new library, Sunday School rooms, expanded offices and many other improvements. Ministry use of the new facility began almost immediately, and continued to expand under the leadership of Dr. Gerald Thurman.
GFUMC has just finished a building project called Children and Youth First: Empowering Future Generations for Christ. The expansion focused on new and improved areas for children and youth, including more meeting space for adult groups.
If you would like a copy of the GFUMC History book (1821 - 2012), contact the Church Office, 770.536.2341. Copies: $20 each.