A Bit About Us
Here at Sneads First United Methodist Church, we see the value in everyone. We want to be a catalyst for positive change, and since our beginnings in 1884, we’ve worked to share the love of Jesus in and around our community. We share the United Methodist mission to go out into the world and make disciples for Jesus Christ.
The History of Our Church
Although settlers were in this part of Jackson County by the 1820s, the present-day town of Sneads wasn’t incorporated until 1894, three years after the railroad was completed and a train station established here. Sneads was first known as Pope’s Store and was a couple of miles north of its current location. Pope’s Store was a Native American trading post operated by William S. Pope (1789-1837), a trader and early settler who was appointed in 1833 to be the government agent to the Appalachicola tribe. Sneads was also known as Gloucester and then as Snead’s Station later in the 1800s. Pope, an important figure in the early history of Jackson County, may have been a Methodist. His widow Harriett Pope (1804-1888) and daughter Elizabeth T. Meacham (1833-1913) likely were. On August 9, 1884, the two women donated a one-half acre town lot in Sneads Station to establish a place of worship for local Methodists; this is the same town lot as the current property.
Soon thereafter, a wooden church was constructed using lumber brought from the Methodist chapel that had been located at Sylvania Plantation (near Blue Springs), originally owned by John Milton, governor of Florida (1861-1865). The initial membership consisted of 12 families, and J. D. Kersh was the church’s first pastor. In those days, the denomination was known as the Methodist Episcopal Church South. It appears that the Methodist church building was the first in Sneads, although it was not long before a Baptist church was constructed as well.
The second wooden church was built in 1907-1908 on the same property, and the first service there was on October 7, 1908. In 1928, memorial windows were installed, and these memorial windows can be seen today in our sanctuary. The congregation continued to grow, and in 1946 six Sunday School rooms were added and equipped. Generous members of the congregation made numerous donations over the years to add to the beauty of the sanctuary. In 1950, it was renovated, and the memorial pulpit furniture, the brass cross, and offering plates were donated; these are still being used by our church today. In 1953, a new Kranich & Bach piano was donated as a memorial, and it can be seen today in the fellowship hall. In 1954, a Communion service was donated, and a new altar rail was installed; these are also still in use today. In 1955, a Hammond organ was given as a memorial, and in 1956 brass vases were also donated. The brass cross in the narthex above the sanctuary doors was a memorial gift by the Walter Edwards and Guy McCown families.
The first parsonage was constructed in 1925 and was sold and moved when construction began on the present sanctuary. The church broke ground on the new parsonage shortly after the present church was finished. Construction was completed circa 1982, with the lot donated by the Ernest Murphy family. A lot located east of the present building was also donated to the church by the John Demont family. The present membership of the church is approximately 140 members. The different ministries of the church include Sunday school, Children’s church, Wednesday night Bible study, Youth group, Wednesday night kids, Women of Faith (formerly United Methodist Women), and United Methodist Men. The church also supports – with time, financial support, and service – various outreach programs that include a food pantry, high-school class sponsorship, Fishing Derby, Fall Festival, Breakfast with the Bunny, Lunch with Santa, Summer Ice Cream Social, and many other events that seek to bring individuals and families together for fellowship while experiencing what it feels to be part of the family of God.
Decorations by the Youth Group for our Fall Festival
The present sanctuary is the result of a dream and the establishment of a building fund in 1963-64, when Rev. Robert G. Ross was pastor. This dream and its realization became a reality under the leadership of Rev. Edward G. Howell, Rev. Eugene Pelt, Rev. Mike McKnight, Rev. Wesley Wachob and Rev. John Cannon.
Construction began in 1976 with a beginning balance of $3,400.00 in the building fund and the loan of $180,000 from the First Savings and Loan bank of Marianna, Florida with a 20-year mortgage note.
The church celebrated the burning of the mortgage note during the Homecoming celebration on October 12, 1997.