OUTREACH • WITNESS
NURTURING OUR MEMBERS
In the summer of 1903,
Rev. N.E. Gardner, pastor of what is now the First United Methodist Church of North Little Rock, Arkansas, held a "Protracted Meeting" under a "Brush Arbor" among the trees where the present church now stands... and this is where it all began! When the revival closed, it was decided to organize a congregation into a church, and to name it after the Rev. N.E. Gardner.
Immediately the people realized that if they were to hold together a church they had to have a meeting place, and the first building was chosen. The charter membership was small, with very little wealth among them, and the task of building and paying for the church was a large one. Rev. D. H. Conyers, a junior preacher, assisted in the organization, and it is said that he did his most
abiding work here at Gardner. The people were truly united with a common mind to work, and by October 1904, the first building was ready for services in a concrete veneer structure that measured 28 feet by 40 feet. The Building Committee included C. E. Moore,
Jerry E. Miller, M.D. Hayes and Lon Ellis. In 1903-04 the Presiding Elder was J. L. Sibert and the Bishop was E. E. Hoss.
At that time, Gardner was in the White River Conference. Several of the charter
members recalled they had no pews, so they sat on nail kegs, saw-horses,
boards or boxes, and reveled in the privilege of worshiping God as a congregation,
For the first ten or twelve years the growth of this new church (actually a Mission Church, but named Gardner Memorial... and nicknamed "The Barefoot Chapel") was slow but steady, and because
it was then the only church in a large urban area with transportation
a huge stumbling block, it gathered in and ministered to those of all
denominations. Later, when feasible, many of them returned to their
In December 1904, Rev. W.E. Hall was appointed the first regular pastor. During his pastorate the first parsonage was built on the
lot joining the Chapel (1906).
In August 1946 the Sanctuary was completely destroyed by fire. Building plans were immediately started for a new Sanctuary and Educational
Building. By 1950 the new Sanctuary was completed.
Today, over 60 years
later, Gardner members and their guests gather in this same beautiful Church and Sanctuary to revel in the privilege
of worshipping God as a congregation, together. Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same...
Arbor, Artist's Rendition
The Gardner Fire
Although the church
building was completely destroyed by fire, the Church lived on through
the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Gardner community. Members
immediately began planning for a new Sanctuary and Educational building.
The Gardner Sanctuary
Photos just don't
do justice to the beauty of the Gardner Sanctuary, but the real
beauty of Gardner is its people and their faith in the Living God. Come
by and see our beautiful sanctuary and meet some really beautiful people.
forward to meeting you.