First United Methodist Church began as a loose gathering of displaced Methodists who had relocated to the new secret government-owned town of Oak Ridge, TN around 1942. They were served by a young pastor named Robert Lundy, who led early Sunday meetings in the town's movie theater - which they would transform into a worship space, and then promptly back before the Sunday matinee began. The congregation was made up of young 20 and 30 somethings, who had accepted the mysterious task of working on an unknown project in an unknown place during World War II. Many of these founding worshipers remain in Oak Ridge, and have formed the backbone of First UMC for it's 70 years.
After the war ended, the US government allotted spaced for each of the church communities to build. First UMC completed the construction of most of what we know as the church in 1958, as one can see on the cornerstone that resides on the building below the Memorial Garden. An additional wing, including the Multipurpose Room was added in the 1970's.
In 2008, Trinity United Methodist church on the west side of Oak Ridge decided to merge with First UMC, enabling the congregations to grow stronger and to use the assets from the Trinity community for the betterment of Oak Ridge.
The church has grown in many ways since its beginnings - especially in helping to foster new initiatives in the Oak Ridge community like the annual Earth Day Festival, the Oak Ridge Free Medical Clinic, and our newest initiative using the former Trinity UMC Church facilities, the Trinity Outreach Center.
First UMC is a church that lies with in the Oak Ridge District of the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. We have two appointed United Methodist elders as pastors, and also employ a spiritual care pastor and a part-time visitation pastor.
The church is led by the Church Council, a lay-member group of leaders who care for the ministries and assets of the church.
We embrace Jesus’ message that God loves and accepts every person. Therefore, we welcome all to share in the life and ministry of this community of faith. Our welcome knows no boundaries of age, race, ethnicity, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, economic condition, physical ability or mental ability.
THE METHODIST CHURCH
The United Methodist Church is an 11-million-strong global church that opens hearts, opens doors and opens minds through active engagement with our world.
John Wesley and the early Methodists placed primary emphasis on Christian living, on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as "practical divinity" has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today.
The United Methodist Church is non-doctrinal - meaning we do not ascribe to a specific statement of faith but find worth and meaning in the large expanse of Christian history and heritage. We believe that God is larger than one denomination can hope to define - and instead turn our attentions to the work of sharing God's love with the world we encounter. You will find that people at First UMC represent a wide river of Christian beliefs, and that conversations are rich with diversity and depth.