The history of Umphress Road United Methodist
Church is a combination of the stories of Centenary United Methodist
Church and First Filipino/American United Methodist Church.
Centenary UMC was organized with eight charter members in 1902 at
Lagow School of Kaufman Road. Over the years the church relocated
several times under different names. In 1916, the church was moved
to Pennsylvania and Second Avenue and it is believed that the name
"Centenary" was given to the church at that time to
celebrate a century of American Missionary Outreach.
In 1955, a lot was purchased at 7224 Umphress Road in Pleasant
Grove. Worship services began on July 17, 1955 at San Jacinto
Elementary School. Construction of the present sanctuary began in
December 1956 and was completed in time for services on April 21,
1957. First Sunday School classes in the present Education Building
were held on February 26, 1961 and the construction of the parsonage
was completed on November 26, 1961.
In February 1975, permission was given by the church to let the
church building be used as a Dallas County Nutrition Center for the
Senior Citizens of the community.
Pastors who served Centenary are: W.F. Clark, H.B. Day, H.A.
Bourland, John S. Davis, Joseph Parkins, A.E. Prince, S.L. Crowson,
T.G. Peterson, E.L. Wright, S.T. Francis, O.S. Thomas, A. Frank
Smith, J. Coy Williams, H.G. Cook, O.L. Cole, R.E. Porter, W.C.
Howell, O.P. Kiker, C.D. King, Jr., H.C. Hand, J.W. Slagel, E.C.
Carter, C.W. Thomas, H.M. Cowling, T.P. Weaver, S.M. Black, A.H.
Logan, Ira C. Kiker, D.S. Youngblood, Fred Mooring, Robert I. Bush,
Dr. Lewis N. Stuckey, A. Bailey Duncan, Boyce Vardiman, Montie
Stewart, Allie Davenport, Leonard Tomlinson, Ann Cardwell, John
Guance, Rev. Chauncey Nealy, and Rev. Jerry Delleney. In 1990, Rev.
Jackie Ponder was appointed to Centenary. She challenged the
congregation to embrace multicultural membership and inclusive
The other half of the history of Umphress Road UMC is the story of
First Filipino/American UMC. It was organized through the pioneering
work of three Filipino Methodist pastors, Dr. Leo Tipay, Rev. Sal
Capuli, and Rev. Silverio Ignacio. The first Filipino Fellowship met
at St. Stephen UMC in Mesquite and later moved to Munger Place UMC
in Dallas. As Filipino membership increased, it was chartered as a
local church under North Texas Conference on July 27, 1981. October
1981, Bishop John Russell appointed Dr. Philip del Rosario as its
first pastor. In 1982, the facilities on Freddie Drive formerly used
by Glendale UMC were deeded to FFAUMC. Rev. Eduardo Cajiuat
came in June 198, with his wife, from Manila and served as full
time interim pastor. In 1985, he transferred into the North
Texas Conference and was appointed pastor of FFAUMC. In
September 1986, Rev. Levy Laguardia came with his family to
Southern Methodist University to study Perkins School of
Theology. As a student, he assisted in Christian Education
and Youth Ministry of the church.
In June 1988, through the action of a Special Church Conference,
FFAUMC acquired the facilities of the former Briarwood UMC in
Plano,. Some members of the church moved to this new place
of worship and started the work there. For two years, FFAUMC
was located in two places. In May 27, 1990, the Plano congregation was
chartered and adopted the name "Faith UMC" with Rev.
Eduardo Cajiuat as its first pastor. Rev. Laguardia
served as supply pastor of FFAUMC until Rev. Gary Regan, District Superintendent
of Dallas Central, read his appointment and community services.
Faced with challenges in ministry-Centenary UMC looking for people
to work with and First Filipino American searching for larger facilities
to do ministry-the Rev. Gary Regan initiated the merger of the two
congregations. On March19, 1991,he met with the leaders from
both congregations and considered the possibility together for
worship, study and fellowship lunch at the Centenary
facilities. After the "trial merger" they met separately
and affirmed the leading of the Holy Spirit to merge and become a
"rainbow church." The merger was Bishop Bruce Blake
appointed the first two pastors of FACUMC. Rev. Levy
Laguardia served as a senior pastor and Rev. Jackie Ponder as
associate pastor. In 1992, the facility on Freddie Drive was
sold and plans for improvement and renovation of the present facilities
were implemented. Regan Hall was completed in May 8, 1993
and the new kitchen in December 1994. Aware of its mission
to make disciples for Christ and of its commitment to be a church
for all people, the Church Council adopted the new name Umphress
Road UMC on November 8, 1998. Doing ministry in a diverse
community like Pleasant Grove has made Umphress Road UMC stronger
and even more committed to Christ its Lord. The first ten
years of its story is full of blessings and thanksgiving to
God. It has a long way to go. Its journey with God has