Our church was organized in 1881 with Rev. D.F. Miles as the first pastor. We were part of the Higgston Circuit. Higgston was then larger than Vidalia and the parsonage was located there. For twelve years the small but determined congregation worshipped in homes and at the Presbyterian Church.
In 1902 the circuit was changed to Vidalia Circuit and the parsonage moved to Lyons. It was during this year that a building was constructed on the present site. The doors of the Vidalia Methodist Church were opened in the spring of 1903 with Rev. S.H. Bryant as first resident pastor. The church was not a very large building but beautiful in the eyes of the membership. It was gleaming white inside and outside with green stationary blinds. The windows were small clear glass panes. There was one stained glass window behind the pulpit.
In 1918 our little white church was moved beyond the parsonage and blocked up during the construction of a new brick building. Work had to stop once due to building materials as well as finances. The first service in the church was in late October 1920. The dedication service for this beautiful new Sanctuary, pictured at the top of this page, was in October 1934.
In subsequent years, faithful members added educational buildings, a library, choir room , offices and other space. Church records reflect dedications of these facilities in 1949, 1953 and 1961.
In 1968 on the national level, our church merged with a church of earlier Methodist origin called Evangelical United Brethren and our name because the First United Methodist Church.
In 1972, the sanctuary that served our congregation well for fifty-three years was regretfully torn down, replaced by a new and larger Sanctuary, dedicated in 1980. The design features the inclusion of six beautiful and unique stained glass windows. This is the tranquil and inspirational setting for our traditional worship services. The Activity Center, home of our FUEL Praise & Worship service, was built in 1996 and in 2002 was dedicated as the Barron W. Godbee Activity Center in recognition and honor of this long-serving beloved member.
The steadfast labor of love and service woven throughout our history continues today. We are blessed to be standing on the shoulders of many dedicated servants of God, striving to continue His work as faithfully as those who have gone before us. Striving to know, love and serve God, and welcoming to our family all who are seeking to connect with God.
Remember that there’s a place in the heart of God that only you can fill and there’s a place at Vidalia First UMC that only you can fill! Won’t you join us on this journey?