The Story of Cogdell Memorial United Methodist Church

In November of 1954 Mr. D. M. Cogdell of Snyder, Texas, and Mr. Leo H. Bradshaw of Waco presented the Waco Methodist District Board of Church Location and Building with a gift of land on New Road in the 700 block. It was almost “out in the country” – Old Highway 6 was just two lanes wide where Valley Mills Drive now is. Only two businesses and a drive-in theatre were nearby.


In the spring of 1955 the Waco Methodist District Board of Missions began planning the beginning of the new church which was to be called Cogdell Memorial Methodist Church in honor of Rev. D. M. Cogdell and Mr. Robert Reid Cogdell (father of Eleanor Rose Bradshaw).


In June 1955 Rev. James M. Cooper was appointed to the new church. On the first three Wednesday nights of August 1955 informal meetings were held in his home for the purposes of getting acquainted and preparing for the first service of worship.


The first two Sunday services were held in the KWTX radio and television studio on August 21 and 28, 1955, with 100 in attendance at the first service and 38 joining the church. During September and the first two Sundays in October, worship services were held in the 25th Street Theatre. On October 16, 1955, the congregation moved to the cafeteria of the cow barn on the Heart of Texas Fair Grounds, and the first session of Sunday School was held.


Charter Day was moved to November 6 in order to meet the goal of having a total of 150 members (the charter certificate lists 165 names).


Sunday, March 4, 1956, the groundbreaking ceremony for the new building was held and the congregation moved into the New Road location on September 13, 1956. In 1960 a second story and youth wing were added. In 1965 the fellowship hall was remodeled and became the sanctuary. The present parsonage was also built that year.


We purchased land in 1988 for the purpose of building a new church structure. This was because we were unable to secure the required parking space for us to receive permission to enlarge our building on New Road. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in 1996 and the New Road facility was sold to the Waco Baptist Academy. While the first phase of our present building was under construction, we leased space from the Waco Baptist Academy for church services, and our offices were located at Service Memorial United Methodist Church.


– written by Rev. Lloyd Sansom


On May 18, 1997, the first services were held at 1201 West Highway 6. In 2002, the 15-year note was paid off early and in full. The church held a dual celebration on October 27, 2002. A ceremony was conducted burning the old mortgage and instituting a new one for a sanctuary. As construction began on our sanctuary in the fall of 2003, an almost 50-year dream became a reality.


On June 13, 2004, a service of celebration was held in the new sanctuary, rededicating our lives to glorify God and to serve His kingdom.