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2016-01-28

Old BUMC parsonage leaves Bandera

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
The crew with Faglie House Moving complete the placement of supports under the Methodist church parsonage to get it ready to move to Fredericksburg.


Photo courtesy Roger Faglie
Faglie House Moving's Roger Faglie displays a forgotten Christmas gift found in the attic of the parsonage.

Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
For almost 70 years, the parsonage enjoyed a view of the Bandera County Courthouse. When the limestone brick facing was removed from the building, a wide variety of recycled wood used in its construction was revealed.

As it moved down the highway on its way out of town, the old Methodist parsonage took with it almost 70 years of memories. Bandera United Methodist Church (BUMC) sold the building in 2015. This week, a professional house mover hauled it to its new location in Fredericksburg.
Church records indicate the building was ready for occupancy as a parsonage on Oct. 1, 1947, said Pastor Larry McRorey. During those 69 years, it served the congregation as a home for its pastors, the church office, the youth building and storage.
"One of our members recalled that brides used to get dressed for their weddings in the kitchen of the house," said McRorey.
Tom Stain, chairman of the BUMC Board of Trustees, said the congregation is planning for future expansion, first with an interim building and eventually, a new sanctuary.
Coincidentally, the church will celebrate its 150th year of service to the community this year. Marking that milestone with plans for new construction seems quite appropriate for this very active group of Christians. According to the pastor's welcome on the church's website, "Within the life of this community of faith, we are people of all ages and backgrounds who are gathered together for the purposes of growing as disciples of Jesus Christ and serving others."
Former pastor Dennis Thompson, who served the congregation from 1995 to 2002, lived in the parsonage with his wife, Chela. "The house had four rooms - two bedrooms, living/dining room and a tiny kitchen."
Thompson said that when the Rev. John Platt, his wife and four children came to Bandera, "they managed to make themselves comfortable in those rather cramped quarters for the night. A noise woke them up and they discovered the church was on fire. Quite a welcome to the community!"
Thompson said Mrs. Platt re-decorated the bathroom and for many years, she stopped by whenever she was in Bandera, "to see how the décor was holding up."
In 1951, the men's Sunday School class, led by local attorney Glendon Roberts, hand dug the large basement beneath the house. The class had been meeting in the sanctuary with other classes and they wanted a room of their own.
Thompson said that type of basement is known as a "Michigan basement," dug after a house is completed and inside the measurements of the house foundation.
The large space proved flexible in use, providing not only a classroom, but serving for fellowship events and youth activities.
Thompson and church member Larry Scott refinished the wood floors in the parsonage during Thompson's tenure.
Water leaking into the basement proved to be a recurring problem and a pump was installed to take care of the problem. The church suspected a nearby spring as the source of the problem, but at some point it was discovered the water came from a leaky city water main.
Faglie House Moving, out of Bertram, prepared the house for moving to Fredericksburg. "We've moved several houses for the buyer," said Roger Faglie. "He'll fix it up and turn it into something nice."
Faglie had hoped to have the structure on its way much earlier than this week, but learned he needed a police escort out of town to the county line and no officer was available until Tuesday. As a result, the house stuck its nose out into 11th Street for several days before being moved to the church's parking lot, and then out of town.
Faglie works with a crew made up of his grandsons. "We often find interesting things when we demo a house," said Faglie. One time, a grandson was working under a house on his birthday. He noticed some writing on one of the beams. It turned out that someone had written his name and birth date on the beam many years previously. Turns out, the grandson and the unknown man shared the same birthday!
The parsonage proved to be no exception to old house surprises. While working in the attic, the crew discovered a forgotten Christmas gift, still wrapped, with its card. Church members opened it to discover a poncho that had never reached its intended recipient.
Through the years, the parsonage witnessed plenty of prayers, Christian service and nervous brides. No doubt the very boards themselves hold blessings for its new owner.