For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement
of the Scriptures we might have hope. - Romans 15:4
In 1869 Sardis Methodist Church South was built where it still stands today. The Methodist built on this spot largely because “Grandmother” Roark donated the land. The church was named Sardis because “Uncle” John Green thought that name sounded good.Sardis was started by seven charter families, several of which still have descendants in the church today.
In 1884 the accompanying campground was made. In the middle of the campground they built a large shed with comfortable seats and put tents around the outside. The campground served as a place to hold revivals for the growing areas around the church. Growth in the area at that time was fueled mainly by the growth in bauxite mining from the nearby town of Bauxite. Many of the families who first came to Sardis were farming families but there was definitely a heavy influence from people who were moving into the area to work in the mines.
Sardis was part of a circuit. Meaning traveling pastors did the preaching at Sardis. Around the same time Sardis was built the Baptist congregation decided to build as well. The two churches shared the same preacher for a time and this early relationship fostered a spirit of cooperation that the two churches still share today.
In 1900 a new structure was built on the same land to house the growing church. This was a large, one room, framed building that was used as a sanctuary. In 1917 this building was destroyed by fire. Before they could rebuild World War 1 began and Sardis lost many of its best builders to the cause. During that time, church continued under an open shed. When it got too cold they just merged services with the Baptist Church.
In 1920 a new building was built. In 1939 what had been called the Sardis Methodist Church South became the Sardis Methodist Church because the three branches of Methodism merged together. In the 1950’s the church experienced another influx of population and prosperity and they expanded the building and added Sunday school rooms.
In 1966, Sardis was presented with the outstanding rural church of the year award from the Little Rock Conference. In 1968, Sardis chartered their United Methodist Men’s program and they became focused on helping men understand their role in the Kingdom.
In 1968, the Methodist Church and Evangelical United Brethren Church merged and Sardis changed its name to Sardis United Methodist Church. Over the last 12 years they have undergone more renovations. A family life center was built in 1999 and the sanctuary and classrooms were totally remodeled and expanded in 2005.
Sardis UMC has continued the tradition of effective ministry to the community in which it serves. In 2004 Sardis UMC started a weekday school for young children where they can explore, learn and develop in the context of Christ’s love.
In 2007 Sardis UMC again stepped out in faith and planted a second campus in East End. East End is approximately 15 minutes from Sardis. The church was named Grace and was started with about 20 people from Sardis UMC who committed to be plants for 1 year. Grace experienced such growth that in 2009 Grace required a full time pastor and in 2013, with the blessing of Sardis UMC, Grace was constituted as an independent congregation. Further evidence that Sardis UMC is allowing the Spirit of God to guide them along the way.
We’re excited about what God has planned for the future of Sardis UMC and invite you to join us on the journey.