Kavanaugh has a unique way to remember the members of the congregation who “transferred their membership” to the Church Triumphant after their physical death. Texas A&M University in Commerce houses our Book of Golden Memories. You may access it here:
A Methodist Circuit Rider from Mississippi held Greenville’s first Methodist worship service under a pair of oak trees in 1848. Local Methodists soon built a log church that they generously shared with other denominations when they weren’t using it.
On November 8, 1896, 139 members of the Methodist Mission School, an outgrowth of the original church, established Kavanaugh Methodist Church, naming it for Bishop Kavanaugh, a leader in American Methodism.
The first Kavanaugh Church building was a 4-room brick veneer structure at the corner of Park and Stonewall Streets. It included a piano and a pipe organ. When the congregation outgrew the little church in 1921, it was torn down to make room for the current building. Services were held in a temporary “tabernacle” on Park Street.
The present church building was dedicated on February 10, 1924. The elegant Gothic style brick and stone church was designed by local architects Lindsey & Kilmer.
It boasted 50 windows, a balcony in the sanctuary, and a metal roof that still protects the building from the weather. The church was built and equipped for $100,000, a debt that was completely paid at the time of the dedication.
The Education Building was erected directly behind the church in 1961 to house classrooms, a library, a parlor, and a small chapel. In the sanctuary, extensive remodeling in 1967 included the installation of the Aeolian Skinner pipe organ. In 1990 the elevator was installed, electrical and heating/air conditioning systems were upgraded, new offices and the pastor’s study were built in the Education Building, and the sanctuary was painted.
The church building was recognized as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and a historical marker was placed at the church in 1996, the congregation’s 100th anniversary.
Kavanaugh is one of only two Greenville churches still using historic structures.
“The achievement of the great congregation in building, equipping, and dedicating this elegant House of Worship on the first day it is occupied at a cost of $100,000 without debt, is unparalleled in the annals of Texas Methodism. Harmony, cooperation, teamwork, and sacrifice on the part of the membership is the only explanation of this wonderful accomplishment.” – ALL CHURCH NEWS, February 12, 1924