WESLEY CHAPEL Ponchatoula Louisiana

Ponchatoula, LA

Date Founded:  1853

     Methodists services began in 1853 in the Wells School House, the site of today’s Wesley Chapel UMC. The worshippers were served by circuit riding pastors. The first recorded Quarterly Conference (June 19, 1858) notes that the circuit was served by Rev. E. R. Strickland and Rev. W. S. Townsend at that time.  
     The congregation didn’t build their own church until after James Wells donated 5 acres to the church on February 25, 1861. The name “Wesley Chapel” was adopted on June 12, 1861 at the third Quarterly Conference. The Sunday school was organized in 1887 under the leadership of Mr. T. M. Terry as superintendent.
     Rev. W. D. Drake was pastor when a new church was built in 1889. The church consisted of a single 30 by 50 foot room with a high ceiling. It was built of rough one by twelve lumber. The sills were hewn from a single tree running the length of the building. Wesley Chapel was on a circuit at this time with Hammond, Springfield, and James Chapel.
     In later years, two Sunday school rooms a parsonage (completed in 1944), an educational building, and a new sanctuary were built. The educational building, built around 1950, was dedicated on September 4, 1952. The present sanctuary was built in 1958-59. The first service in the new church was held on Easter Sunday, March 29, 1959.