by Pastor Stan Copeland
To know Lovers Lane United Methodist Church and our history of overflowing hope is to know that we were a church conceived to be an others-oriented congregation but little did anyone know the extent to which God would bless our Lovers Lane ancestors into this church-start endeavor.
The church was started by young pastors--a part-time student pastor from Arkansas--Bill Scroggin and one who would become a dynamic pastor and community leader--Tom Shipp. Tom in this role for 31 years, until his sudden death at the church meeting finalizing plans of our new sanctuary, at the age of fifty-eight.
Lovers Lane’s first capital fundraising was done in 1946 and it resulted in the building of the first house of worship on the old Lovers Lane Methodist Church campus--The Wallace Chapel. On the day of the dedication, a 27-year old Tom Shipp would say this, not about the building but the congregation that would worship God on this first campus:
“Let us make this church an institution that stands as we say `four-square’, for what is right, what is just, what is fair, what is of good report; an institution in which there are no shams, no make-believe, no halfway measures; where thoroughness and straight-forwardness are taught and practiced. May those within this Church have high integrity, be faithful to ideals, dependable, true friends of others and loyal to Jesus.” October 20, 1946
The “others-orientation” of Lovers Lane was most dramatically and impactfully experienced by alcoholics and their families seeking freedom from addiction. It was said about Lovers Lane in the mid-1960’s that it had become the fourth largest congregation in our Methodist connection and that there were over 300 families of people struggling with alcoholism who had found sanctuary here. The “others-orientation” was also seen in its bold steps toward integration of people of different races in the tense civil rights driven decade of the 1960s. It was said about Lovers Lane that in 1961 it was the first largely anglo congregation in the state of Texas to receive into membership an African American member, to integrate its scouting program, and to have children and youth programs with others in the community who were African American.
The largest classical ("AA" style) recovery ministry in the world
The most dynamic multicultural children and youth ministry, bands, and choirs, of any church in our denomination in the DFW area
The largest Deaf constituency and membership of any United Methodist Church in the region
12 weekly worship services where all are welcome in Traditional & Modern settings/styles along with affinity-based worship driven largely by native languages or American Sign Language
The most culturally diverse United Methodist congregation in the DFW area
A highly regarded preschool and elementary school called Wesley Prep, known for its educational excellence and its spiritual and ethical grounding of our students
I am so fortunate and blessed by God to pastor the most exciting “others-oriented” church in the United Methodist Church connection.
We literally give ourselves away through our extravagant generosity and being the “church with the heart” for others who are in need. As Tom Shipp said to those who questioned whether alcoholics would be welcome at Lovers Lane in the 1940’s, “We are here for people who need us. If we aren’t here for people who need us, then why are we here?” That is a good question and one that we have been answering through Overflowing Hope ministry and outreach for 75 years.
Only God knows what The Next 75 years will be like and the lives that we will influence for Christ. God bless Lovers Lane United Methodist Church as we overflow hope to a world in need.