The History of Manchaca UMC


Methodism arrived in the Manchaca area before 1872 – and many different versions of the church’s beginnings abound – but Manchaca United Methodist Church did not begin in earnest until 1877.  In 1878, missionary J.L. Murray reported 75 members, 1 Sunday School, 23 scholars and 30 conversions.  In 1891, the Trustees purchased approximate one acre of land, where the original structure stood until the first of the present structures was built in 1957.  Today, Manchaca UMC occupies ten acres of land with several buildings, the last of which was completed around Easter, 2001.

But, the story of Manchaca UMC involves more than its buildings.  Lives have been altered for good (and for God) here.  In 1956, the church acquired materials for its new building, but had exhausted its funds before construction began.  At this opportune time, an escaped convict from West Virginia named Russell Brooks appeared.  He offered to lay the brick for free (although he later accepted a small salary) because (he said) he was from a small Mennonite community where everyone pitched in to build a church, even if it was not of their denomination.  Brooks had laid the last brick on the Sunday School building – the present hallway and classrooms outside the Sanctuary – when the law caught him and returned him to prison.  The pastor worked to get Brooks paroled.  Brooks returned to Manchaca to complete the sanctuary (now the Bell Room).  For several years afterward, Brooks would return to visit the church he had helped build.


Manchaca UMC began as a small “country church,” but has grown into a “welcoming place” for all people in the greater South Austin area.   Prayer, study, worship, fellowship, and service are foundational to our way of life and in our community outreach.   It seems there’s always a pick-up basketball game in play on the pavilion; or someone working their plot in the Community Garden; or preschoolers on the playground.  

Throughout the history of Manchaca United Methodist Church, God has blessed this congregation through the people who have discovered God’s grace here and resolved to serve Christ in this place.   In 2017, we will celebrate our 140th year as a congregation, still dedicated to serving Christ in our community.  We pray that God will continue to inspire and guide our growth as a church in mission.   For, we are people who seek to “bring new disciples to Jesus Christ, for the transformation of the world.”