History Of Newman United Methodist Church
Newman dates back to 1865 when a group of Methodist missionaries organized the first Black Methodist Church in the town of Alexandria. LA. They named it St. James Methodist Episcopal Church. It was located on Seventh and Murray Streets, and Rev. Samuel Small was the appointed minister. Court records indicate that the charter or articles of incorporation of the Saint James Methodist Episcopal Church was dated June 1, 1899.
In 1902. Rev. Peter W. Clark, the then pastor, changed the name of the church to Newman Memorial M. E. Church in honor of Bishop J. P. Newman. In 1939, the name was changed again; this time to Newman Methodist Church, as a result of the union of three branches of churches that sprung from the original Methodist movement founded by the Wesleys: the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the Methodist Protestant Church.
As the church increased in its membership, it became apparent to the pastor, the Rev. W. T. Handy, Jr. and the Newman family that they needed to expand in order to adequately serve the needs of both the congregation and the community. So in the early 1950’s, the church family became actively involved in serious plans to relocate and build a new facility. In 1955, under the leadership of Rev. W. T. Handy, Jr., a new facility at the cost of $120,000.00 was built at 8th and Fulton Streets. The note was cancelled in 1962 during the pastorate of Rev. Samuel W. Walker.
When by the action of the General Conference the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church were united in 1968, the name Newman United Methodist Church was adopted. With Rev. Wilbur G.C. Davis at the helm in 1989, the parishioners were uprooted again because of the construction of Interstate 49. Services were held temporarily in the chapel of Winnfield Funeral Home due to the generosity of Mr. Ben Johnson of Natchitoches, LA.
Rev. Davis continued with the building program until he was transferred at the end of the 1988-89 Conference year. Rev. Isaiah M. Lee, Jr. became the pastor and led the Newman family to the completion of Phase 1 of the new religious complex located at Oran Avenue. The new complex was consecrated on March 1, 1992
There have been many faithful and hard working pastors appointed to lead the parishioners of Newman since 1865. They Include: Reverends Samuel Small; Belezare Jackson; Oliver Daigle; Peter W. Clark; H.B.F. Charles; J.E. Brown; J.C. Calvin; Scott Chinn; J.D. David; T.J. Bridgett; T.R. Wallace; C.T. Wardah; W. T. Handy, Jr.; Samuel W. Walker; William London, Jr.; T.E. McElroy; R.S. Taylor; Simon E. Harris; Nathaniel P. Perry; Roger D. Lathan; Alonzo J. Campbell; Wilbur G.C. Davis; Isaiah M. Lee, Jr.; Ernest E. Scott; Derrick D. Hills; and the current pastor Joseph D. Awotwi