Our Beliefs & History

Beliefs & History

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Our Purpose

To build a Christian community that invites & welcomes all people into growing relationships in Jesus Christ.


Our Vision

To change lives, be faithful neighbors, and to transform our world.


Our Journey

To know, love, and serve God and our neighbors.


Our Values

Prayer, Presence, Generosity, Service, Witness

Beliefs & Theology

We, as United Methodists, believe:

  • God is our creator, who created all that exists and called it good.
  • Jesus Christ, God's son, was born into His world, came in flesh, lived, died, and was resurrected to bring us salvation and reconciliation with God.
  • The Holy Spirit is God, present in God's church and in our lives.
  • Humankind, creatures of God, are created with free will and became separated from God's will through sin and unfaithfulness.
  • The church is the community of Jesus Christ, committed to fulfilling Christ's mission of reaching and saving all humankind.
  • The church is the community where faithfulness to Christ is grown, witness to Christ proclaimed, and the love of Christ is shared.

Our Church History


In 1907 Dr. FSH Johnston, presiding elder of the Fort Smith District of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, along with other Methodist of the Fort Smith District, felt there was a need for a Methodist church to serve the rapidly growing south side of town. In June 1907, the Rev. CW Lester came to Fort Smith from Vanderbilt University to serve as the pastor of the church.


The first church services at 1922 Dodson Avenue met at the corner of the lot under an early American style grape arbor built from wood — a primitive but utilitarian structure. The first official church building in which the Dodson Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church South met was constructed that next year, with education units being built in 1922 and in 1925.


On April 13, 1931, the current-day sanctuary was constructed at the corner of Dodson and Jenny Lind at a cost of $75,000. The front of the structure was purposely placed facing Dodson Avenue in order to command attention and to create a powerful ecclesiastical effect. However, the joy at Goddard was short lived as the nation decended into what we now know as The Great Depression.


In November 1937, Dr. O.E. Goddard was sent to the church for the specific reason of helping it deal with the debt it had incurred as a result of the Great Depression. Due to Dr. Goddard's success, which resulted in the church remaining financially sound, the church's name was officially changed from Dodson Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church to Goddard Memorial Methodist Church on Dec. 22, 1939.

In 1961, Goddard MEC built the current-day educational building and what is now known as "Young Hall," and the church as it now stands was finished in 1996.



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