COKER HISTORY PROJECT
YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW
Mary Eck, Historian
The History Project is an amazing discovery of the activities of the membership of Coker Church through the 136 years of its existence. The word “history” has a new meaning for me now. I considered the history would be composed of dates, buildings, finances, and membership numbers but now, through the reading of the Newsletters, I have uncovered the many ways the membership was involved in developing the church.
The Newsletters, later named Couriers, have been a great source of the history of the church. We can appreciate the work and diligence of former members and staff who preserved the newsletters. The newsletters in our archives date from the late 1950’s to around 1991. A very recent new addition to the collection contains Couriers from 2006-2013 which will provide more activities of the membership.
In the beginning, I was uncertain where the path of history would take me and, as I studied the activities, I realized a need to categorize the different programs that were happening at Coker Church. We now can know what the youth and children were doing, along with the adults. The development of the music program is revealed. It is very interesting to know that sports was a big activity in the early years. Boy Scout activities were reported in the very early newsletters and they are still very active today. There was a Square Dance group at the church for a number of years. We know that Rev. Adam Knight is the 49th Senior Pastor of the church. We can read about the Sunday School attendance and the names of the early classes. One document of interest is dated 1937.
The History Project began to grow from my early expectations and has now reached twenty –nine Volumes, with the possibility of the development of one more.
Volume 1 History and Information on John “Jack” Coker
Volume 2 Four Sanctuaries of Coker Church
Volume 3 Dedications and Celebrations
Volume 4 Pastors and Staff – early years
Volume 5 Pastors and Staff- more recent years
Volume 6 Old Records, Charge Conferences, Minutes
Volume 7 Adult Sunday School Classes
Volume 8 Youth Sunday School Classes
Volume 9 Children’s Sunday School Classes
Volume 10 Music Directors-early years, including their special activities
Volume 11 Music directors more recent years, including their special activities
Volume 12 Music-Performing Groups
Volume 13 Music-Children and Youth
Volume 14 Music-Musicals
Volume 15 Music-Special Concerts
Volume 16 Beyond Sunday- Saturday Church, Wed. Night Supper and Studies
Volume 17 Missions from within the Church
Volume 18 Mission Outreach
Volume 19 Memorials
Volume 20 Adult Activities
Volume 21 United Methodist Women-history
Volume 22 United Methodist Women -activities
Volume 23 United Methodist Men
Volume 24 Methodist Food and Fellowship
Volume 25 Coker School, Kindergarten, Wacky Wednesday
Volume 26 Persons Honored in the Newsletters for their Contributions
Volume 27 Coker Cemetery and Boy Scout Troop
Volume 28 Activities of the Past- sports, library, square dance group
Volume 29 Items of Interest and Curiosities
The possibility of Volume 30 relies on how many Coker members would like to write their memories of the church and what it has meant to them. Three members have already indicated a desire to do this.
Please read over the list of volumes and be sure that your group/ groups are included in the History Project. I am pleased at the response so far and the articles given to me are included in the appropriate volume.
I have come to understand that some people are reluctant to write articles. Please know that we are not “grading” the articles, we just want the story!
I would be happy to play “reporter” and receive information that I could write about and, then, get approval from the group interviewed before adding the article to the history.
The History Project will have a place at the church where you can sit and read the Volumes. It is my desire to make them as available to the membership as possible. It is also my desire to finish this portion of the Coker history for it is to be an ongoing project. The Volumes are binders which can easily be added to in the future. I still have much to do to finish up my portion of recording the history and I hope to complete it by early in 2020. This may be a challenge for those who are writing history articles. Once you get started, it is fun remember and reflect.
Coker United Methodist Church has always been a very special church and we, members today, are continuing to make it special in the way of the early Coker families and Coker Community Settlement but, now, also in our own way. These early families would be amazed to see the church as it is today with its many buildings, beautiful campus, school, and new entrances into the property. We are no longer a hidden church and do not need to fear rattlesnakes, Indians, and flooding as they did long ago. The distance to downtown San Antonio is no longer a problem as we are surrounded by highways, homes, and businesses.
I wish to thank the contributors to this project who have added to the history of Coker United Methodist Church. My thanks go to the volunteers who have helped me at my home with organization and identifying a huge collection of pictures…and for their encouragement.
To add to the history of Coker or to learn more about the volumes, contact the church office at 210-494-3455 or e-mail Communications@coker.org to be connected with Historian Mary Eck.