Bering United Methodist Church

Bering’s Campus

Location and Buildings

Bering occupies a large, inner-city campus in the heart of the beautiful and historic Montrose neighborhood. Montrose is full of early twentieth-century mansions, cottages, and bungalows, side-by-side with modern townhomes, apartment buildings, and high-rise condominiums. Bering is bounded by Harold Street on the south, Mulberry Street on the west, and Hawthorne Street on the north. The campus is one block south of the busy Westheimer/Elgin east-west artery.

Present buildings include: the 1926 sanctuary fronting Harold Street; the original 1924 wood-framed sanctuary (moved north on the property to the corner of Mulberry and Hawthorne), which was remodeled and bricked in the 1950s and now houses the business offices and Adult Day Care Center of Bering Omega Community Services; the Education Building along the eastern property line, which houses Bering Omega Dental Clinic on the first floor and choir rehearsal and classroom space on the second; and the Vordenbaum Building, which connects the sanctuary and the Education Building and houses the church offices, offices for the Bering Support Network and Open Gate Homeless Ministry, and additional classroom space.

Parking and entrance to the church business office face Hawthorne Street.

Courtyard

Shielded from Harold Street by shrubbery and an ivy-covered pergola, Bering’s beautifully landscaped courtyard provides church-goers with a place for reflection and serves as a park/greenspace for the neighborhood.

 

 

Historic Landmark

On May 12, 1985, Bering Memorial United Methodist Church was honored with an Official State of Texas Historical Marker, commemorating the congregation founded on May 6, 1848. The text of the marker reads:

Originally known as the First German Methodist Church of Houston, this congregation was organized in 1848 by the Rev. Charles Goldberg. Most of the charter members were German immigrants, including August and Conrad Bering, two brothers who had come to Texas in 1846 with their parents. The name of the church was changed in 1911 to honor this founding family. About the same time, English was introduced into the worship services. The congregation met at Milam and McKinney Streets from 1858 until 1924, when it moved to this location.

Francis Bickley, the Heritage Committee chair, secured the necessary data to meet the criteria of the Harris County Historical Commission, who then secured the marker for Bering Church. It is displayed on the front of the church building, on Harold Street.

Reprinted from The History of Bering Memorial United Methodist Church, 1993

Renovations

In the 1990s Bering launched a capital campaign dubbed “Many Gifts, Bering Spirit” to raise a million dollars for a complete renovation of the campus. Renovations were begun with a Ground Breaking Ceremony in 1998. In this renovation all classroom and office spaces and the Fellowship Hall were modernized and remodeled, a commercial-grade kitchen was added, the Vordenbaum and Education buildings were connected, an elevator was installed and other changes were made to improved accessibility, and the previously open-aired walkways around the courtyard were enclosed and air conditioned. Renovations were completed in 2001.

A second capital campaign named “Sanctuary for All” raised funds for a refurbishment/renovation of Bering’s historic sanctuary, including all new lamping and wiring, installation of a new sound system, improvements to the air conditioning, remodeling of the choir loft, and the addition of woodwork which had been included in the original architect’s rendering but never implemented.

Storm Damage

Bering’s newly-renovated Fellowship Hall—under the sanctuary a half-story below street level—sustained substantial flooding damage in Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, necessitating replacement of flooring and sheetrock and repairs to the elevator. In 2008, Hurricane Ike caused more flooding damage and loss of several towering oaks on the property. Fortunately, neither storm caused significant structural damage to Bering’s buildings.

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1440 Harold Street
Houston, Texas 77006

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