The mid 1940's marked a period of unprecedented growth as First Methodist's membership climbed to its all-time high of almost 2,000. Dr. Paul Hoon came to the church in 1943. His pastorate was noted for its intellectually stimulating preaching, high church liturgy and reverent worship atmosphere. Dr. Hoon 's ministry saw the beginning of the coming together of white and black churches. Understanding that integration was another way to peace, Dr. Hoon introduced steps to become a sister church to the Methodist Church on Haines Street, now known as Janes Memorial Church.
Dr. Dwight Large followed Dr. Hoon at First Methodist in 1953, continuing to emphasize the acceptance of all people and living Christian beliefs. The Germantown community was undergoing a rapid change. As many white people moved to the suburbs, African American families moved into the neighborhood. Large homes were subdivided into apartments. The area experienced a racial, economic and sociological transformation. Church membership declined, and some thought First Methodist should follow the flight to the suburbs, building a new sanctuary there and selling the existing property.
No single basic decision was made to stay in Germantown. It was a gradual conviction on the part of church leaders that the congregation should seek ministerial leadership capable of training the laity for a new kind of outreach in the often turbulent cross-currents of the urban environment. This conviction became a commitment in 1961 when Robert Raines succeeded Dr. Large, and was further strengthened a year later when Theodore Loder arrived to form a"co-ministry" with Bob Raines. Each man brought his particular gifts to a ministry that became both stimulating and provocative, challenging and experimental. This co-ministry lasted until 1970 when Bob Raines was called to another church and Ted Loder became Senior Pastor.
There was an exciting evolution of the congregation under Ted Loder's leadership. Long-time members of FUMCOG, in describing Dr. Loder's ministry, agree that he emphasized the centrality of worship to the life and mission of the church, and he did it in unique ways. Every year, on three consecutive Sundays during Advent, Dr. Loder's three-act drama sermons captivated the congregation, putting them, as he described it,"in touch with each other, with their communities and with the pressing social issues of poverty, education, integration, civil rights, sexual discrimination and world peace" .
In January 2000, Dr. Loder retired after 37-years at FUMCOG.
FUMCOG remains a vital force in Germantown and in the Methodist denomination. FUMCOG is proud of a past filled with achievements and looks forward, and upward, to facing new challenges with renewed commitments.