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A tent meeting revival in the late summer of 1929 on a vacant lot just east of what was Nance’s Grocery Store in Johnsontown gave birth to the movement which created the Church – first known as Johnsontown Methodist Episcopal Church. Instrumental in planning for and carrying on the meetings in the tent were Claude Smith, Brantley Lambeth, and the Reverend Cicero Floyd, assisted by Reverend Brown of the Wesleyan Methodist Faith.
With organization completed in October 1929, the Church had eleven charter members. They were Mrs. Cassie Boggs Ward, Charlie Boggs, Mrs. Lenora Boggs Creasy, W. A. Boggs, Mrs. Donalene Black Boggs, Mrs. Susie Myers, Mrs. John Sechrist, Claude Smith, Mrs. Allie Ward, Dugan Ward, and Mrs. Dugan Ward. The meetings for the Church School classes were held each Sunday afternoon in a vacant building known as Freedle’s Store, and preaching was held on alternate Sundays. The Rev. T. J. Hauck was the first assigned pastor. (Freedle Store once was an old gray wood building located on the vacant lot where Johnsontown Church was born. A few feet away on Johnsontown Road was Nance’s Grocery Store owned by Brantley Lambeth. Mr. Lambeth sold this store to George and Jessie Nance – Carlyle Nance Jr.’s grandfather and grandmother. They were longtime members of Johnsontown Church. This building is no longer on the property.)
The original plans were to establish an interdenominational community Church but because of insufficient funds to support a full-time minister, an offer was accepted to be received into the conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
With a gift of $100 and a donated lot from W. A. Boggs, financial help from the Duke Endowment, plus a borrowed $1,000, the new organization began work on a Church building on the present site. Much hard work on the part of the new members and friends of the community made it possible to worship in the new building Easter 1930.
With the move into the new building came a change in the Church program schedule. The Church School and preaching services were now held in the mornings. Will Stout was the first Church School Superintendent. Willie Bowers was his first successor. When the Church was able to purchase an organ, Mrs. Wilson Kennedy became the first organist. Later Miss Doris Everhart served as organist.
For the first revival, which produced the first major membership gains, Howard Hunt, who had helped with the music in the original tent meeting, was secured to play and sing.
With unification of Methodism in 1939, Johnsontown Methodist Episcopal Church became Johnsontown Methodist Church. Accepting the spirit and program of this forward step, the Church began planning and working for wider service. With the growth in membership, it was necessary to buy an additional lot next to the Church for parking and, later on another plot back of the parking property for a cemetery site.
1953-1956 were years of continued progress. During this time, a well was dug for a water supply. To the original building was added: four new Church School rooms, large basement assembly room, kitchen, two baths, interior of the sanctuary enlarged and remodeled and exterior was brick veneered (according to Bill Edwards, the Church originally had white clapboard siding). Funds were received from Duke Endowment to help with this project. The handsome oak furnishings and dusty rose carpet came as gifts from a number of faithful members and generous friends. Methodist Bishop Nolan B. Harmon of Charlotte, NC, dedicated the building September 15, 1957. He was assisted by Rev. J. Harley Cecil, Pastor; the Rev. John Carper, Thomasville District Superintendent; the Rev. Cicero Floyd of Thomasville; and Carlyle Nance, Jr., Church Lay Leader. The sermon and dedication by Bishop Harmon was held at 2:15 p.m. in a special service. The Rev. Mr. Floyd, now a Baptist minister, who had a part in the organization of the congregation of Johnsontown Methodist Church in 1929, offered a prayer during the dedication. Prior to the dedication, the Church had a picnic lunch on the grounds at 12:45 p.m. Sunday School was held that morning at 9:45 a.m. with A. B. Myers, Superintendent. There was no morning worship service. There was special music at the dedication by the Young Adult Choir, with Alan R. (Jack) Everhart as director and Mrs. Bob Ballard as the organist. Church Lay Leader Carlyle Nance, Jr., was in charge of arrangements for the program of the day. The Church had a listing of 190 members. A newspaper article says “The Church is being dedicated debt free after a building program estimated to have cost $30,000 was done chiefly between 1953 and 1956.” The untiring efforts of the Building Committee consisted of: A. B. Myers, Chairman; Howard Green, Treasurer; Grover Bowers; Charles Everhart; Mrs. Carlyle Nance, Sr. (Hazel); Nolon Smith; and Mrs. Tom (Floy) Whitley. The floral arrangements donated for the dedication service were given by Witty’s, Nance’s, and Elliott’s Florists.
On September 21, 1958, the Church dedicated its first electronic organ which was made by Conn. Building Committee responsible for this consisted of A. B. Myers, Chairman; Howard Green, Treasurer; Grover Bowers, Charles Everhart, Mrs. Carlyle (Hazel) Nance, Sr., Nolon Smith, and Mrs. Tom (Floy) Whitley. Carlyle Nance, Jr., Church Lay Leader, and his committee were in charge of arrangements for this day. This instrument was purchased by faithful members and generous friends. Alan R. (Jack) Everhart was the Choir Director and Mrs. Bob (Lynda Whitley) Ballard, Organist. Dedication of new Choir robes was also dedicated on this day. The robes were gifts to the church from the A. B. Myers family, the W. S. C. S. (Woman’s Society of Christian Service), and the Young Adult Class. Dedication of a new Sudbury Cross was also done this day . This Sudbury Cross was placed on the Communion Table and given by the MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship).
Colon Starrett informed JUMC that he believed the Mission Table located under one of the stain-glass windows in the sanctuary was manufactured by A. L. Shaver Company in Charlotte. This company was owned by Mr. Tom Whitley, husband of Mrs. Floy Whitley. The company also made and donated to JUMC the wooden slat chairs. Mrs. Floy Whitley also donated the white rocker to the Church nursery. We assume that the rocker was made by A. L. Shaver Company.
In June 1959, under the direction of Methodist District Superintendent, Rev. John Carper, and Rev. J. Harley Cecil, the former Trinity-Bethel-Johnsontown Charge was changed from a three-point Charge, sharing one pastor to three Station Churches, to each Church assuming responsibility for a pastor of its own.
At this time, the congregation purchased a lot 150 feet x 250 feet at 109 Hiatt Road and began construction of a seven room, 2 bath, brick veneer parsonage building, which was valued at approximately $25,000 at the time of completion. The building was under the supervision of the Building Committee, composed of Carlyle Nance, Jr., Alan R. (Jack) Everhart, and Charles Everhart. On a Sunday afternoon in 1962, the parsonage was dedicated. Dr. Herman Nicholson, Superintendent of the Thomasville District of the Methodist Church, was in charge of the dedication. The Woman’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) and the Wesleyan Service Guild served as hosts at the open house in the parsonage immediately following the dedication service. All friends of the congregation were invited to attend. The parsonage was first occupied in December 1959, by Rev. and Mrs. J. C. Singleton, the first full-time pastor. The Singletons remained until 1961 when Rev. and Mrs. Roy Steed moved in and served the congregation for one year. Then the Rev. Mr. Steed moved to Duke University area in order to enter seminary there. In 1962, the present pastor, Rev. Floyd L. Berrier. with his wife and three sons, was assigned to the Church. The Rev. Mr. Berrier graduated from High Point College May 30, then he moved away in order that he, too, may enter seminary to complete his religious education. On May 23, 1965, the parsonage was dedicated debt-free.
April 1961 saw us purchasing a 50 ft. x 200 ft. lot on the west side of the Church property. Cost was $200.
In November 1962, the main original building was re-roofed at a cost of $625.
In June 1965, the Church was assigned its first Full Conference Connection pastor – all of its pastors prior to this time having been students.
In May 1967, the Church purchased the old house and lot on the east side of the original property for further expansion and removed the house. The purchase price of this property was $6,000.
With the Methodist Church merging with the United Brethen Church in April 1968, the name was changed to Johnsontown United Methodist Church.
January 25, 1971, a Library Cabinet was donated to the Church by Mr. & Mrs. Dolan Joe Myers to accommodate the 32 volume library that had been instigated April 20, 1970. Mrs. Edison (Cassie) Ward and Mrs. Bobby (Lucy) Berrier were named Co-Librarians. The Library Cabinet was made and donated by Mr. Joe Myers.
Planning for a new educational building was initiated in 1968 by Rev. Larry Bumgarner who was then Pastor. A Steering Committee was appointed to study church needs. Original thinking was to extend the existing classroom wing of the Church toward the parking lot. After much study of space requirements, planning, and under leadership of Rev. Don Sides, our next Pastor, a different scheme of thinking began taking shape. It now seemed more feasible to build a separate educational building with plans for a new future sanctuary in mind. The steering committee selected an architect, Fred L. Williams of Lexington, NC, to design a Church master plan which would illustrate the way our Church could ultimately look. The first unit scheduled to be built was to be a ten classroom educational building to house both adult and children classes. Due to high building costs, however, a decision was made to build only about half of the original building. Since our children’s classrooms were badly inadequate, the building committee decided our children should come first. Fred Williams was commissioned to prepare working drawings for a five classroom children’s building with kitchen and double duty fellowship hall. A church building committee was appointed to oversee construction. Bids were taken in mid-year 1973. Low bidder was Commercial of Greensboro with the bid of $81,573.00. Construction was begun in November of that year but poor soil conditions were encountered. The building site had to be relocated slightly and the building plan was reserved. An additional $3,000 for suitable fill material was approved making the total building cost $84,573.
In November of 1973, construction was begun on an $84,573 children’s educational building which is located approximately 130 feet to the rear of the existing building. A concrete sidewalk was provided between old and new buildings. The new building contains four children’s classrooms, nursery, and restroom facilities, as well as a new kitchen. Three of the classrooms, by use of folding partitions, have a double function and can be used as a Fellowship Hall. Construction was completed in early spring of 1974 and first occupied May 26, 1974. Rev. Don Sides was the pastor. If all goes as expected, this building will be paid off in December 1979.
At this time, two charter members remain with us, Charlie Boggs and Mrs. Lenora Boggs Creasy. We pay our respects to Mrs. Charlie (Donalene Black) Boggs Ward who passed away on August 27, 1979. Lenora Boggs Creasy is the oldest living charter member. We also pay respect to the following members who passed away during the past year:
Mrs. Ruby Curry, April 1979
Mr. Charlie Wray, June 1979
Mrs. Sadie Carpenter, August 1979