Wyoming County Report

Local News

October 14, 2013

Pineville First Methodist to celebrate 138th year

Pineville First Methodist Church was built in 1948 and the congregation “paid off” their new building, located on the corner of Cedar Avenue and Bank Street, in the mid 1950s.

“When everything was paid, they had spent about $90,000,” explained Ned Crews, a long-time member. “In those days, that was a lot of money.”

In today’s economy, that would amount to nearly $900,000.

At the time, the church possessed the only stained glass windows in the county. They were created by a company in New Jersey.

Members will mark the 138th anniversary of the Methodist presence in Pineville Sunday, Oct. 20, with homecoming services beginning at 10:30 a.m. followed by an old fashioned dinner, Crews said.

“We’ve sent about 160 letters to former members, their children and some grandchildren and friends of the church — the ones we have addresses for,” Crews explained.

“I am amazed at the great work done during the transition of pastors and charges,” said Sheri Kernik, the current pastor. “By God’s grace, we are called to be a caring, healing and welcoming church that proclaims and celebrates the love of Jesus Christ.”

 

The Methodists came to Wyoming County about the same time as the Baptists, according to Mary Keller Bowman’s “Reference Book of Wyoming County History.”

In the 1800s, the faithful were served by circuit riders — ministers who preached in assigned areas, staying in the homes of church members along their circuits, performing marriage ceremonies and also serving as the “social media” of the day by carrying news from community to community.

The formal organization date of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Wyoming County is not known, but was early in the 1900s, according to Bowman, probably about 1906 or 1907.

 

“Pineville Methodists were first meeting in 1875 in an old log school building in East Pineville,” according to the church history provided by Crews.

He credited Mildred Shannon, of Pineville, with compiling the church history.

In 1880, the church was in a one-room frame building erected where the Pineville Church of God is now located.

In 1907, after the Wyoming County Courthouse was moved from Oceana to Pineville, a temporary courthouse was built and the Methodists worshipped there.

For a time, Pineville had two Methodists churches — Methodist Episcopal Church, South was on First Avenue and the Methodist Episcopal Church, North was located on the site of the present church.

In 1939, the two branches were merged. A parsonage was built with lumber from the Methodist Episcopal, South Church and used for 27 years.

In 1941, Rev. G.E. Kirk, in his second pastorate in Pineville, helped raise $1,500 toward the new church building.

In 1946, Rev. L.A. Steele launched a campaign to secure the funding.

In 1948, the church building was completed at an estimated cost of $90,000. The first sermon was delivered in the new sanctuary Oct. 24 that year.

In 1955, the building debt was paid in full.

In 1957, the current church was dedicated, with Rev. Albert R. Young as pastor.

In 1962, a new parsonage was built. Rev. James R. Chenoweth Jr. and his family were the first occupants.

In 1968, the Methodist and E.U.B. churches were merged and renamed Pineville First United Methodist Church.

Pastors have included, beginning in 1908, J.B. Simpson, C.N. Kennedy, J.N. Morris, G.W. Priestly, Rev. Wright, C.W. Lewis, Rev. Brown, Rev. Rush, U.S. Allen, Guy E. Kirk, O.R. Casto, H.S. Auvil, E.H. Ritchie, W.B. Corder, A.E. Tulloh, L.A. Steele, Samuel A. Harford, Albert R. Young, William Street, J.R. Chenoweth Jr., Raymond Rowe, Alvin A. Angle Jr., Doyle E. Payne, Michael Curtis, Frances Brown, Dorcas Conrad, Gerald Roberts, Dennis Saunders, Melissa White and Sheri Kernik.

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