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GTi BBS? '•' -'/^s^t '-^^ NC 287.6756 393 H861t SialeUbran/ Of North Carolina in, N.C , TABLE OF CONTENTS! Part I Our Story Pages 1 - 44 Part II Our Special Ministries Pages 45 - 89 Partlll Memories Pages 90-113 PartlV Conclusion Pages 114-115 Written and compiled by Bill Howie and Clara McDonald Presented to the Church on Heritage Sunday November 16, 1997 Acknowledgments The writing of history, in large part, is the bringing together an accumulation of written records researched from many sources, verbal accounts lodged in the memories of those who were and are a part of the body and assembling these in a manner which tells the story. The writing of this, a history of our church, is no different. Many different sources were tapped to make one story ;is complete as is practical and appreciation is expressed here to the following - The individuals who thoughtfully preserved the written records for us locally—some of whom are the church secretaries, the committee and board secretaries, and the leaders of many special groups. - Olive Howie who has labored so faithfully in preserving our story in pictures. -To the stories and news items appearing ir the Monroe Enquirer and The Monroe Journal. - To the Waxhaw United Methodist Church "ecords. - To the South Carolina Methodist Archives at Wofford College. - To many of our members contributions for our memories section. - To our present Pastor Jim Yow and many past ministers. Then there is the much needed appreciation to those who have spent many hours in typing, proofreading, editing, processing the pictures, and assembling this book. They are Diane and Mike White, Frances aid David Helms, Jim and Susan Yow, without the dedicated efforts on their parts, and the endless hours spent, this book could not have been published. Cover by Marilyn Wooten. Forward This book is dedicated to the members of Mineral Springs United Methodist Church, past, present, and future. It is dedicated to those who have gone on before and who have given us so rich a heritage those who have completed their pilgrimage in life and who have moved from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant. It is dedicated to a host of those yet living, who have labored to bring us to where we are today. It is dedicated to those who yet will follow in the earnest and prayerful hope that they will carry the banner of Jesus Christ to yet still greater accomplishments. And last, it is dedicated to our parents, Baxter and Leona Howie who were a part of that great "Crowd of Witnesses" v/ho have preceded us and who have left to us a legacy of an enduring faith. CLODFELTER, BEN C. MITRS, GLENN I. JR. TOW. JAMES L PARTI OUR STORY Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2013 http://archive.org/details/throughyears190100bill Born in the spirit of the old Camp Meetings at McWhorters, nurtured in the love and care of Pleasant Grove, our mother church, established and sustained by the affections and dedicated efforts of generations past — Mineral Springs United Methodist Church stands today as a beacon on a hill, pointing the way to Jesus Christ to all who come within the sphere of its continuing and expanding influence. The story of our church does not have its beginning here in the village, but rather on a deserted hilltop a few miles away. It was there, at McWhorters Meeting House and Camp Meeting that our roots were first planted, in 1787, as those hardy mostly Scotch Irish immigrants established the Methodist faith for the first time in what is now Union County. Credit for bringing Methodism, with its unrelenting zeal for the lost in the early years to present day Union County rests upon the supreme dedication of a band of men known as circuit riders. Called by God and commissioned by Asbury, they went out in the face of the post Revolution spiritual decline to fashion a new nation in the image of God and to "spread scriptural holiness throughout the land". They were appointed to circuits where, perhaps there wasn't a single society (church) - just people without any organized religion. They preached and lived wherever and whenever opportunity offered~in taverns, private one room log homes, in town halls, poorhouses on the trail side, in barn-yards and wood clearings. As a testament of the rigors of life faced by these circuit riders, their average life span was 35 years. Their instructions were "Go into every home in course and teach everyone therein, young and old, to be Christians inwardly and outwardly-fix it in their memory-write it on their hearts". "In order to do this, there must be line upon line-precept on precept, what patience, what love, what knowledge is requisite for this". Such was the setting for the first circuit to be formed in this area. 1 It eventually was a circuit of 24 "preaching places" stretching from Providence on the north side to just short of Camden on the south. Services were held whenever the circuit rider and horse could arrive on the scene. In the late 1700's, a great revival broke out all across America, known as "The Second Great Awakening" and from this movement sprang The Camp Meeting. In these years, this area was still looked on as the frontier and was settled mostly by hard living sturdy pioneers seeking a better life in remote settings. It was into the lives of these people that the Camp Meeting fit perfectly; providing two needed aspects of life, spiritual renewal and social fulfillment. In those early years over 800 Camp Meetings flourished in America. It has been said that this one movement played a major role in Americans formation - one which bases our national image upon Christianity and its influence upon our lives. Between 1787, when McWhorters Meeting House was established, and 1 800, a Camp Meeting was formed there. This location served until 1 829 when, due to a failing water supply and a growing participation, a new location was formed, which was Pleasant Grove, where two large springs were found. The Camp Meeting was begun here in 1 829 and soon thereafter a local church was also formed; a church from which several of our present day churches sprang. Here the spirit moved mightily and both the camp meeting and the church grew, serving a large area of the county, serving many of our present members ancestors for three or four generations. Except for outside influence, in all probability, it is at Pleasant Grove that we at Mineral Springs would still be worshipping. As railroads have played a very significant part in the development of much of our country, so did they play a part in the birth of the community to become known as Mineral Springs. In 1888, the Georgia and Northern Railroad came through the area, crossing the Potters Road. (Highway #75 was not constructed until the 1920's). As railroads were the main arteries of transportation in those days, soon a thriving village, then known as Potters Crossing, and later as Potters grew around this junction. In addition to travel by railroad, most local movement of people and goods was done by horseback, wagon, buggy, ox cart, or on foot. Due to the distance from the village to Pleasant Grove, a devout group of citizens, many of whom were Pleasant Grove members, decided to organize a Sunday School here in 1898. W. W. Laney gave a lot and the people built a two room meeting house. The meeting time was to be Sunday afternoon so as not to interfere with Pleasant Groves worship times. This Sunday School met for a time in a building located between our present church and Moser Construction Company. It's Superintendent was C. M. Penegar. This is noted in the Quarterly Conference Report of the Waxhaw Charge of 1898. Early Sunday School in background Present records reveal that Sunday School was reorganized on July 27, 1901 with W.A. Howie as Superintendent and M.M. Winchester as Secretary. This group then began meeting in a tenant house owned by S.B. Stephenson located on a dirt street running parallel to the railroad and about 1000 feet west of present day Potter Road crossing. The name was known as Potters Sunday School. This site is now considered as the birthplace of our church. On the opening Sunday there were 34 persons present with four classes - three of which were led by Mrs. Ella Porter, Mr. W.J. Armfield and Mrs. Armfield. Since most attendees were still members of Pleasant Grove, this Sunday School met in the afternoon. On this opening day the scripture used was Genesis 12 1-9 "The Call of Abraham''. The song sung was No. 182 "Bringing In The Sheaves' 1 from the Young Peoples Hymnal. The record shows that the weather was clear and warm. How appropriate the scripture that day for this new venture was "Leave your land - Go into a new place and I will give it to you". This School was not organized as Methodist although most of the attendees were Methodist who were members at Pleasant Grove. It was organized as a Union Sunday School, a part of The American Sunday School Union. This group in the 1800's was an evangelistic movement with much power—just as was the Methodist movement. Their missionaries were moving all across America with a singular aim of establishing new Sunday Schools. Since ours was known as a Union Sunday School, and since the materials used were Union Sunday School materials, and since the minutes of the Waxhaw Circuit Quarterly Conference mention several times that we were indeed a Union School, there is no doubt but that we were indeed a Union School. Attendance records on hand reveal that interest was growing during the next several years in seeing that this group survived and grew. A sample of the original records for the year 1901 are shown below. Record for SuNDAY,^*~Pj--4:±-i9-?J. ' Religious Services cmtdutftd by—.^ajLsti^irife ^—^^-+ — ^-~-—tc \ Opening sanS dSj^^l—SCt^l^J^^i^Lj^f*^^^ Oficers and Teachers present ^£Jj- 1 ; absent , _ .' Offictrs prts Scholars present. ^i3l£___ .- ahscnl Scripture Lessen <^fc^K__Z.Z:—..„ >L— " Z__i5S=^l.^»* Subject »/ i,».«.._ ^Z^sL.Sft»'J- ^45f^5ri= , School tirfdrtsssd . .-mrtnuu.r by. _. _ , _.—:. Collection Wcathtr. j3£La<zJj_ School closed <$)„ . _.. . J4Cx3*ar<i-z3z£. / /REMARKS. A^aU Sunday school: 1 I -7t k /i\A/t ' %-^L^U^. 0. &v: ++ ^M '"!*- ' Sunday school. h-~ &-J JUivtUtS/^ V# : j ;J A picture showing the attendance, in front of the Stevenson house, reveals over 100 there that day - this is in the years 1901-1906. This humble location served the Sunday School from 1901 - 1908. Trying to hold a meaningful Sunday School in this facility must have been next to impossible for that faithful band. Leadership by both the lay people and the minister determines the character of a church. Judging by what we know and what must be assumed the ministry of Rev. L.T. Mann, in all likelihood, provided the needed leadership to energize the move to build a chapel here. Rev. Mann's first report to the Quarterly Conference of the Waxhaw Charge, in 1906, reflected his views of the state of the charge was. "Viewed from any definite stand point, it is difficult to say what the state of the charge is. It is true that our church life moves in an even tenor of its way, at one time as about another - but with church life, as with physical life, it is possible for elements of injury and disintegration to live latent and unseen and yet more to a result of hurt and disaster." "...I am concerned that our church life from a spirimal standpoint is not the best... I am inclined, however, to say it is not the worst..." He continues "...We need to be profoundly stirred and mightily moved to an impulse of revival power in 6 every congregation...We shall presently move to this urgent task - let us seek preparation for this work in head and heart and invoke for the cause abundant success..." A year later in his 1907 report he moves in a positive manner in stating. "...We need a better place for preaching at Mineral Springs. The house there is neither suitable nor adequate. We need a building adapted to public worship and Sunday School." "As I see it, this is of vital importance to our interest in that village and to Pleasant Grove itself." This approach and the feeling expressed could have been the spark needed to move on with a building project, even in the face of the fact that this group of folk were only organized as a Sunday School, with most of them attending Pleasant Grove Church at that time. As cash, during those years, was as scarce as the proverbial "Hens Teeth" the Sunday School offerings rarely went over $ .50 and sometimes only $ .02. One cannot help wondering just how the building of the Mineral Springs Chapel could have been accomplished. However, it was indeed built in 1908 with an average attendance that year of 60. Speculation has it that a revival conducted by J.W. Hawkins in early 1908 coupled with Rev. Mann's leadership gave birth to the possibility of success in this endeavor. It is apparent that the year 1908 marked one of our "Defining Hours" for us in our day, for it was here that these hardy folk gave us a firm footing on which to build. The building stood on one acre of land, given by W.W. Laney. . Entries into the Quarterly Conferences for several years give evidence of the uncertainty regarding our Sunday School and its connection with the church. March 1909 ~ "There is a Sunday School at Mineral Springs - a new organization counted as a Union School.." October 1909 ~ "Mineral Springs Sunday School cannot be strictly reported as a Methodist School. This Sunday School is well attended and they seem to be sowing seeds for a harvest to the church" - CM. Campbell January 1910 — "Mineral Springs has never been recognized as a Methodist School although it is composed of the children of the church" January 1911— Of the four churches on the charge it was reported that three Sunday Schools were Methodist and the report added " two others" (Mineral Springs and Flint Ridge) September 191 1 — Mineral Springs listed as Methodist Sunday School with C.A. Baker as Superintendent Note: (For the first time the 3rd Quarterly Conference, 1911, listed us as a Methodist Church) Entries in the Quarterly Conference reports during these formative years show additional glimpses of church life then, April 1913-"The prayer meeting at Mineral Springs meets with hearty support and is conducted by the membership" September 1914--"The recent meeting at Mineral Springs, while not productive of any great ingathering, has been a very material benefit in strengthening the spiritual life of the congregation." October 1915--"Mineral Springs shows quite a decided increase along all lines, J.D. McCorkle is serving as Superintendent." 8 January 1916—Officers of the Ladies Aid Society are: Mrs. H.A. Helms, President; Miss Bertha Thompson, Secretary ^^.^'•^v-; m # V ^-&,cW.'tVv I m ' >-.» Top Row: Frank Houston, Bunyon Coan, Baxter Howie, Bruno McCorkle, Tom Doster, Brack Doster 2nd Row: Hall Wolfe, Vaid Helms, George Coan, Otis Coan, Oscar Porter Dewey Helms, Clarence Keziah Front Row: Mark Winchester, Flo Coan, Claude Helms, Bascom Helms Kathleen Long, Grace Coan, Helen Polk, Nell Coan Buddy Coan, Neil Robinson, Horace Long, Wolfe, Willie G. Moser, , Ruby Godfrey, Isabel Gordon, Veda Baker, Mrs. John Gordon (Teacher) 9 Our story becomes a bit muddled at his point. It seems that, even with the leadership, both lay and clergy, at this time was Methodist, a Presbyterian minister served the Chapel with preaching every fourth Sunday. Sunday School and Wednesday prayer meetings in the homes prevailed during these years. The Presbyterian minister Rev. R. J. Mcllwaine tried to persuade the people to establish a Presb>terian Church here, however the people prevailed in their intent to become a Methodist Church. Therefore, on Sunday July 15, 191 1, we became a Methodist Church with Rev. CM. Campbell as our first mmister. At this same time the Union Sunday School would become Methodist. Enrollment was around 100 in these first Methodist years. Those who signed on as Charter Members are listed below: Racheal Alexander* Effie Alexander* Thomas L. Aldridge* Rachael Alice Aldridge* M. Blanche Aldridge* C. A. Baker* Luther Baker* Conrad Baker Mrs. Maggie Baker* Martha Baker(Riggins)* Pearl Broom Odessa Baker(Price)* Henry C. Baker J. F. Coan* W. C. Coan* Sarah M. Coan* Gatha Coan(Taylor) Lois Coan(Long) John Bunyan Coan George Phifer Coan Thomas L. Coan Annie L. Coan Flow Coan May Coan Otis Coan Guy Coan M. Ella Gordon* Hugh Helms* Fannie Helms* Leona M. Helms Claude H. Helms Robert Howie* Mary E. Howie* Will A. Howie* Ida M. Howie* Vaid Leander Helms Louise Porter* Oscar C. Porter* Ora Lee Porter(Laney)* J. Lee Polk* Annie M. Polk* Henry Polk G. Nail Robinson* Ella Robinson Wincie J. Robinson Tessie McCorkle(Broom)* Maude Howie(Coan) Maggie L. Robinson Bessie D. Howie Mattie Robinson Robert Edward Helms Thomas Carl Robinson Bascom Allison Helms A. E. Robinson Baxter F. Howie* Vera Helms Eustace Helms Wallace M. Laney* Alice Laney* Baxter Laney* Virginia Laney* William W. Laney Henry Laney Frank Thomas Laney Cordie Long Lou Ella Long 10 Thomas Carl Robinson* Raymond Robinson W. P. Robinson W. O. Thompson* Bertha Thompson* Ethel Thompson* Catherine Winchester* Ruby N. Winchester Laura V. Winchester Edna V. Winchester Mark Dewey Winchester Lula J. Winchester* Lula Beatrice Carter F. C. Doster Sadie E. Doster Ida Lelland Doster John Gordon* Charles B. McCorkle George McCorkle S. E. McCorkle J. D. McCorkle Nardis R. Winchester* Nancy B. Winchester* Frank Winchester W. T. Wolfe Mrs. Nannie McManus Mrs. S. C. Wolfe Some of the above charter members transferred by letter from Pleasant Grove Methodist Church and are designated (*) As can be seen, many of those first members were former members of Pleasant Grove Church and it is fitting that a note of appreciation for the heritage given Mineral Springs by Pleasant Grove be expressed here. Records show that the first youth group formed was known as Epworth League, being organized in 1911, with 20 members under the leadership of Mrs. Ethel Howie. This group enjoyed picnics at the mineral spring as shown below. The following people are included in the picture. Bascom Helms, Vaid Helms, Leona Helms, Nell Helms, Amon Helms, Vivian Winchester, Edna Winchester, Claude Helms, Bernice Winchester, Bessie Howie, Tom Coan The next group to convene was The Ladies Aid Society in 1913. e\'K: - ;&*&$&$ Ladies Aid Society-Displaying home sewn articles for World War 1 soldiers In order to get a more personal look at life during these early years we have asked some of our present day older (and younger) members to contribute to this paper by giving some of their memories of time past. We are placing these notes in a special section called "Memories" at the latter part of the book. These notes contain some interesting material about a day and time gone from the present scene, and should make interesting reading. In the years preceding and during the Depression life for our people, was centered around the family farm and its demands on the time and energy of all the members of the household. Every member of the family was expected to work in the fields, farmyard, and household. These were trying times - times that tested the very existence of some while bringing extreme hardship to nearly all. As a testimony to the economic struggles faced by everyone, a report in the Monroe paper in 1929 stated that, during one month, over 2,000 parcels of land were auctioned off due to non payment of taxes - this just in Union County. One local families record shows that they had borrowed $ 900 and the payment was to be $ 5.00 a month and that there were several months where no payment was made. Our church survived these times bringing messages of hope and faith in times of need. It even experienced a little growth in 12 these hard times with the construction of the bell tower in 1 924 and then in 1934 two more rooms were added to the back of the sanctuary. The building committee members were S.M. Kale, F.T. Laney, R.E. Robinson, H.A. Helms, and John Richardson. A very meaningful and lasting gift was given by the Frank Krauss family in 1926 - a gift we today can benefit from and enjoy every time we come on the church grounds. The letter telling of the gift is copied below. KRAUSSWOOD Mineral Springs, N.C. July 15, 1926 To Rev. M. A. Osborn, Pastor The Trustees and Congregation of Mineral Springs Church: It is with genuine pleasure that I present to you, 15 Water-Oaks, One Beechnut, One Dog-wood, Three Evergreen Hedge Treelets, and Ten Cedars, all living firmly established, and cultivated to date. I trust these trees will add to the comfort and pleasure of the community and worshipers and add beauty to the church grounds. For hundreds of years, may these kings and queens of shade gladden the hearts of the folks who worship here; and may the gentle zephyrs of our beautiful southland whisper sweet songs among their green leaves to the silent sleepers resting near by. With best wishes, I am, Yours sincerely, Mineral Springs Church Frank A. Krauss, Sr. 1 908- 1 943 13 As our people were beginning to recover from the Depression, our Nation was plunged into World War II. The effects on the people were many and varied. First and foremost was the calling up for the Armed Services, the majority of the young men, during the four years the war lasted. Out of the ranks of our local church families went around 35 of our young men. This calling effected those left at home as they had to assume the tasks on the farm which the men would have been doing. Very severe rationing of almost all goods and services brought hardships on the population. Many kinds of volunteer activities were carried out by our people, to give support for a complete war effort. All kinds of materials were saved and turned in for this purpose. Cars weren't manufactured at all for four years. Gas and tires were strictly rationed. The speed limit was reduced to 35 mph. TRAGEDY - CHALLENGE - VICTORY At intervals of our church history there have been instances where the fire of The Holy Spirit burned bright - however we feel instances can't quite compare to the heat generated on April 29, 1943. On this day workmen working on the roof left the church for lunch and somehow a fire was started which consumed the whole building. What surely looked like a tragedy on that day of the fire would eventually be seen as a triumph of the spirit and a test of the will. As it was our only building and since building materials were not available due to the war effort, and since most of all the young men were in service a great challenge was faced. This challenge was to the unity and perseverance of our people. While the loss was felt very deeply by many who had grown up in the building, perhaps this situation brought about one more of our ''Defining Hours". For it was "out of the ashes" rose a determined group of Christians, meeting in make shift places for four long years - a determination, born in adversity and trial, to hold onto the faith of their fathers. 14 To this small group of "elders" (both men and women) - we owe a debt of gratitude, for it was their decision to hold on and look to an uncertain future, and to rebuild when consolidation with neighboring churches loomed as a definite and promising possibility. With the only things owned by this group being one acre of land, the pulpit Bible and several Hymnals. The temptation to take the easy way out loomed very large. Consolidation was voiced and recommended by some outside sources with immediate housing being offered. Rev. Henry Byrum, a native of this area, wrote a letter encouraging our people to consider going back into the Pleasant Grove Church as one church, placing it near the Camp Ground and calling it Pleasant Grove Memorial Church. This proposal was rejected. With this being the situation our people made a very "landmark decision" - the decision to remain as Mineral Springs Methodist Church. In order to keep the services going, just after the fire, the old John Gordon Store just north of the railroad was first used. This building was a large one room structure with a few lights and windows only on the front. No paint was present inside or out and heat was by a big wood stove in the center of the room. Sheets were hung to separate the Sunday School areas. Many of our present members remember those times and can fill in information about the details of conducting a full church program in this facility. The next stop for this wandering band was the Mineral Springs School building. This move brought much improvement and was much more satisfactory. Most likely, this school building was only one of a few to experience worship, baptisms and funerals in its facilities. With the war coming to a close, in 1945, the young men began returning home. The very strict rationing was being lifted. A renewed energy became apparent in both community and religious life. The war had brought America out of the Depression and into an economic boom not experienced before. As building materials became available a decision was made to rebuild. A building committee was selected as follows: F.T. Laney, Vaid Helms, 15 T.H. Haywood, M.M. Winchester, Baxter Howie, Harve Carter, Heath Davis, Lawrence Moser, Raymond Robinson, S.M. Kale, John Richardson, and Rev. J.B. Fitzgerald. With donations of lumber, (cut from the lands of Mrs. Nina Laney Geekie), labor and money, this new sanctuary was completed and occupied in 1947 and dedicated on June 11, 1949. The total cost was $25,621.00. -—""'. " ; ' *" ^-?fifflSJ8i New Sanctuary The wage scale, at that time, ranged from $ .50 to $1.00 an hour for those who had jobs. Many of our people were farmers in those years. The family of Hugh and Fannie Helms donated the original chimes for this new building. During these first postwar years we were still on a four point charge with Waxhaw, Pleasant Grove, and Heath Memorial. This was our situation until 1950 when Waxhaw Church decided to become a station church (one with a full time minister). Mineral Springs was thrust into a situation where a decision was to be made-whether to go on being a charge with other churches or to go station ourselves-just as Waxhaw was doing. With a vision for the 16 Sla tf North Carolina future and a confidence for success, the membership voted unanimously to become a station church. This action took place on August 24, 1950. Surely this decision was one more of our "Defining Hours". With faces set toward the future and a deep love for Christ, we were now set for full time ministry of worship, witness and service. One only has to survey some of those churches around us who had the opportunity to take the same bold step, in those years, but chose not to step out in faith. Thanks to that older generation of that day for their forward look. They preserved for us a place-and provided us a path for success. These actions brought new dimensions of worship, witness, mission and ministry a new day had arrived! The first order of business for us, now as a station church, was the arrival of our new minister. Young David Charlton was chosen for us and arrived, by way of the Trailways bus. He seemed eager to begin his first appointment and to lead us into our new adventure. Memories still exist in our minds of Dave appearing in the second floor meeting room during the official board meeting and stating "Hello, I'm your new minister". From this beginning we experienced new excitement and new growth from the postwar families bringing many new children into our membership. A portion of Rev. Charltons first Pastors Report gives evidence of what was happening in our first year as a station church. "...J have nothing but praise for The Mineral Springs people in this their first year as a station church." "The budget was increased 150% and paid in full-the interest and enthusiasm is beyond expectation~The attendance has increased steadily on Sunday mornings." "The Church School is noticeably higher-the Sunday evening meetings are including the whole Church." "We now have Young Adult, Intermediate, Junior and Primaries meetings on Sunday evening." "Mid week prayer services have been started, the use of church bulletins has begun, new hymnals purchased and a nursery established." "The "Community Building" is very near completion and will serve for Church 17 School and Fellowship gatherings." ''Building committee has been selected for our new Parsonage. A lot purchased and the finance campaign is now underway." "The Church of God moves on." At this point in time, our rolls contained many newly married couples and these young adults provided new energy to support the growing ministries of the church. Rev. Charltons report for the next year is as follows: As I write this report, I can look out of the church window and see a new home completed, the new Mineral Springs Parsonage... I know what is going on inside that home, the preacher's wife is cleaning, dusting, sweeping, etc. you see the parsonage has just been completed and the Pastor and his wife just moved in. That would be the main thing to report since the last Quarterly Conference, the completing of the parsonage... The building of a parsonage for a church of this size represents quite an achievement for this conference year. It has not been paid for but most of it has been pledged and we feel certain that in due time we will be free of debt. The building of a parsonage stands out even more when you consider the increased church budget. This is our second year as a station charge. Last year the budget was increased over 100% and it was met. This year our budget was increased $1200 from last year, I am happy to report that this will be paid out. This is progress, Mineral Springs is on its way to be a self-supporting church. There has been some gain in church membership over the past year. Seventeen were taken into the church this year, seven on profession of faith. We are not satisfied with this, but it is some progress. The Community Building mentioned in the preceding report was to become a very valuable addition to both the church and to the whole community. A lot was secured from T.P. Nesbit and two wings of the old Camp Sutton Army Hospital torn down-saving everything from the foundation, flooring, framing, plumbing, wainscoting, doors and windows, even the nails and reusing them in our new building. This building was 60' x 80' for the 18 main hall with two 24' square wings off the back. With volunteer labor both tearing down the hospital wing and constructing this building we then had a facility, which then became used to a very full extent. To attest to the benefit this building has meant, a poem was written in 1984 -(the year it was torn down). It expresses some of the experiences enjoyed in this old building, and is as follows: SO LONG TO AN OLD FRIEND We pause to honor on this day A real friend who passed this way. We are thankful to the Lord above For inspiring such friends to serve in love. A friend, whose service was always yielding-- A friend who is called "The Community Building". Within these walls fond memories abound-- Stand quiet now—and hear their sound. The ladies of Home Demonstration, as they take their seat- Saying in a loud voice, "We need a place to meet". And soon thereafter an army hospital ward- Was taken apart-board by board— And carefully removed to the present site To fit together again-just right. When all was said and done Our friends service was just begun. For 34 years we've been truly blest By this friend giving us it's best. Not only serving The Home Demonstration— But also "Community Development Organization". The Volunteer Fire Department had it's birth here. And the Scouts met here for 25 years. Woodmen of the World here sharpened their axes- And here you cried as you listed your taxes. You voted to install those in high places- And sang "Alleluia" with love on your faces. 19 All of the choirs through the years have sung here too- Beginning with the song "There's A Suit Of Armor For You" Suppers of chicken, fish, and oyster stew-- 4-H, Bazaars, and Sunday School, too. Youth Rallies, Family Night and Farmers Meetings- Parties, Couples Club and ice cream eating. Lion's Club, The Guild, Wedding Receptions-- WSCS and District Meetings no exceptions. And last but not least serving out of our bounty- For 3 years-the needs of the poor of Union County. So now as we reverently pause—let us be observant— To The Masters Words "WELL DONE THY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT! By Bill Howie Beyond the churches use as Sunday School, Scouts, Youth Activities, Church suppers, Christmas programs, Sub District Meetings and other church uses, this was truly a community building. As the Volunteer Fire Department didn't have their new building with meeting facilities and there being no other such facility the wider use of this building filled a broader need. All those groups written into the poem used this building. The last activity to use this building was one of utmost significance for it was here in this then unheated and uncooled facility that local church members led by Modene Howie formed what was then known as "The Sharing Station" - the forerunner of what is now Operation Reachout - the largest non tax supported crisis agency in Union County. For the first two years with a full time minister, Rev. Charlton lived in an apartment in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Vaid Helms. It was to this apartment that he brought his new bride. (Does anyone remember the reception they got?) 20 The need was soon recognized for a parsonage and our church took its next step in building. The building committee selected was as follows: F.T. Laney, Vaid Helms, W.M. Niven, R.E.Robinson and Lawrence Moser. This building was completed in 1952, dedicated in 1957 and served through the ministry of Glenn Myers until 1991. The ministers who lived in this parsonage were: Dave Charlton, Edgar F. Kale, Richard Jarrett, Wayne Billings, Earl Cook, Kent Outlaw, Marsden Kitley, Paul Cassell, Bill Harris, Benny Clodfelter, and Glenn Myers. One minister, Leon Atkinison did not live in the parsonage. Coinciding with our becoming a station church and the consequent strengthening of our ministries was the surge of new births called the post war baby boom. Since there was zero growth in our area of new families moving in from elsewhere all the growth that was taking place was of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and even 5th generation homefolk. These new children would be the first generation to face extreme changes in the American culture which was beginning in the late 1950's but which literally exploded on the scene in the 1960's and 1970's. Life, for these children's parents, was very different from the one they were too experience. For their parents, much of the week days were taken up with very disciplined work responsibilities on the family farm and in the home. There was much less involvement outside the home and much less distraction within, therefore, much more teaching was possible by the family in training in spiritual enhancement and the development of a system of values than is possible today. In those pre World War II years the extent of the churches involvement with the children was limited to Sunday School, Worship, special children's day experience and church picnics at the mineral spring. Later, going into the 1950's - as home duties decreased, there was added a strong Methodist Youth Fellowship program from Junior Youth to a strong Young Adult Fellowship. For a period of three or four years, this Young 21 Adult group put up and ran a hot dog and concession stand at the County Fair for rundraising purpose. Also in this period a strong scout program was underway and active. In the 50's the birth of one of the most significant and meaningful ministries for children and youth in our churches history took place. For it was in 1957 a group of our children met for what was to become known far and wide as Mineral Springs Youth Choirs - an endeavor which would be hard to match anywhere for a church our size. The story of these choirs will be told in a later section of these writings. Even with the 'purging' of the rolls of around 50 names from 238 down to 185, in the mid fifties, our numbers were growing. This growth fostered the need to expand our educational facilities and so once again a decision was made to build and a committee of Olin L. Murray, David Helms, Dewey Robinson, Tom Laney Jr. and Lawrence P. Moser were selected as a building committee. The building was known as the Education Building and contained six classrooms and two restrooms with one of the classrooms being larger for special occasions. This addition gave us 12 regular classrooms in addition to using the Community Building for many purposes. It was finished in 1959 and dedicated in 1965. The cost was $ 18,500.00. Ground breaking of the Educational building Ora Lee Laney, Glenda Couick, Rev. Kale, Lawrence Moser, Judy Moser, Dewey Robinson, Tom Laney Jr., Frank Godfrey, Dr. Miller, David Helms Olin Murray 22 As it can now be seen these progressive moves by dedicated leadership were placing our church in a most favorable position to attract large numbers of children and youth to our various programs and ministries. During the 60 's, times were changing at a rapid rate causing much pressure to be put on our youth. The strength of our programs in those years helped to keep many young persons from turning away from their evangelical and conservative roots. It was in the face of this national 'turning away' that our Sunday School and Youth Choirs reached highs. The Choirs lasted for 30 years. It must be said that this strength came from dedicated leadership and parental cooperation. Once again we faced decisions as to the need for more space. This was at the same time that our local Volunteer Fire Department was planning a new facility. With this in mind, it was decided that the church would throw its efforts, at building, behind the Volunteer Fire Department and assist in the construction of a facility which would not only serve to house the fire equipment, but would include a large meeting room with adequate kitchen and bath for large crowds up to 200 persons, for the entire community. This facility was completed in 1967 and for the next 17 years was used as our fellowship hall, using it many many times for our Christmas Programs, Church Family Nights, Fund Raising Events, and many other activities, receptions, showers, parties, and youth activities. This endeavor consumed a very large portion of our members energy, time and money as the Fire Department records will show. By the record, our church members contributed a minimum of 80% of the planning, financing and construction of this fine facility. For a period of around 15 years our church members were the majority of the firemen serving the Department. Today there are only one or two serving as volunteer firemen. Our church has been and is still an active part of the community. 23 In the early sixties another happening took place which has, through the ensuring years, added significantly to our mission, our witness and our awareness of broader ways of serving. That was when the Wycliff Bible Organization located their JAARS Center nearby. From the onset we have been greatly blest by having families from this center come to us as active participants and leaders. Their times among us have greatly strengthened both the spiritual and physical realms within our membership. Some of those who have been with us for varying links of time were: Ben Friesens, Jim Daubenmier, Dick and Dorothy Lites, Ron and MaeEllen Ehrenburgs, Bill Martins, Star and Suzanne Koerner, Dave and Patsy Immell, Roy and Edie Gleason, Max Moody, Glen Smith, Bob Donaldson, and Leonard Adams. The supreme dedication of these folk to take God's Word into areas where there is no written language has been and continues to be an inspiration to the rest of us. Through the years members of the church have been actively supporting these super missionaries. Life went on in the early seventies despite a steady loss of a good number of the post war babies - to marriage, to relocation ofjobs and to college. Our attendance fell some during the seventies, mainly to the above reasons and also without any moving into the community of new families. One event took place in 1971 which was a positive move. This was the chartering of the United Methodist Mens Club in our church to go along with a very active Womens group which had been organized for 50 years prior to this. Both these groups will be related to later in this book in a special section. In the opinion of many of our members another "Defining Hour" occurred in 1975 when we had our first "Lay Witness Mission" - an event in which 38 people from the two Carolinas and Virginia came to us for a Friday through Sunday visit. They came not to preach or to teach or to entertain. They came simply to tell us what Christ and the Christian walk meant to them. They showed us how the power of the Holy Spirit can transform so so 24 Christians into vibrant outgoing witnesses for Jesus Christ. This mission brought just about the whole Body here to greater depths of spirituality and dedication and to quite a few a complete turn around. The original Lay Witness Coordinator died just two weeks before our scheduled mission. Floyd McCellan filled in and led the church through the weekend. The following is a write up by our Pastor Cassells after the weekend. BUT THEN SOMETHING HAPPENED! Our beloved brother Cecil Hannah went to be with the Lord. We felt hurt, and lost. Then a little man, physically, with a heart that beat with love beyond words poured himself out with his wife, Jesse. No humility was more pure, no love was ever so rich as came from these lovely people from a little country church beyond Statesville. Then one of our neighbors gave himself wholehearted, as '"boot" revealed Jesus to us. Bobby Houser, a big country boy and his buddy James came down from the hills of Surry County, and just loved anyone within ten foot of them. My beloved friend, Bob Harris came from the country-side of Asheville to share a little of himself. He was such a blessing to the team members that Saturday morning, and he did not have anything to give but love. And, the beat goes on, the youth took up the chant. Chris and his lovely wife shared the joy of Christ and what He meant to them as they worshipped together. Rick, Bill, Pam, Joyce, Joy, Sandy, filled to overflowing to speak the same language of adults. Quoting from a love expression of Shirley Moser, "Thank You! I could not express what the mission over there meant to me and my family... I am so glad we came. I sure did get to know the people there better and love them all." Mr. and Mrs. Bill Laney added such a joy to our grand week-end fellowship in Christ. With a number of others sharing this time with us. Around a blazing fire, in the shadow of a cross, something happened. Youth from our church, and those visiting us, streamed into the sanctuary one by one, kneeling, crying, loving, sharing, hugging. What wonderful joy filled the atmosphere under the dim-lighted-cross auditorium love flowed so tenderly. Your pastor and Floyd stood in some of these spots, where puddles of tears were left the night before, and goose-bumps speckled our backs as we remembered, BUT THEN SOMETHING HAPPENED! 25 For the next five years much time and energy was spent on "inward journeys" - moulding more faithful disciples from which brought us to a greater and a more sincere witness. Sharing groups, meeting in the homes, did Bible study, prayed together, shared the Gospel and their needs. Regular prayer time at the altar brought 12 to 15 people there every Sunday before service. Example of the enthusiasms gathered during and after this mission! -Fifty seven members visited a church across the county with a mini version of a Lay Witness Mission. --Thirty seven attended a day long Evangelism Rally in Greensboro —For six or seven consecutive years 1 5 people went to Lake Junaluska for a weekend of renewal known as the Laity Conference. ~A number of members began going, as team members, on subsequent missions with several special person, going on more than 30 missions. These persons are John Hancock, John and Tammy Case. --When other churches had their own missions our members furnished a lunch for their congregation and The Witness Team. This even included a Baptist Church 20 miles away whose members did not even know we existed. The Lay Witness movement has meant so much to us that we have had three more since the first one. This first Mission propelled us into the 80 's with a growing vision of what God expects of us. Several other events helped guide us toward embarking on Gods vision for us at Mineral Springs - a vision which has caught hold and is still opening up for us this day. Another meaningful witness to the effect of these missions had, was the attendance of 15 - 20 youth and adults to two week long seminars on Basic Youth Conflicts in Charlotte lead by Bill Gothard. The Youth Choirs were going strong in the 70's. In 1978 a library was established in memory of Baxter and Leona Howie. In 1979, with the evangelistic and outreach fervor flowing, the church purchased a 45 passenger school bus for trips and for picking up children in the community whose parents were not attending church anywhere. This part of the ministry worked for a good while and it was a blessing to the driver to see those little children standing out, all dressed up waiting for 26 us to bring them to Sunday School. The bus was also used for many groups like the youth choirs, senior group, and Methodist Youth Fellowship. Other trips remembered was a special one when 44 of our people went on a three day retreat. Some went on a 15 mile canoe trip down the New River. Later this bus was sold. In 1988, a van was purchased, and is being used extensively for trips by church members. A strong and continuing result of the Mission has been what is called Sing A Long. This is a time on Sunday evening dedicated to strong Christian fellowship and sharing with enthusiastic singing various kinds of Christian music, testimonies, prayer and witnessing. Among those leading these informal and meaningful times have been Henry Blythe and Gene Richardson. These Sunday night events lasted as many as 12 years and recently in 1 996 have been revived on a once a month schedule. Along with the extra leadership of the JAARS folk and the stronger spiritual emphasis of our Lay Witness Missions and as an out growth of the strong sustained Youth Choirs, a Youth Camp grew out of our church and its leaders. The year it was organized was 1974. This camp provided very strong leadership and participation during those formative years. Each summer 150 to 180 youth enjoyed a full week at Pleasant Grove - a week purposely set with strong guided spiritual encounters for our youth. The camp was held for 3 weeks each year. This camp still exists today and is known now as Camp Quest, a camp with a proven 16 year record of bringing many youth into a closer relationship with Christ, and many for the first time, all because of a vision born within the fellowship of Mineral Springs Church. It was nurtured into reality with a sense of dedication and mission not seen very often in our churches. Our churches strong commitment to this camp in terms of leadership, volunteer adult workers, financial support, and young people attendance, continued for a period of 15 - 18 years. We can be justly proud of the prayerful and loyal support of this innovative action on the part of our people 27 during those years. Our church was, without doubt, pioneering a move for which few other churches in our conference would even dare dream about. This camp was indeed one of several activities which have marked Mineral Springs as a very unique church and a church which is doing outstanding ministries in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today the camp is operating independently from our sponsorship. This camp came about as a vision of one person - Modene Howie. Along with a number of highly dedicated volunteers. She prevailed and persevered in the face of a good deal of apathy among some of the membership to bring the camp to a maturity such as breeds success and endurance. Some of the earliest steady year to year volunteers from our church were Clara McDonald, Isabel Martin, Doris Helms, Reed Bryant, Tommy Laney, Terry Merritt and others. Another special ministry, born out of a vision, occurred at our church in the early 80'. This was accomplished when Sandra Jackson brought together a program for our children and youth, known as "The Searchers". Along with a few volunteers this group developed special weekday programs for three age levels - programs oriented toward making Bible study real for the children. Weekly meetings with these three groups brought a deeper spiritual walk that meant very much to a group of young persons faced with so much peer pressure and influences which went against Christian principles. This program, "The Searchers", had on roll 47 youth and children. 'for'* :U. « >-^mmmmiw-mmf«M& Ki m c ' ' '.-. 28 At this same time Lynette Ehrinburg initiated a summer program for all youth known as "Back Yard Bible Club" - weekly meetings at various homes, bringing in children both from our church as well as others. A total of 59 children attended these special summer weekday activities. A note in our church newsletter of 1981 lists the following activities sponsored in one summer for our children and youth and shows the energy put into our ministry to them at that time. "Many children and youth have encountered Christ, in a meaningful way, some for the very first time as a direct result of our programs for them." Church School - 47 Youth Choirs - 46 Vacation Bible School - 70 Scouts - 28 Five Back Yard Bible Clubs - 30 Methodist Youth Fellowship - 14 Summer Music Camp - 96 Confirmation Classes - 12 Searchers - 32 Not bad efforts, wouldn't you say, for a small rural church with attendance around 115. Pastors Report in 1 984 Proclaims Us As "Builders" During the past year, I believe our Church has been characterized by the term "building." The kind of building I want to emphasize here is spiritual. We have a "spiritual" Church, but thankfully not a complacent Church (we are not satisfied to stop growing spiritually.) I see significant spiritual growth taking place in so many areas: 1 Worship - Our worship and especially our music is a great blessing and up-lift. I feel my preaching has improved more this past year than in any other period of my ministry. 2. Sunday School - Our teachers have re-dedicated themselves and many pray at the altar before Sunday School each Sunday. Attendance was down 29 before our Lay Witness Mission, but since our attendance has been on the up-swing. 3. Lay Witness Mission - Through our Lay Witness Mission many people were touched by the Lord and have entered into a deeper walk as a result. An Intercessory Prayer Group and "Sunday Night Live!" (Adult Sharing Groups on Sunday night at the Church) were born that weekend and are helping people grow. 4. Prayer life - The Lord has been reminding us throughout the year of our need for daily quiet-time, prayer and Bible Study. We held three Prayer Vigils this year and encouraged fasting as a part of two of the Prayer Vigils. 5. Pleasant Grove Youth Camps - I saw many of our youth commit or re-commit their lives to Christ and grow spiritually. 6. Men's Fellowship - This group has been a blessing to me and I believe our men are growing spiritually as a result. 7. Spring Revival - This year's Revival brought Rev. Jesse Rushing who was a great blessing to us. 8. Sharing Group - A group meets weekly for sharing, prayer and Bible Study. 9. Bible Study - This group meets on Wednesday mornings and is doing a Survey of the Bible. 10. Music - I see spiritual growth experienced and brought about by our Adult Choir, Something Special Choir, Children's Choir, Youth Choir and Sing-a-long on Sunday nights. A third kind of building may be referred to as human up-building. Our Church has a sensitivity to and love for people in need - both within and without the Church. It may involve a member in financial need, a young mother needing diapers for her child, a little girl needing a bone marrow transplant or a couple stranded on their way through Union County. Some of our members helped with the Overnight Shelter last winter. Many assisted 30 with needy families at Christmas. Much was done in response to the Tornado Victims in McColl, S.C. including food, clothing, and money and assistance in re-building homes. We gave our Feed the Hungry BBQ money and assisted with a Chicken Supper for McColl Tornado victims. It makes me proud to serve with a Church that serves the Lord, the needy, and future generations with their self-less giving. We are blessed to be able to serve. 1 am thankful to be the Pastor of this Church. It is a blessing to me. A NEW DAY DAWNING At this point in our ministry, in 1997, we feel that it is correct to say that there are several contributing factors to our ministry as it is today with Christ's Body uniting in love, fellowship, witness, nurture, and outreach. 1 . A very rich spiritual heritage given us by those going on before as the strong and lasting foundation upon which we are building. 2. The recognition, in the middle and late 70' s of a new emerging need, in the face of a National demise of our Nations character, to first bring ourselves to deeper spiritual dimensions in order to face these new challenges. 3. The turn around in some parts of our General Church toward church growth emphasis and evangelistic endeavors and our local leadership quickly grasping the principles taught. In a short time the vision began to take hold with the obvious results showing today. 4. A strong emphasis on children and youth ministries - Scouting, Methodist Youth Fellowship, Youth Camp, Youth Choirs, Back Yard Bible Clubs, Searchers, Vacation Bible School, and Sunday School. 5. The recognition of the value and importance in a strong music program, featuring a strong emphasis on the spiritual witness available when music praises the Lord and comes from the heart not as a "performance" but as a witness to the Love of Christ and His Kingdom. 31 6. The recognition of the need for expanded facilities and the positive leadership exhibited in this direction provided new energy and unity and resulted in much support in our ministry, giving us space in which to grow in love and fellowship. 7. The ministries of several of our ministers beginning with Rev. Cassells willingness for us to take on a new approach to ministry with the first Lay Witness Mission with its widespread influence - the follow-up evangelistic ministry of Bill Harris - the vigorous and energetic and outgoing leadership of Benny Clodfelter and culminating, during these years, with the very effective leadership, of eight years, of Glenn Myers. (Our present minister of six years, Jim Yow, has been very effective in continuing to build upon all these principles and events.) 8. And finally, the real capstone to our movement in growth in numbers and ministries as one of the outstanding events in these efforts was the intensive Church Growth Consultation led by Dr. George Hunter of Asbury Seminary - a nationally recognized church growth expert. (This we will expand on later in this article.) WE BEGIN TO BUILD FOR A NEW DAY A campaign was launched, as described above, in the early 80's to study our future needs as far as facilities and growth were concerned. After study and congregational involvement proceeded, several ideas were advanced as to just what exactly we felt we needed. In early 1983 a Study Committee of 19 members was activated and as a result of its findings and the congregations deciding upon what to do, a building committee and a finance committee were formed to finance and build a new Fellowship Building. This committee was made up of Gene Richardson, Henry Blythe, Jim Starnes, Wanda Conley, Mike Smith, Bill Howie, and Lawrence Moser. Prior to construction a Finance Committee led by Steve Ervin planned and carried a very thorough and well planned campaign to the degree that the 32 total cost of this building was paid up in less than three years. The total cost was around $200,000.00. Henry Blythe volunteered his time and expertise to be the general superintendent for the construction phase of this building as well as for the Robinson Building constructed during the same period. Among others - Gene Richardson and Jack Horton contributed much to these projects. These buildings, named "The Christian Life Center", and the "Robinson Building' 1 , have added significantly to the expansion of our ministries and outreach and have provided adequately to the spaces needed for the growth that was soon to come. The Church Growth Consultation, led by Dr. Hunter, and mentioned above, was as extensive and successful as about anything our church has attempted. Justification for the above statement lies in the results of the study being that Dr. Hunter took all that we had done and been engaged in up until the study and put us on the track to become all that we are today. This study was done in the summer of 1 986. The first order of business prior to this study was for the church to decide among five different avenues to embark on to better the ministry. The reasoning for a decision to do something in a more positive way was, in part, that in studying surrounding churches as well as our own, we came to recognize and accept the premise that today unless a church wants to and organizes for growth it will surely die, even though slowly. After selecting Dr. Hunter to help us, he then put us on a three month evaluation and study. First, a Task Group was selected to lead the church along with our Pastor, Glenn Myers. This group consisted of Star Koerner, Bill Howie, Cleo Couick, Clara McDonald, Clifford Blythe, Lois Tyson, and John Hancock for special duties and a host of other members working with these. The extent of the study can be seen in the following listings. 1. Selection of the Task Group - A six week studv of the book "Church Growth" 33 2. Setting the Hospitality - Getting 12 selected persons to write papers on the most pressing and important issue before the people - collect 10 years of data about our church - plus an overview of it's origin and entire history. 3. We were to seek out groups of people within our church including, new members within the last three years, which were to tell Dr. Hunter why they came to Mineral Springs. Thirty members from all parts of the church were to fill out a lengthy ''Congregational health questionnaire". Three visitors who had not joined. Three inactive members, the church leaders, anyone who had any problems within the church, a neighboring Pastor, and also to be interviewed were the Pastor and his wife. Interviews were set up for each of these groups. 4. After all of these groups were interviewed a church wide meeting with a free flowing discussion was held. This concluded a wind-up for Dr. Hunter's visit. Dr. Hunter then took all the information gathered back for study. In around three weeks we had the results of this study and a blueprint for successful church growth. His introductory remarks, in the study he returned to us, are these: 'The Mineral Springs Methodist Church is a strong promising 75 year old church, whose roots are in the great camp meeting evangelical tradition. The church now faces an unprecedented opportunity to fulfill the apostolic dreams in which the church was founded. The church is well positioned to become a significant growing church. It is located in a strategic location - with property which should last for a decade. (This report, remember, was written in 1986) The facilities are even better than some people think - especially with strong multi-use of them. There is a core group of lay people highly devoted to the church and its future and this devotion is long standing." "To mention some of your strengths, at this point, I would begin. The Sharing Station is an unusual strength in your ministry. Your church's music program, while not involving as many choirs as you once enjoyed, is exceedingly well done. The choirs leadership of the worship service is perceived to be a genuinely spiritual ministry, a key part of the worship of 34 God, and not at all afflicted with the kind of "performance orientation" that characterizes too many choirs." "You are perceived to have a family closeness and at the same time this closeness which - by a process like adoption — is capable of letting a lot of new people into the family. Many of your people are walking strengths in ministry. I was impressed how many men are perceived to model something of the essence of Christ. I was impressed, when asking persons to talk a bit more about their choices of heroes and heroines and tell why they chose them, by the Christ like values and the real ministry of the church, instead of making heroes of the people who mamly serve the offices. Your emphasis on special occasions where you invite groups and programs into your times together is the kind of thing a lot of growing churches are doing - especially if you use these occasions to invite the undiscipled persons in your community." "Now for something I think you need to recognize and improve upon: "Your worship services are still considered genuinely traditional whereas most all new younger persons are lookmg for somewhat more contemporary worship with contemporary hymns, with instruments, a very informal climate where people are encouraged in shirt sleeves, with a lot of praise and intercession, testimonies and laying on of hands. To accomplish the idea of pleasing two kinds of members, you may want to go to two services with one being mostly contemporary and one being a little more formal and traditional. Some of your people do not want the church to grow. I think, however, that as these people get in fuller touch with the size opportunity that their church faces that they will really want to be a part of the decade which seizes and fulfill that unprecedented opportunity and will be profoundly grateful for their part, when they see a steady stream of people joining the church who are in the process of discovering the living God." "The "protective policy" regarding the uses of your buildings by people and groups in the community is undoubtedly a restraining force upon the fulfillment of your potential. I think that in time you will want to renegotiate this policy. Your church is a curious mix regarding the important dimension 35 of visitation outreach. You do it well when you do it but you don't do it very much. Visitation evangelism is the one area that the "amateurs are better at that the professionals. Caring lay people who reach out are about twice as effective as are the clergy." "Now for some opportunities I would suggest for you to seize upon and become stronger in. I would encourage you, in the strongest terms, to develop a regular visitation program. I would counsel you toward much greater emphasis, once again, on youth ministry. A ministry, once vigorous, but now somewhat placed at a very low priority. I would encourage you to begin a continuing program of starting two or three new Sunday School classes every year. In some cases not being afraid to close some underachieving ones. New people like to be in on the ground floor and perceive ownership. Consider establishing a Day Care Center. You need regular employed staff for the nursery, assisted by volunteers. Consider hiring a church secretary. Get as many people and groups to use your facilities as possible. Look toward beginning an early Worship service and possibly two Sunday Schools." In his discussions with us, Dr. Hunter also mentioned some physical changes that growing churches will need to do. He said " Be sure that the nurseries are as good and clean as the baby boomers home nurseries are, with all new fixtures and furniture and the room renovated" "Be sure that the restrooms are as nice as those boomers homes have. Be sure to start children's programs for their kids. Be sure to be willing to establish new Sunday School classes for these boomers that they can "own" and that meet their needs." NOTE: We printed this much of a larger report as an indicator as to how we followed Dr. Hunters suggestions and how we are succeeding in our ministries here because we had this consultation. (The full report is in the church files.) Here, in 1997, a look back reveals just how this consultation was heeded and what actions were taken with the results obtained. 36 - With Jim Yows energetic efforts in leading a regular first time visitor visits, and foliow-ups, our visitation program is well underway. - Evident buildup of youth/children emphasis has taken place with both volunteer leadership and Marilyn Wooten and Kay Carnes's active participation on the part of the staff. -From the time of the consultation, until today, careful attention has been given in the formation of new Sunday School classes, as the opportunity arises in all age groupings. -Research has been done in Day Care activities with a beginning 'Mothers Morning Out' and a full Day Care as a goal yet to be achieved. -Have added a paid staff member to assist the volunteers in the nurseries. Have hired a church secretary. -Have hired an associate Minister, Rev. Bobby Green, Director of Christian Education, Marilyn Wooten, Music Coordinator, Kay Carnes, Custodians, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Steele, and groundskeeper, Jan Johnson. -Have, in place, an excellent early Worship Service. The idea to begin having an early Worship Service took several years, from Dr. Hunters visit, to become a reality. However, in 1989, at 8:45 a.m. on a Sunday morning, our first such endeavor took place with around 25 persons attending. From that date till here in 1997 the interest and enthusiasm has gradually increased until today the attendance has equaled that of the 11:00 a.m. service and the prospects seem to indicate that it will soon surpass it. At this time research has been proceeding on some sort of a contemporary service becoming a reality here as these kinds of services are a large part of the church growth recommendations around the nation and are generally either the main service for many evangelical churches or an optional one for most all churches which are growing in these times. 37 As mentioned earlier, there was a process happening which we titled "A New Day Dawning" which was taking place, not necessarily with one special event but as a collection of several. Certainly, these several events, when put together can claim to be still yet another "Defining Hour" for our people. Tied together with the aforementioned events, several things were happening in the surrounding areas and with some eventful changes taking place in the lifestyles and thinking of people. First, our general area began to experience a rapid rate of folk moving into the area, folk who are more mobile then in the past - giving us a wider area of influence. Second, a resurgence of interest in these young parents in coming into church attendance. Third, a new concept of how people decide upon attending a certain church. Distance doesn't make as much difference as in years past and denominational ties aren't as sacred. A church which meets their needs will be the one for them. It was a combination of several of things such as above that transformed the character and ministry of Mineral Springs Methodist Church from one which was serving well the needs of a closer group of residents to one of reaching out further and one that began to recognize the needs of a new generation of families and being willing to meet these needs with energy and acceptance. For the core of those whose relationship here has existed for generations, this new experience has been interesting and has produced some innovative thinking. This "Extended Family" concept seems to be working well. The following charts will attest to the success which has been achieved through this last period in our history. Along with showing the past trends, these charts will provide a vision for the future. Even though the numbers are impressive, it needs to be noted that our overall goal has not been so much numbers but the main thrust has been, and hopefully and prayerfully will continue to be, to bring persons into an experience of salvation and nurture through Jesus Christ. 38 MINERAL SPRINGS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH WORSHIP AND SUNDAY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE Historical and Projected Data 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 ^ 1998 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 WORSHIP SUNDAY SCHOOL 500 400 300 200 100 MINERAL SPRINGS UNITED METHODIST CHURCH MEMBERSHIP AND GIVING Historical and Projected Data A •;* 4 17 4 1 | ih ! B a 3! 15 3 .2 . 31 <9 | 4 4 >3j !0 j 2 '3 2">6 2< 18 3 JCi,1? Z is a 6 2< 6 2 J6 2 il -- • - — 1 1 J ,» 1 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 MEMBERSHIP The preceding charts show very clearly that many new and exciting families were coming into our fellowship. This continuing influx of new 39 members created what can justly be termed "a good problem" one which many of our Methodist Churches would like to have - this being the need to expand our facilities. Once again, a period of study and planning brought about the plans for the addition of eleven classrooms, restrooms, and renovation of the Education Building. Dale King headed up a Building Committee of Anita Bishop, Jim Starnes, Henry Blythe, Gene Richardson, Lawrence Moser, and Al Simpson. The cost of this building and the paving of the parking areas was $ 226,000.00, with this amount being paid off in three years. The renovation of the Education Building allowed for the moving of the Church Library, which had been on the second floor of the Sanctuary, to a new and more accessible and usable location. In the new Library, the materials for the book cabinets were donated by the Devon Wormian family, and built by Mike White. The original Library was given as a memorial to Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Howie by the family. With the continual growth which was happening, another need surfaced. This was the need for a new Parsonage. The original one, built in the early 50's had become somewhat outdated and was presenting problems. Therefore, a decision was made to construct a new one. The site of the older one proved to be not acceptable for our new one so negotiations with Frank Krauss III, owner of an adjoining house, were completed and this land purchased. This home that was on the lot was built and occupied for 70 years by the family of Hugh and Fannie Helms - a strong supporting family of our church. The home also served as Mineral Springs (previously Potter) Post Office for 60 years with the Helms family members serving as Postmasters. A very gracious and much appreciated gift of $25,000.00 was given by Richard and Katharine Steele in memory of her parents Olin and Maude Murray, for the purchase of this property. This enabled us to begin construction immediately on a new Parsonage. This Parsonage was completed in 1991. The total cost of the Parsonage was $ 121,000.00, including furnishings. It was dedicated November 3, 1991. The old parsonage was sold to a church member and was moved off the church 40 property. The Building Committee was made up of Gene Richardson, Bill Southerland, Judy Wormian, Henry Blythe, Dale King, and Meg Giddings. Now, in 1997, we have a home for our Ministers family which can match up with most. Continuing building activity brought about another addition to our property. A children's playground was constructed with much of the labor being done by Joe Cole with some other volunteer help. A picnic shelter completed as an Eagle Scout project led by Jonathan Yow. With long range planning now even more a part of our situation, the need to acquire adjacent land while it was available was seen as a prudent move. Four acres just east of and adjoining our property was secured at a cost of $38,000.00. This amount was pledged, in one day, by our church members and after this was done a very great surprise came about. Lawrence Moser then matched this amount so that the land was paid off and there was an additional $38,000.00 to be put into our next building fund. It is appropriate, at this time, to give due recognition of other gifts received. Our present organ, a beautiful and meaningful instrument, was given by the Blythe family. The quality of our music program was enhanced greatly by the donation of 50 choir robes and storage cabinets by the Lawrence Moser family. In memory of Helen Polk Moser. These gifts add much to the overall ministry of our church. At the present time, planning process has been completed and now the 41 church is moving on an expansion of the present Sanctuary which will seat an additional 80 - 86 in each of our two services. Plans are being mapped out which will add an expanded fellowship area and then in the long range plans will come a new Sanctuary. These three items are to happen in the above order and in a time table to be implemented. The following report on our last six years progress was written, by request, by our present minister, Jim Yow. In these years our growth has been very strong and many good things have been happening. A good portion of the story of these years can be found in the reports in Part II - "Our Special Ministries" Other insights can be gained by the Photo Albums in the Library and many home owned video cameras. Rev. Yows report is as follows: Our church family is very grateful for the wonderful ministry that Glenn Myers, his wife, Susan, and sons, Jason and Robert had on our lives. Our church family will always be grateful for their impact on our lives. During the spring of 1991 it became apparent that the Myers family would be leaving Mineral Springs after eight wonderful years as our parsonage family. On June 24, 1991 the Myers family left Mineral Springs. On the same afternoon our new parsonage family - Jim, Susan, Jonathan, April, and Michelle Yow - moved into our new parsonage. The Yow's never will forget the warmth shared with them as they moved in. There was a sign that read: "Welcome to the Yow's." All around were men and women helping to unload the U-Haul and bring in meals to help the new parsonage family to feel welcome and at home. How wonderful it was for the Yow's to move into a new parsonage. Shortly after their arrival the church had a welcoming celebration for them in the church's Christian Life Center. During the first few weeks our new pastor met with the Pastor Relations Committee and "Nights at the Parsonage" began. These nights were simply times when the parsonage family opened the door of the parsonage and church family was invited to come in groups of twenty. This was a time for the church family to get to know the parsonage family and the 42 parsonage family to get to know the church family. We shared many of the hopes and dreams for our church and looked at where we hoped to be in five years. Shortly after our new pastor arrived he and Finance Committee chairperson, Ray Ross, started talking and making plans to pay off our new parsonage. With the support of the church family the debt was paid in full. A dedication of the parsonage was held in November 1991 led by District Superintendent Lloyd Hunsucker, Glenn Myers, and Jim Yow. Following the Dedication Service an open house was held. Planning for our future, the decision was made to sell the former parsonage rather than remodel it for a youth building. Sealed bids were accepted, and Hal and Darlene Rape purchased the house for $6,500. In May 1992 the former parsonage was moved from the church property down Highway 75 where it is located today. In the early fall of 1 992 the Planning Committee made a proposal that we remodel our present Educational Building and build an additional eleven classrooms. The Building Committee was made up of Henry Blythe, Jim Starnes, Al Simpson, Gene Richardson. Dale King, Anita Bishop, Judie Wormian, and Lawrence Moser. Much of the work was done by men of our church and what we could not do was done by various sub-contractors. It was wonderful to watch our church family work together to build the new Educational Building. In March 1993 we had a Consecration Service and entered the new facility for an open house after Dale and Anne King cut the ribbon. We are grateful for the financial support of The Duke Endowment, Albemarle District Mission Society, and our church family. For the first time we sold bonds to our church family and financed our building ourselves. In the Spring of 1996 our Educational Building was paid off in full and our District Superintendent, Rev. Bill Bass, lead us in a Dedication Service. In the Spring of 1994 our church decided that we would add two part-time staff positions - one for a director of our children's choir and the other for a director of youth ministry. Both of these additions have added so much to our church. Our first Children's Choir Director, Kay Carnes, is still with us. She has done a wonderful job of incorporating so many children into our choir. Each year Kay has from 35-45 children in choir. The number of 43 families that Kay's ministry has brought in our church is very exciting. Kay certainly has been a blessing to our church. Mark Carnes was our first Youth Director. Prior to having a youth director we had volunteers like John Case, Tommy Laney, Tammy Case, and Gina Roberts. Beginning in 1992 Peggy Bridgers worked with our children and youth while she was attending seminary at Duke University. During her ministry our youth group grew to approximately 30 youth. Many of the youth who were attending our youth group were from our community, hi December 1995 Mark resigned to take a full-time position. During the interim Kathy Burrill served as our youth director on a volunteer basis. In early 1997 our church family decided to hire our first full time staff person. We were excited to find out that there was a possibility that Marilyn Wooten may be available. In April 1997 Marilyn came to Mineral Springs. What a difference she has made in the life of our church. She has such a warm and caring spirit. Her talents and leadership abilities are outstanding. We certainly have been blessed as Marilyn leads a team of volunteers in Sunday School, in youth and so many activities around our church. Excitement continues to be in the air as our church continues to grow and reach new families. In 1991 we averaged 177 in worship and 124 in Sunday School. Today we average 257 in worship and 171 in Sunday School. As we look at our growth there is not a single reason, but a combination of reasons. We now have programs for all ages. When you try to meet the needs of people of all ages people respond. Another reason why our church continues to grow is our location Many people are moving out of Mecklenburg County into Union County. Many subdivisions are being built around us and people are looking for a church home. As long as we reach out and show people we care about them we will be amazed at how God blesses us. As a church we are grateful for the many ways God is using us. But we must always remember it is God that gives us the growth. 44 PART II OUR SPECIAL MINISTRIES WHERE THE CHURCH MEETS SOCIETY ON MORAL/ETHICAL ISSUES John Wesley said, "There is no social holiness when there is no personal holiness and there is no personal holiness when there is no social holiness." In this statement - a statement lived out to the fullest by Wesley - is contained the essence of Christian living in its entirety. Wesley fought the social, ethical and moral issues of his day as vigorously as he preached the personal gospel of salvation. The Methodist Church has a rich history of taking firm stands through the years on the issues of concern in each period of it's life. While, during the first 50 years, our witness of the moral issues here at Mineral Springs was rather clear and, because of conditions of life at that time, was usually limited to working in our own neighborhoods. However, as the pace of life accelerated in the 50's and 60's, it became evident that the American character was deteriorating at a rapid rate and that the battle would now have to be taken out into the nation and the world. Christian values and beliefs were being assailed as never before. During the late 70 's, 80 's, and early 90' s our church began to face the reality that Christianity was in a war and was already losing it without even realizing that the war was on. The approach now was not only work within the walls of our own church but to begin to learn the tactics necessary to have some positive effects on life as lived out in our communities and in our nation. Our Commission on Church and Society7 has mobilized and has been, and still is, very actively involved in a three fold approach to the issues we face today. Our goal, through the last 20-25 years, can be described by three words - Educate, Advocate, and Activate. We have consistently brought to our people opportunities to learn more about the issues and how the Bible and our church speak to them. We have made available many various kinds of opportunities for our members to begin to act on these issues in ways both inside and outside the local church. 45 We have made continual efforts to get our people to begin advocating moves designed to influence, on the one hand, legislation, on another the media, on another, the general public. Through the years literally scores of letters have been written to the newspapers, to industries, to legislatures and to other groups with some very positive responses and a great deal of success. Petitions are sent year by year to our Annual and General Conferences on some very important matters and have been successful in a small but meaningful way, becoming the actions and/or statements of our National Church. We sponsored a Decency Week (set out by county commissioners) which included a Decency Rally drawing 750 people and resulting in many follow up actions dealing with pornography and obscenity. Two of our members led in three separate District Workshops on these issues. Some of our members have served on various District and Conference groups which dealt with Sunday School Growth, Alcohol, Drugs, Homosexuality, Abortion, Violence and World Hunger. Six of our members took part in the ProLife Rally in Washington, standing up for the protection of the unborn, and in 1997 The Annual Conference adopted our petition strongly opposing the partial birth abortions. One of our members, Bill Howie, has become active enough in Annual Conference activities that he has been an elected delegate to four Jurisdictional Conferences and three General Conferences and has reported some success with some of our petitions. One outstanding success story is our churches petition to the General Conference regarding the Alcohol/Drug problem. The General Church was putting out a rather positive effort to curtail the growing drug problem. We, here at Mineral Springs, recognized that it consisted mostly of good statements and goals but it did not provide a vehicle to make the goals attainable. Our petition, was to create standing committees on Drug/Alcohol with adequate financing and staff in the General Church. As a result of this one petition, from a small country church, has resulted in there being a standing committee on the General Church level and the same in 57 Annual Conferences and untold numbers on district and local church levels. 46 We believe that indeed one person or a few, or a local church can accomplished good things for the Kingdom of God, if there is dedication and perseverance among the members. As Wesley said, "There is no personal holiness if there is no social holiness", and we subscribe to that statement 100%. "Faith without works is dead". Experiences have taught us that the teeth are placed in any motion/petition when the word Direct is placed where it does just that - Directs that a certain move be made and that adequate finances are directed to be applied. Statements recommending such actions have a way of getting lost within the General Church. Another success story, still dealing with the Alcohol/Drug problems in America, was passed at General Conference, from our church, which directed the Methodist Publishing House to begin a more forceful teaching and advocating of abstinence, as a faithful witness, to our curriculum. Most of our Churches energy, in this area, has been on intervention and treatment which is an important part of dealing with the problems. However, as is quite evident, there is no problem deriving from not ever taking the first drink. It is tragic that 14 million problem drinkers had the inception of their problem with " a first drink". As a result of studying church and Sunday School growth in books, papers, and attending seminars, our church sponsored a petition challenging the Annual Conference to set a goal of creating 500 new Sunday School classes within our churches. The importance of the Methodist Church working on Sunday School growth is reflected in the statistics of a 50% decline in 30 years of Sunday School attendance. This petition passed - a task group was chosen, ( a local member was one of five persons charged with this responsibility of bringing a plan to the conference). This was done and now is a priority within our Conference. In 1997 still yet another petition opposing a last minute and unnecessary act termed "Partial Birth Abortion". This was adopted by a wide margin to become our Annual Conferences official positions on this issue. 47 World Hunger has been another focus of our church with a continual program of active participation in the relief of this hunger that affects at least one billion people continuously. To, at least a core group of our membership, following both Wesleys and the Bibles mandates dealing with social and ethical ills of the day is a priority. Jesus said, " Forasmuch as you have done it to these - you have done it to me" and "Forasmuch as you have not done it to these - you have not done it to me" ~ depart from me -- I never knew you." This is the challenge for Christians today. A LASTING LEGACY Little realization did those leaders have of the impact and far reaching effect of what they were doing that day, in 1957, when they called together the small children of the church to organize a children's choir. This call was not extraordinary - almost all churches have their children to sing together at some time and at special times in the past our children had been together at special times. However, very few churches can equal the accomplishments which took place over the next 30 years through the outreaching witness and ministry of this group. For it was during the next 30 years that a tradition was formed, and a ministry begun which would spread from Virginia to Georgia with lasting influence on the life of our church and several other neighboring churches. For a ministry to flourish and endure for those 30 years, with as much success and impact as the Mineral Springs Youth Choirs have accomplished, extraordinary talent, sacrifice, and perseverance must be present in its leadership. While, during the 30 years, there have been numerous persons who have given valuable assistance for periods of time, in many forms, two standout - Modene Howie and Clifford Blythe. For it was, without doubt, the talent, creativity and dedicated energy and perseverance of these two that brought these groups out of the level of ordinary young peoples singing and acting groups to heights rarely attained in churches of any size. 48 From the very beginning the original group of young children began to be recognized for their enthusiastic singing and began to be invited to sing at area churches as well as for civic groups, in Christmas parades in Monroe and Charlotte, and at other gatherings. Many of those who were in this original group stayed with the choirs throughout the entire 30 years of their existence. With Modene's constant either writing original music or arranging other songs to suit the situation, and playing the piano, and Clifford's energetic enthusiasm in leading the group up front this group early on began to take on the characteristics of excellence that were to follow them throughout the choirs history. Records reveal that, during those 30 years, the choirs and/or choir subgroups, have performed as many as 300 separate times away from our churches own activities which within themselves happened on a very regular basis. These performances took the choirs across the Carolinas and into Virginia and Georgia. Also, present records reveal that over 400 songs were memorized and used by these choirs during their existence and for the many types of programs presented. The image and reputation of these choirs reached the youth of other churches (Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterians) to the extent that many joined, and were welcomed, just as enthusiastically as our own members and were just as faithful. At the height of participation, present records reveal over 100 children and youth taking part and this at a time when our membership was less than one half of that here in 1997. An annual event was established and endured for 1 9 years, which both the young people and their audiences looked forward to with much excitement. This was Sing-A-Rama - a two hour musical - much like a Broadway musical where fun type music as well as uplifting serious types and individual performances were the thing. Rock and Roll types of music were not used in these times. The event allowed the group and individuals to display their talents and to learn to express themselves through these shows in manners conducive to Christian character development. Audience participation was so great that in certain years the Sing-A-Rama 49 was done on two nights even with the Parkwood High School Auditorium seating over 600 persons. Audience participation came from all parts of Union County. To produce such a show as was done required constant rehearsals for three months, much music writing and arranging, costuming to be done, staging built and sound and lighting programs produced. Parental assistance was strong at these times. *wm lisp? f'^%? \ "..... .. 'P¥.V^.# Sing-A-Rama Middle 1970's As the children grew into their teen years, the leaders homes became places where many of them came to talk about their experiences and concerns with the leaders in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality. The objectives of having these choirs were as follows: 1. To train and bring out the musical abilities of the youth 2. To instill the use of talents for Jesus Christ 3. To assist in establishing group loyalty among the members 4. To provide a safe zone for teenagers for building of characters 5. To instill in the members a sense of ministry, witness, and outreach To assist in this last mentioned objective the choirs undertook ministries beyond their music. One of the first outreach ministries was the support of two orphans - one at The Methodist Children's Homes and one through The World Vision overseas. 50 Our first organ purchase was a project completed by the choir. Then came two new pianos and a sound system. To raise the financial support for these, and other projects, the choirs sponsored Dollar A Month solicitations, collect and sold waste paper - the largest single load weighing in at 17,000 lbs. - sold donuts, on one special occasion sold 2500 dozen in one sale - yes 2500 dozen, collecting bottles and other recycle items and other one time fund raisers. A crowning accomplishment of this program was the establishment what was first called Pleasant Grove Music Camp, a full blown week-long encampment with two separate weeks for different age groups being together. Around 160 were attendance for several years. As the years passed it was seen that this camp could be much more than music as a strong complement of leaders began to bring spiritual development as the key to the camp. Many youth met Christ for the first time in those early years and others learned much about their Christian walk. The camp thrived in tiiis atmosphere and is now known as Camp Quest. To know that this camp came directly out of the Youth Choirs experiences is something of which our Church can be justly proud. While the original group was still pre-teens they had a record made at Arthur Smith Studios which was a big hit with our people. Then later still another one was done with some still available today. On one occasion a group of 10 youth - called "Something Special" - traveled to Nashville to make still another recording. This one was what is called "middle of the road" type songs - not spiritual and not Rock and Roll. Several radio stations in the area played this one and the response was very strong to hear it again and again. Many of the groups learned to sing solos and did these in many places. One special group of the pre-teens, in the early years, formed a Barbershop Quartet - Marilyn Blythe (Wooten), Reed Bryant, John and Eddy Howie known as "The Cousins Four". This group became quite good at this type of harmony and sang at all kinds of places including church, civic clubs, and 4 H conventions with a high light being invited to Charlotte Ovens Auditorium as guest singers at the annual Barbershop Singers Convention. During some of the years the parents of the choir members formed 51 Sing-A-Ramas and were invited to Lake Junaluska for the Annual Conference. The rich legacy left by having these choirs, lives on in the lives and ministries of many adults today in our church and others as well. Youth Choir in late 1970's The following articles are inserted here as complimentary writings by request of the author of this church history. One of these requested articles speak to the memories of the choir in general and two speak to the leadership of Modene Howie and Clifford Blvthe. When I was about 15, I heard a lot of my friends at school talking about being in the Sing-A-Rama, Ronnie McGuirt and his Mom skating down the auditorium all dressed up and other exciting ventures so 1 thought I'd like to give it a try. Plus there were several cute guys I sure would like to get to know better. So one Sunday, Cindy Haywood and I decided to go give it a try. It was wonderful. We gradually became one of Modene's "kids". She's always been so good to all of us. We would practice on Sundays in a room here at the church, full of chairs, with music notes on the walls. Modene 52 gave me so many opportunities and made me love music more and more. She always made each one of us feel special. I also remember all the wonderful people who came to see us sing on Sunday mornings or whenever we went anywhere. I can still see their smiling faces. They will never know how much their kindness and support meant. I continued to go to Mineral Springs Church off and on for many years. It really is in my heart my "home" church. I have met so many wonderful people there and felt God's presence many times. Thanks so much to all of you who helped give me so many wonderful memories. Sheila Ghant Kiser One thing I am really thankful to God for is friends. He gave us friends to help us through bad times, sad times, and those times when things happen that we just do not understand. He also gave us friends to enjoy the good times with. God's love can grow even more when it is shared with good friends whom you really love. A special friend that I am sure God sent to me is a lady named Modene Howie. As a young boy of thirteen, I was shy and unsure of myself. Unable to hear very well, I did not participate in any group activities, especially in church. This lady named Modene took an interest in me. I remember my voice was changing at the time and one of the first things she ever said to me was, "Bring your voice down. It's beautiful and you can control it." The look on my face probably said I thought she was crazy. "Who did she think she was and what did she know?" I thought to myself. I practiced controlling my voice and it worked. I did not squeak and talk awkwardly for very long. Later she told me, " I have something I want you to do." "I am not going to sing," I exclaimed. I loved singing at home alone in the living room with Mom, but I was not going to sing at church. "What I have in mind is not singing. I want you to help me play a joke on 53 some people," she said sounding so reassuring and convincing. I told her I would think about it. Years before, she had begun a community tradition called Sing-A-Rama. Each spring, she wrote and directed a musical show, much like a Broadway musical, which showcased the talents of people of all ages from the Mineral Springs Methodist Church. Modene was a very persuasive lady and convinced me to be in on her secret. I was to be a surprise guest at the Sing-A-Rama that year. I walked out with balloons tied to my backside and got a lot of laughs. I was thrilled at the feeling of being on stage and hearing applause sprinkled with laughter. She never gave up on me, although I resisted her a lot in the beginning. She was determined to become friends with me, and I was determined to have nothing to do with her. I did not understand her attention. I wondered why she was so determined to have me participate. I did not want to be a part of that group at church. They had been together all of their lives and I was a newcomer. I thought that I would never fit in. She knew otherwise. It was not long before she had me singing tenor. By the time I got my first hearing aid, I was good at finding my pitch. In fact, she always told me that I had perfect pitch. I did not realize until I was an adult that she really meant it and it was the highest compliment she could have paid me. Too bad I did not have the beautiful voice to go along with the pitch. Mine was just average sounding, sweet and serene with no volume. As the Sing-A-Rama grew and grew each year, so did my part. I always looked forward to the springtime to see what she had in store for me that year. One year I will never forget took place in the early seventies. A new song by Melanie. called Brand New Key, had hit the airwaves. Modene decided that I should play a little girl dressed in pantaloons, wear roller skates, and skate down the aisle to the stage. My mother worked hard making me a rather large pair of lacy pantaloons of white material with red lace borders. I wore a wig and sunglasses as I 54 started down the center aisle at the Parkwood High School auditorium. As I raced down the aisle, I began to wonder how I would stop. The aisle was slopping downward and I had not practiced skating there. I hit the front of the stage pretty hard, and rolled right over onto the stage. This was a strange sight, especially for a two hundred and fifty pound man dressed as a little girl. The audience was hysterical and Modene was laughing hard from her place at the piano. What was to come next was a surprise for me. She had turned the tables on me. As I began to sing, "I've got a brand new pair of roller skates," amid the laughter arising from the audience, my mother rolled out from left stage riding a tricycle, wearing sunglasses and a matching baby girl outfit like mine. By now the people in the audience were in the aisles laughing. It was a great moment. From that moment on, I knew the excitement and joy a performer feels on the stage. We went on to sing the song together and brought the house down. I will never forget that experience. Modene always knew what was right for me. One year, a few years later, she said, "Now it's time for you to write one." "Write one what?" I exclaimed. 1 thought she was crazy, but I did not want to say it. I know that you can write a Sing-A-Rama, and I know you want to do it, so do it. She is a person most people can never say no to. At the time, I could not either. At that moment, Florence Belch was born, my first effort at writing a musical program to be staged for production. I will never forget, after the program, one lady came up to me from the audience and said, "You make a better woman than I do." For many years, our choir was a strong, solid group determined to show our love for God and each other. We traveled to many different churches all over the south and enjoyed singing our hearts out. At one time we had over 45 members, in the senior youth choir, in addition to two younger ones, and 55 45 members, in the senior youth choir, in addition to two younger ones, andno one could top our sound. We were really good. The friendships and bonds that we made during those years will always be the most dear for us. Ronald T. McGuirt Mother (Clifford Blythe) was the "behind the scenes'" heroine of the Mineral Springs Youth Choir in those early days!! She always claimed she didn't have talent, but just a willingness to help...not so! Her talent was helping us to sing together and smile... "waving" her hand so we knew when to start and stop...keeping us quiet when we needed to listen...having our music sheets organized and ready... getting us at the right time to the right place (whether we were selling 1000 dozen Krispy Kreme do-nuts @ 2 dozen/ $l...or riding on a float or a firetruck in the Christmas parade!)... those things that 'unsung heroes' do to insure that the show will go on! Dad (Henry Blythe) drove the car and took us to churches from here to Virginia, set up the risers probably a million times, worked until midnight finishing the Christmas float, as well as countless other tasks. And they both made sure that Sunday evening was church night...nothing would get in the way of weekly choir practice! Sing-a-Rama was a family affair and the Parkwood auditorium (the only place big enough to house the crowd) became almost a "sacred" place to all of us because of it! Reminders from both parents to collect the monthly payment from my "Dollar-a-month Club" members (fund-raiser to pay for our first church organ!) helped to insure the success of our cause. WOW! There isn't space to share the hundreds of other memories!! Marilyn Blythe Wooten MISSIONS The Mission outreach of our church is at a relatively strong level with much emphasis put on local and area outreach and the regular support of our friends from JAARS. In addition to the direct support of several JAARS missionaries and to 56 special ministries of their outreach, the church has sponsored Mission Weekends with many different mission agencies coming to us with their programs and needs and our consequent donations on a one time or regular basis Our regular budget apportionment provides mission support annually. World Hunger Relief has been a good part of our history with the annual cluster churches "Feed The Hungry Barbecue" participation for many many years and other one time support of other hunger agencies, such as UMCOR, Bread for the World, Feed The Children, World Vision, and relief to Mozambique. More on a local or area basis are the following projects our support has gone to. The Children's Home, Hospice, Jail Ministry, Operation Reachout, Meals on Wheels, and daily nutritional Meals here at Mineral Springs Church. A truck load of emergency supplies went to relieve the West Virginia flood and several teams have gone to work on the relief of the damages done by tornadoes in South Carolina and Hurricane Fran. Active donations and labor have been provided in joint efforts with other churches in replacing one local home destroyed in Hurricane Hugo and providing a Habitat For Humanity home in the neighborhood. Within the church itself, a fund is maintained and used on an emergency basis for people around us. Realizing that to become sensitized to the needs, local and worldwide, we make attempts to educate our people to these needs by various means - The weekend specials, videos, on scene participation and other means. We have now begun to participate in a gleaning network for left over food stuff in farmers fields. Needless to say, one of the most outstanding efforts in missions has been Operation Reachout, a report of which is in another section. 57 EVANGELISM The foundational Methodist heritage is evangelism - the winning of souls for Jesus Christ. As within the general Methodist Church, we here at Mineral Springs have experienced a changing attitude as to how evangelism is to be carried out, and possibly even what it really means. From days when the Revivals were a reality and many persons lives were radically changed, many times instantaneously, to today's quiet affirmation at the time of joining the church we have seen such a change. Within these changes, our church has attempted to meet the need for introducing people to Christ, also in changing attitudes and methods. Indeed, many of us remember the Camp Meetings and our own revivals, plus regular weekly preaching, where the challenges were put to us in unrelenting force and power. As results of this type evangelism we were witnesses to many strong and lasting transformations. As in the General Methodist Church, the emphasis on straight soul winning began to be replaced with other priorities. While this was happening in the larger church, we here locally were holding on to some of the older ways while also moving to new ways of reaching people. Our Lay Witness Missions and other strong emphasis on evangelism weekends brought as into new and exciting relationships with Christ. The Sharing Groups helped sustain these new found energies. Then we began to learn new ways such as "Friend Days" for getting folk to attend our church. In the late eighties a church wide program called Vision 2000 emerged on the scene. We immediately took advantage of this, applying its strengths regularly for several years. This did indeed bring our attendance up. The Church Growth Seminar, discussed in other parts of this book, gave us a newr energy and vision. Today, to the most of us, the real power of the altar call and the real results of personal one on one witnessing have lost most of their power and the new ways are dominating the scene, 58 Today, for the underlying move in evangelism, we are counting on, our location, our reputation as a growing Methodist Church and a very active follow-up of our first time visitors which now are coming at a very good rate. As individual members, some are attending Promise Keepers Rallies, counseling on Billy Graham Crusades, and seven have participated in the three day ministry of "The Walk To Emmaus". Several are still going on Lay Witness Missions to other churches. Today we can sum up our priority in a three part statement of our mission: - To bring people into a real lasting relationship with Christ - To nurture them into a mature walk - To motivate them to witness to the love of Christ through outreaching ministry MUSIC Music at Mineral Springs has been a very strong part of the ministry for a lot of years. In The beginning the church didn't have a piano or much in the way of song books. The first book used was The Young Peoples Hymnal and would have been without accompaniment. After moving into the white church, first called Mineral Springs Chapel, a piano was obtained and even an old pump organ was used for a while. During those formative years Singing Schools were popular where the children would come for all day sessions lasting a week. Mrs. Ethel Helms related that she had attended these sessions and Mr. Plyler, the instructor, would let the group go over to the "public well" to get refreshed during the break time. Mrs. Blanche Aldridge and Libby Savage, her daughter, were among the earlier pianists, with people remembering how good Libby could play. Other pianists, through the years have been, Viola Doster, Vivian Winchester, Ora Lee Laney, Bessie Howie, Helen P. Moser, Isabel Martin, Marcene Robinson, Mrs. Walker, Modene Howie, Maxine McGuirt, Marilyn Blythe, Gwen Tyson, Shelia Ghant, Irma Daniels, Linda Ervin, Patsy Ballard, Sue 59 Thornton, Dawn Roberson, Christa Cook, Betty Jones, Meleah Lemmonds, and Jillian Southerland. The Adult Choir prevailed through the 30's, 40's, 50's, and 60's on about a normal level for a church our size. Then in the 60's and up the children and youth choirs began to be recognized far and wide and began to furnish more adult musicians. A report on these special groups is found elsewhere in this history. Through the 70's and 80's the program became progressively stronger in the Adult Choirs and continued with activity on children's level. With the establishment of an early worship service, the music in that area began to become a reality in a short time. Patsy Ballard and Sue Thornton now lead this early choir which is made up of many enthusiastic members. The eleven o'clock choir is led by Modene Howie and Christa Cook. The church has added Mrs. Kay Carnes, as Music Director, and she is now bringing a growing children's choir along at a fast rate and doing a good job there. Presently our organists are Maxine McGuirt, Sue Thorton, Kay Carnes, Christa Cook, Jillian Southerland, and Modene Howie. The combined Adult Choirs number over fifty. A church band is now being organized with Bill Southerland as it's leader. In addition to the band we have several individual guitar and flute players. A generous gift of Hand Bells, in memory of her father, Hubert Helms, was given by Jim and Gerri Plyler. This enables us to now have Hand Bell Choirs. Music is indeed a strong ministry at Mineral Springs United Methodist Church. This endeavor follows directly in the footsteps of the Wesley's as from the very first years Methodist have been known as a Singing People, therein lay much of the power in the movement that transformed the face of England and crossed the Atlantic to become a power that helped bring America to its Christian foundations. Their singing was a joyous outward expression of a real inward experience with the living power of Christ. 60 The power of real heartfelt singing can be shown in the following lines of an early hymn - One man with a dream - shall go forth and conquer a crown - and three with a new songs measure - can trample an empire down. Such can be the legacy here for us in our day. MINERAL SPRINGERS Late in the 70 's and on through the 80 's Methodism was becoming a church with larger and larger numbers of it's members becoming Senior Citizens. This trend still exists in much of the Methodist Church - however in our church here in Mineral Springs we are excited about how this trend is reversing itself as we are now attracting many young parents into our fellowship. Recognizing the need to focus some of our growing churches energy on those who were indeed the backbone of our church in the past, this group of members decided it was time to organize into a body that would meet some of it's special needs - fellowship, sharing, supporting, and outreach within itself. Thus, in the late 80's this group met, decided how it wanted to begin, selected it's name and officers and was on its way with energy and excitement. The group held a contest to find a suitable and meaningful name. Many names were suggested such as Golden Oldies, Pioneers, Energizers, and other names. The final selection was, of course, The Mineral Springers. As the group began meeting, the decision was made that we would have a monthly meeting with a program, fellowship, and refreshments. In addition to this meeting, there would be a once a month extra activity, such as trips and eating out . Also, we would strive to do outreach and service projects on a continuing basis. From the beginning these three areas of participation have been carried out with some good success. The monthly meetings have been very successful with average attendance of 20 - 23 persons. There are 46 on the active roll. We have times of sharing, devotionals, games, contests, good time for just plain visiting, and wonderful refreshments. Eating out is popular and trips to various places 61 such as The NC Zoo, Spencer Railroad Shop Museum, The Waxhaw Museum, a mountain trip. Lake Tillery and Historic Camden Tour, and other outings. The group has held several yard sales, along with two church dinners to raise finances for their outreach. One of their major projects to help finance is the Ecuadorian ministry where Roy and Edie Gleason have spent their lives in mission for JAARS. Over a thousand dollars has been sent during the years to this area. One hundred dollar gifts at varying times have gone to UMCOR, Feed The Children, Operation Reachout, and to the Picnic Shelter. Members of this group, as individuals, participate in many of the church wide activities. These same members are the ones who led the church in past years and who have brought it through the years to what it is today. Gene Richardson was the first president of the group and he has been succeeded by Donnie McGuirt for the last six or seven years. This ministry offers a sort of refuge or sanctuary, for it's participants, from the fast paced high energy programs and ministries of our church and provides a very important service to its members, as well as providing outreach projects that can be their own. Margaret King served as Secretary/Treasurer until 1994 and now she serves as Treasurer with Mercer Smith as our Secretary since then. The roll shows that, at this time, our active members are: Bessie Rodgers Clara McDonald Bill and Modene Howie Dewey and Marcene Robinson Olive Howie Doris Carpenter Helen C. Moser Ray and Marion Ross Mabel Hancock Charles and Nonnie Lehneis Roy and Edie Gleason Cleo Couick Mercer Smith Jr. and Donnie McGuirt Bud and Clara McManus David and Frances Helms Ruth Toglio Lawrence and Helen Moser Horace and Carolyn Helms Ed and Tommie Brockmann 62 Meg and Gloria Giddings Doris Hines Myrthe Blythe Grady and Marilyn McAuley Willie McCorkle Russell and Elaine Goodwin Callie and Margaret King Bobby and Kathy Green Lonnie and Maxine McGuirt SCOUTING Scouting programs have long been a part of our churches ministry to the youth. The first Scout Troop was formed in April 1941, by Mr. Earnest Broome and has been in service ever since. Baxter Howie was one of the first leaders of this troop as well as an agriculture teacher whose name has been forgotten. During these first years (during World War II) the scouts took part in programs aimed at preparing the boys for later participation in the Armed Services. They also collected scrap iron and other metals for the war effort. With the coming of the end of the war, the troop began to experience new opportunities. Participation in Camporees and Camporalls as well as local camping, field events, hiking, Boards of Review and annual recognition banquets became annual events with advancement in rank following. Special events, such as three day hiking the Appalachian Trail several times, a trip to Washington, and to Norfolk Naval Yard were part of activities in the early 50's along with the annual weeks stay at the Council Scout Camp, which was then Camp Cabarrus. In those early years, these kinds of events were the exception, rather than the norm, for everyone involved, since times were just beginning to be good and all the things now available to youth were not available in those days nearly as much. The old Community Building served for 25 years as the weekly meeting 63 place for the Troop with no central heat or air conditioning, just as it did for all other of its many activities. In 1971 the Scouts raised $ 1,000.00 to put on repairs to this building. It was in this building that many basic disciplines and values were brought to bear on the lives of many of our young men and girls, both members and non members of our church. The Scouting program is of valuable assistance to the families. In 1967, Dana McManus, Mike Goodwin, Wayne King, and Eddy Howie along with Scoutmaster, Bill Howie began a memorable trip when they signed up to go, along with 33 other Union County Scouts, on a three week trip to the National 48,000 acre Scout Ranch at Cimmeron, New Mexico called Philmont. It was, while they were sleeping on the floor of a gym in Oklahoma, that the call came that a flood had hit the ranch doing enough damage that the time there was canceled. With 16 days left, the leaders made a decision to go to the Grand Canyon and other touring places. While at the canyon, the group hiked down to the bottom and camped for two nights experiencing the awesomeness of that place. From this adventure at the canyon and many other places visited and the events causing the trip to be changed, the National Scout office authorized a special patch to be given to those participating with no other copies ever to be issued. This is very rarely ever done in scouting. The troop, chartered in the early 40' s as Troop #68, was sponsored by our church until 1979 when a separate corporation was formed as sponsor until this day. Charles Bowden carried this program very actively for 12 years. Our church then began sponsoring a new program for Cubs, Webelos, Brownies, Boy and Girl Scouts. It is now Troop #18. Leaders through the years, from the beginning, are listed below as close as records show: Scoutmaster Assistants 1942 - 1947 Baxter Howie And others not remembered 1947 - 1950 George Rape Harry Doster (1947) Bill Howie (1951) 64 1952-1955 Bill Howie 1956-1957 Richard Steele Harry Doster Howard Newell Morrison Couick 1957-1962 Howard Newell 1963-1966 Bill Howie Bill Bryant Mike Smith, Don Robinson David A. Helms 1967 - 1970 Jim Starnes Don Robinson Charles Bowden 1 970 - 1 978 Charles Bowden Eddy Howie, Lonnie McGuirt, David E. Helms 1990-1994 JohnEaston Ken Turchi, Ken Newell, Pat Easton 1994-1995 Ken Turchi 1995 - present Daniel Binford Hank Linker, Al Howell, Keith Newell In Scouting, there are three areas of achievement for the scouts and leaders. The Order Of The Arrow is an award given in recognition of excellence in overall work as a Scout and/or Leader. Several of our Troop leaders have been recognized with this special award as well as a good number of the Scouts. Another specialized award is The God and Country Award. This award is given in recognition of over a years concentrated study and work. It recognizes the accomplishments of those who meet weekly for a year in a course of study and then much church and community service time is spent on special projects. The crowning achievement for the Scouts is the Eagle Award. This high point in a boys scouting work is achieved through a series of rank 65 advancement. These in order are: Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, 1st Class, Star, Life, then Eagle. As the Scouts advance through these ranks each step gets progressively harder until that day when the Scout is presented his Eagle Scout Badge. Harry Doster was Troop #68's first Eagle in 1943. Harry passed away while this history was being compiled. Since then some of those who have achieved this rank are: Page Winchester, Bill Bryant, George Rape Jr., Tom Smith, Mike Penegar, Jim Walkup, Hamp Howey, James Griffm, Kevin Ashley, Zan Tyson, Brian Easton, Nathan Binford, Jonathan Yow, Kevin Newell, and Michael Bigham. Each of the Eagle Scouts is required to originate a service project from planning, supervising, financial support, and working the project to its conclusion as one part of his advancement. Examples of these Eagle projects are: Refurbishing of the Memorial Garden, by Brian Easton; construction of patio and benches in Waxhaw, by Nathan Binford; construction of the church picnic shelter, by Jonathan Yow; and currently building a barbecue pit, by Bradley Fowler. Our latest scout leaders and some of their programs and accomplishments include: John Easton for the 1990 - 1994 with Ken Turchi, Keith Newell, and Pat Easton, much activity took place these years with three advancing to eagle. During these years the troop participated in many camporees and were consistently winning blue ribbons. Also, Scoutmaster Easton received Scoutmaster of the Year Award. Later, building on these experiences Ken Turchi also won the same award. Ken Turchi took the reins for a year in 1994 - 1995 with good activity. Then in the first of 1996, Daniel Binford became Scoutmaster and is presently serving in this important role. Continuing in the same spirit of positive and very active leadership, Daniel is leading the troop in a host of activities - participating in many different kinds of trips. One of the high lights of these trips was the one to the Amish Country and on to Philadelphia with all its historical places. 66 The United Methodist Men are the official sponsors of scouting while a nominal amount of financial support is a part of the Mens program, by far and large the Troops have been almost self supporting. The scouting program for girls has been organized a few times in the past (before 1990) with varying lengths of time of survival. Records of these times are hard to find, however, to those who served those areas of time appreciation is due. Records show they were active in 1971. Then in 1991, the group was reorganized with the following leaders: Daisy Scouts - Teresa Carey, Brownie Scouts - Susan Yow and Jerri Winkler, Junior Scouts - Paula McKinney and Robin Connelly. Now in 1997, there are two Brownie troops - (1) Tammy Davis (2) Deane Mabro, there are two Junior troops - (1) Dawn Roberson (2) Cindy Biggers, and there is one Cadet /Senior Troop - Susan Yow and Kim Winchester. Of the current members three have earned the Silver Award (the highest level in the Cadet level). These have been April Yow, Brenna McKinney, and Lisa Harlow. Apologies are made to both leaders and girls who were in the Troops before 1991 for not including them in this history. UNITED METHODIST MEN One more milestone in our churches history occurred in March 7, 1971. On that Sunday morning 18 men gathered in the fellowship hall for the purpose of forming an official United Methodist Mens Club. Rev. Marsden Kitley was instrumental in our becoming an official chartered Methodist Men Unit - although the men of the church had been meeting for breakfast for a number of years - but only as a local group with no ties to the National group. From this beginning grew one of the outstanding units in the Albermarle District. At his first meeting the following officers were elected; President - Mike Smith, Vice President - Lawrence Moser, Secretary - Marsden Kitley, Kitchen Coordinator - Wilburn Couick. 67 Significant to note that at this first meeting $250.00 was pledged for the construction of a Scout Building - a building which was never built. One pleasant memory of these first meetings was the fact that Wilburn Couick always brought fresh cooked biscuits to go with the ham, eggs, and grits. The ensuing 26 years have brought many good and positive things to the men - not only to our own members but to others who have been drawn to our fellowship. During these years and to accomplish our objectives we have experienced many good times and much involvement in the overall ministry of all Christians. A partial list of speakers for our club reveals the names of over 100 persons who have come to us and lead us during the past 10-12 years. We feel that this is a record of which we can be justly proud and a record not exceeded by any club anywhere. Among those who have come to lead us are those who represent many different ministries and programs - some of who are listed as follows: Don Wildmon - The National Director of American Family Association, George MacLean - National Director of the Mission Society for United Methodist, The Editor of our Christian Advocate, National Director of "Weekend for Winners", The Executive Director and others from JAARS, Director of National Foundation of Evangelism, The Man who walked across America, all our District Superintendents, Dr. George Hunter from Asbury Seminary, a minister from Africa, The Conference Director of Church Growth, the Conference Director of Ministries, a Cherokee Indian, Melvin Graham (Billy Graham's brother), President of District Methodist Men, Lay Witness Team Coordinators, representatives from Operation Reachout, Prison Ministries, Hospice, Turning Point, Drug/Alcohol Counselors, and a host of others coming to us with powerful testimonies. In addition to these kinds of speakers we are honored by musicians and occasionally have informative visitors. Through the years our unit has touched the lives of over 100 men and boys and at present our roll has 36 men, with an average of 21 attending the bi-monthly meetings. While our members have always and are still participating in the fuller life of the church, we also have initiated particular projects sponsored by our club. We initiated our semi-annual Barbecue and sponsored it for two years until the church took it over. During the time of our sponsorship of this 68 barbecue, we spent the funds raised on church projects and ministries, both local and outreaching efforts, just as our ladies have been doing with their bazaar funds for many years. Among our specific projects are - the lighted sign up by the road, the large screen video projector, a sound system, a Van cover, room signs, a sump
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|Title||Through the years, 1901-1997 : the story of Mineral Springs United Methodist Church, Mineral Springs, N.C.|
|Other Title||Story of Mineral Springs United Methodist Church, Mineral Springs, N.C.|
|Creator||Howie, Bill F.|
Mineral Springs United Methodist Church (Mineral Springs, N.C.)
Mineral Springs United Methodist Church (Mineral Springs, N.C.)--History
Greene County (N.C.)--Church history
Mineral Springs, Union County, North Carolina, United States
(1900-1929) North Carolina's industrial revolution and World War One
(1929-1945) Depression and World War Two
(1945-1989) Post War/Cold War period
(1954-1971) Civil Rights era
|Publisher||[Mineral Springs, N.C. : Mineral Springs United Methodist Church, 1997]|
|Rights||Religion in North Carolina see http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/ref/collection/p249901coll37/id/23786|
|Physical Characteristics||115 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.|
General Collection. State Library of North Carolina
|Digital Characteristics-A||7928 KB; 134 p.|
|Digital Collection||General Collection|
|Pres File Name-M||gen_religion_throughyears1997.pdf|
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TABLE OF CONTENTS!
Part I Our Story Pages 1 - 44
Part II Our Special Ministries Pages 45 - 89
Partlll Memories Pages 90-113
PartlV Conclusion Pages 114-115
Written and compiled by Bill Howie and Clara McDonald
Presented to the Church on Heritage Sunday November 16, 1997
The writing of history, in large part, is the bringing together an
accumulation of written records researched from many sources, verbal
accounts lodged in the memories of those who were and are a part of the
body and assembling these in a manner which tells the story.
The writing of this, a history of our church, is no different. Many
different sources were tapped to make one story ;is complete as is practical
and appreciation is expressed here to the following
- The individuals who thoughtfully preserved the written records for us
locally—some of whom are the church secretaries, the committee and board
secretaries, and the leaders of many special groups.
- Olive Howie who has labored so faithfully in preserving our story in
-To the stories and news items appearing ir the Monroe Enquirer and
The Monroe Journal.
- To the Waxhaw United Methodist Church "ecords.
- To the South Carolina Methodist Archives at Wofford College.
- To many of our members contributions for our memories section.
- To our present Pastor Jim Yow and many past ministers.
Then there is the much needed appreciation to those who have spent
many hours in typing, proofreading, editing, processing the pictures, and
assembling this book.
They are Diane and Mike White, Frances aid David Helms, Jim and
Susan Yow, without the dedicated efforts on their parts, and the endless
hours spent, this book could not have been published.
Cover by Marilyn Wooten.
This book is dedicated to the members of Mineral Springs United
Methodist Church, past, present, and future.
It is dedicated to those who have gone on before and who have given us
so rich a heritage those who have completed their pilgrimage in life and
who have moved from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant.
It is dedicated to a host of those yet living, who have labored to bring us
to where we are today.
It is dedicated to those who yet will follow in the earnest and prayerful
hope that they will carry the banner of Jesus Christ to yet still greater
And last, it is dedicated to our parents, Baxter and Leona Howie who
were a part of that great "Crowd of Witnesses" v/ho have preceded us and
who have left to us a legacy of an enduring faith.
CLODFELTER, BEN C.
MITRS, GLENN I. JR. TOW. JAMES L
Digitized by the Internet Archive
Born in the spirit of the old Camp Meetings at McWhorters, nurtured in
the love and care of Pleasant Grove, our mother church, established and
sustained by the affections and dedicated efforts of generations past
Mineral Springs United Methodist Church stands today as a beacon on a hill,
pointing the way to Jesus Christ to all who come within the sphere of its
continuing and expanding influence.
The story of our church does not have its beginning here in the village,
but rather on a deserted hilltop a few miles away.
It was there, at McWhorters Meeting House and Camp Meeting that
our roots were first planted, in 1787, as those hardy mostly Scotch Irish
immigrants established the Methodist faith for the first time in what is now
Credit for bringing Methodism, with its unrelenting zeal for the lost in the
early years to present day Union County rests upon the supreme dedication of
a band of men known as circuit riders.
Called by God and commissioned by Asbury, they went out in the face of
the post Revolution spiritual decline to fashion a new nation in the image of
God and to "spread scriptural holiness throughout the land".
They were appointed to circuits where, perhaps there wasn't a single
society (church) - just people without any organized religion. They preached
and lived wherever and whenever opportunity offered~in taverns, private
one room log homes, in town halls, poorhouses on the trail side, in barn-yards
and wood clearings. As a testament of the rigors of life faced by these
circuit riders, their average life span was 35 years.
Their instructions were "Go into every home in course and teach
everyone therein, young and old, to be Christians inwardly and outwardly-fix
it in their memory-write it on their hearts".
"In order to do this, there must be line upon line-precept on precept, what
patience, what love, what knowledge is requisite for this". Such was the
setting for the first circuit to be formed in this area.
It eventually was a circuit of 24 "preaching places" stretching from
Providence on the north side to just short of Camden on the south. Services
were held whenever the circuit rider and horse could arrive on the scene.
In the late 1700's, a great revival broke out all across America, known as
"The Second Great Awakening" and from this movement sprang The Camp
In these years, this area was still looked on as the frontier and was
settled mostly by hard living sturdy pioneers seeking a better life in remote
settings. It was into the lives of these people that the Camp Meeting fit
perfectly; providing two needed aspects of life, spiritual renewal and social
fulfillment. In those early years over 800 Camp Meetings flourished in
It has been said that this one movement played a major role in Americans
formation - one which bases our national image upon Christianity and its
influence upon our lives.
Between 1787, when McWhorters Meeting House was established, and
1 800, a Camp Meeting was formed there. This location served until 1 829
when, due to a failing water supply and a growing participation, a new
location was formed, which was Pleasant Grove, where two large springs
The Camp Meeting was begun here in 1 829 and soon thereafter a local
church was also formed; a church from which several of our present day
churches sprang. Here the spirit moved mightily and both the camp meeting
and the church grew, serving a large area of the county, serving many of our
present members ancestors for three or four generations.
Except for outside influence, in all probability, it is at Pleasant Grove that
we at Mineral Springs would still be worshipping.
As railroads have played a very significant part in the development of
much of our country, so did they play a part in the birth of the community to
become known as Mineral Springs. In 1888, the Georgia and Northern
Railroad came through the area, crossing the Potters Road. (Highway #75
was not constructed until the 1920's). As railroads were the main arteries of
transportation in those days, soon a thriving village, then known as Potters
Crossing, and later as Potters grew around this junction.
In addition to travel by railroad, most local movement of people and goods
was done by horseback, wagon, buggy, ox cart, or on foot. Due to the
distance from the village to Pleasant Grove, a devout group of citizens, many
of whom were Pleasant Grove members, decided to organize a Sunday
School here in 1898. W. W. Laney gave a lot and the people built a two
room meeting house. The meeting time was to be Sunday afternoon so as not
to interfere with Pleasant Groves worship times. This Sunday School met for
a time in a building located between our present church and Moser
Construction Company. It's Superintendent was C. M. Penegar. This is
noted in the Quarterly Conference Report of the Waxhaw Charge of 1898.
Early Sunday School in background
Present records reveal that Sunday School was reorganized on
July 27, 1901 with W.A. Howie as Superintendent and M.M. Winchester as
Secretary. This group then began meeting in a tenant house owned by
S.B. Stephenson located on a dirt street running parallel to the railroad and
about 1000 feet west of present day Potter Road crossing.
The name was known as Potters Sunday School. This site is now
considered as the birthplace of our church. On the opening Sunday there
were 34 persons present with four classes - three of which were led by
Mrs. Ella Porter, Mr. W.J. Armfield and Mrs. Armfield. Since most
attendees were still members of Pleasant Grove, this Sunday School met
in the afternoon.
On this opening day the scripture used was Genesis 12 1-9 "The Call
of Abraham''. The song sung was No. 182 "Bringing In The Sheaves'
the Young Peoples Hymnal. The record shows that the weather was clear
and warm. How appropriate the scripture that day for this new venture
was "Leave your land - Go into a new place and I will give it to you".
This School was not organized as Methodist although most of the
attendees were Methodist who were members at Pleasant Grove. It was
organized as a Union Sunday School, a part of The American Sunday School
This group in the 1800's was an evangelistic movement with much
power—just as was the Methodist movement. Their missionaries were
moving all across America with a singular aim of establishing new Sunday
Since ours was known as a Union Sunday School, and since the materials
used were Union Sunday School materials, and since the minutes of the
Waxhaw Circuit Quarterly Conference mention several times that we were
indeed a Union School, there is no doubt but that we were indeed a Union
School. Attendance records on hand reveal that interest was growing during
the next several years in seeing that this group survived and grew. A sample
of the original records for the year 1901 are shown below.
Record for SuNDAY,^*~Pj--4:±-i9-?J. '
Religious Services cmtdutftd by—.^ajLsti^irife ^—^^-+
Opening sanS dSj^^l—SCt^l^J^^i^Lj^f*^^^
Oficers and Teachers present ^£Jj- 1 ; absent , _ .' Offictrs prts
Scholars present. ^i3l£___ .- ahscnl
Scripture Lessen <^fc^K__Z.Z:—..„ >L— " Z__i5S=^l.^»*
Subject »/ i,».«.._ ^Z^sL.Sft»'J- ^45f^5ri= ,
School tirfdrtsssd . .-mrtnuu.r by. _. _ , _.—:.
Collection Wcathtr. j3£La