Memorial United Methodist Church
Sunday, November 19, 2017
God's Love Grows Here!

Our History


   
The history of Memorial United Methodist Church began near the old village of Appomattox Court House. In the early days, Methodists worshiped at Old Herman located by the cemetery west of the North Carolina Monument. When Mt. Comfort was moved from near the Flood Farm and the Dean John's Estate to beyond the Oakville area, many members did not move with the church. Some of these members organized Old Herman, and records indicate that the church was active in 1875. In 1902 Old Herman was moved to a site near Piney Mountain.
 
The Court House in old Appomattox burned in 1892 and was rebuilt by the railroad, in the new village at its present location. This village was called West Appomattox. Memorial Church had its beginnings in a small group of Methodists and Presbyterians who first met as a union Sunday School in West Appomattox. Appomattox Memorial Methodist Church South was dedicated on the fourth Sunday in September 1899. It was built on a lot on what is now Church Street below the school dormitory building. The cost of the new building was eighteen hundred dollars.
 
During October 1937, work began on remodeling the one room church and the addition of a church school annex. The new building was consecrated April 10, 1938 and dedicated July 16, 1944.
 
In 1939, the Methodist Episcopal Church South became the Methodist Church; and on April 23, 1968, as a result of unification with the Evangelical United Brethren, became the United Methodist Church.
 
On September 7, 1958, a lot on Court Street, adjacent to the Court House, was purchased as a site for a more adequate building and parking space. The cost of the lot was sixteen thousand dollars. The building on Church Street was sold on March 13, 1960, to the Pentecostal Holiness Conference for twenty-five thousand dollars.
 
Appomattox Memorial Methodist Church was consecrated April 15, 1962. The Rev. Richard A. Bergdall was pastor at that time. The cost of construction was $156,429 dollars. At the time the church was dedicated on March 28, 1972, the pastor was Rev. Alfred L. Eastman.
 
In answer to an urgent need in the community, we opened Methodist Day Care in 1989, thanks to the inspiration and dedication of Charlene Lawson among others.  This has become one of our most important ministries of community outreach and is still going strong to this day.  Having 100 children and 2 dozen staff members in the building 5 days a week, 12 hours each day, greatly changed the way we utilized our physical spaces.  Shortly after celebrating our 100th anniversary on September 26, 1999, a long-range planning committee was formed.  In 2000, they determined that we needed a multi-purpose addition.  Ten years and many committee meetings later, the building committee presented a plan to the Church Conference, fundraising began in the spring of 2011, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 16, 2011.  On August 26, 2012, we held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of Legacy Hall, a 1.7 million dollar multi-purpose facility, completing Phase 1 of a 3-phase 3 million dollar project.  This building is transforming our ministries at MUMC!
 
Phase II of our building project, dubbed “The Connector”, was completed in 2015. It literally connects our old building to the new building and provides additional classroom and office space as well as an elevator – all of which helps us connect better with our church family and community.
 
Since 1957 the following pastors have served the church: Richard A. Bergdall, 1957-1963; Forrest S. Wagoner, 1963-1969; Alfred L Eastman, 1969-1972; Henry E. Riley, 1972-1976; P. Edward Leonard, 1976-1982; Otis Worley, 1982-1986; Joseph L. Lotts, 1986-1994; Douglas Gilfillan, 1994-2002; R. Bruce Johnson, 2002-2010; and Russell Cheatham, 2010-Present.