Church History

History of Our Church

Available records indicate that Austinville United Methodist Church was organized at Chestnut Grove by the Rev. S. T. Slaton in the year 1898. At this time Austinville was a small community of scattered homes and its people were mostly farmers or railroad employees.


The Methodist and Baptist congregations used the same log building located where the present Austinville Baptist Church now stands. This building was also used as a school and for other community meetings. This building was destroyed by fire in 1904 and the Methodists built a one room church on the back of the present site. The pews from the Chestnut Grove Church were brought to Austinville and placed in the new church.


The Rev. J. E. Chappell was the pastor at this time and it was during his pastorate that the first parsonage was built. This house was constructed by W. A. Mays, who was a local preacher in Austinville Methodist Church and entered the conference from this church in 1907.


By 1915, the church had grown and it was necessary to build again. During the pastorate of the Rev. Will Hamby, the front of the church was torn away and a new church was built with the old church used as  Sunday School rooms. Bro. Hamby often referred to this church as being built on faith, since there was no money with which to build. Mr. F. B. Roberts and Mr. S. O. Stovall applied for mortgages to their homes in order to get money for building materials. Most of the work was donated by the men of the community since the L & N Railway shops were shut down two days a week. On these two days, the women prepared meals and served them at noon. Bishop McCoy dedicated the new building.


About this time Austinville Methodist became a station church and there were services each Sunday morning and evening. Prayer meeting was on Thursdays.


In 1946, during the Rev. F. M. Weston's pastorate, the present building was begun. In 1958, the sanctuary was redecorated and the modern brick parsonage was purchased.


After years of planning, the new education building was opened in 1977, during the pastorate of the Rev. B. J. Carter. The last payment on this building was made in early 1987.


Austinville United Methodist Church is still a "church of faith", a group of believers who believe that without God we can do nothing, but with God there is no limit to our potential abilities.


History of the UMC

On April 23, 1968, The United Methodist Church was created when Bishop Reuben H. Mueller, representing The Evangelical United Brethren Church, and Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke of The Methodist Church joined hands at the constituting General Conference in Dallas, Texas. With the words, "Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church," the new denomination was given birth by two churches that had distinguished histories and influential ministries in various parts of the world.


Theological traditions steeped in the Protestant Reformation and Wesleyanism, similar ecclesiastical structures, and relationships that dated back almost two hundred years facilitated the union. In the Evangelical United Brethren heritage, for example, Philip William Otterbein, the principal founder of the United Brethren in Christ, assisted in the ordination of Francis Asbury to the superintendency of American Methodist work. Jacob Albright, through whose religious experience and leadership the Evangelical Association was begun, was nurtured in a Methodist class meeting following his conversion.



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