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History of Grace United Methodist Church

 
 

It all started when...

In 1892, the Parksley Mission was established while Dr. J.E.T. Ewell was pastor.  The land for the first Parksley Church was purchased from the Parksley Land Improvement Company for $500. 

•1894, The Ladies Aid Society was founded.  There were thirty-six members, half were men.

•The minutes of the Quarterly Conference of the Parksley church for 1892 to 1895 were burned in the great fire in Parksley on June 3, 1896.

•At the Annual Conference in 1900, Parksley and Hunting Creek were set off as an appointment known as Parksley Charge and the Reverend W. B. Judefind was appointed pastor.  Hunting Creek went back with the mother church about 1917 and was reunited with Parksley again in 1938.

•The Parsonage was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Mason in March 1904.

•On February 26,1908, the first Usher’s Union was organized.

•On October 30, 1909, not only the membership but the whole town was saddened as they stood and watched the little frame church burn to the ground.

•On November 1, 1909, a membership meeting was held in Hopkins Hall and a building committee was appointed.  Hopkins Hall was used for services while the new church was being built. 

•At a membership meeting March 6, 1910, it was decided to name the Parksley Church “Grace Methodist Protestant Church of Parksley Virginia.”  Hunting Creek was named “Calvary.”

•The corner stone of Grace church was laid on Thursday, October 13, 1910 with Masonic ceremony.

•The minutes of the Quarterly Conference of March 11, 1911 reported that a letter had been received from Andrew Carnegie, through his secretary, stating he would donate the last half of the cost of a $1,250 pipe organ provided the church raised the first half.  The funds were raised and the first pipe organ on the Eastern Shore was installed.

•The new church building was completed at a cost of about $17,250 and opened June 11, 1911. 

•The church was paid for and dedicated during the pastorate of Rev. H. B. Jester (1918-1920).

•In 1931, the Ushers Union, which had become inactive due to World War I, was reorganized.  It continued until 1956 when it was changed to “Methodist Men.”

•In 1939, the Ladies Aid Society became the Women’s Society of Christian Service.

•At a Quarterly conference in May 1954, Reverend Nathaniel  Davis reported that a new Education Building was being planned.  It was completed and occupied the first Sunday in October, 1955.  The total cost of the building, completely equipped, was $87,389.50.  By the fall of 1958 the debt was liquidated and on October 26, 1958 the note was burned at the morning service. 

•While Reverend Earl Fike was pastor, the parsonage burned on September 7, 1958.  The new parsonage was built at a cost of nearly $30,000 and occupied in the summer of 1959.

•On November 19, 1967, the 75th Anniversary was celebrated with Murray Unruh as pastor.

•On April 23, 1968, The United Methodist Church was created with a merger between the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church.

•On May 15, 1974 a Church Conference was conducted at which a resolution was passed to construct a new sanctuary.   It had been found that the walls of the original church building were unsafe and that there was not a satisfactory way to make repairs.   The last service was held in the old building on August 17, 1975.

•December 12, 1976, the new sanctuary was dedicated by Bishop Kenneth Goodson.  Reverend Don Truitt was pastor and Reverend Joseph White was District Superintendent.

•In 1993, Grace United Methodist Church became the singular church in the Grace Charge.

•In 1993, Reverend O. H. Burton started the Chapel Service at 9 a.m. on Sundays.

•A Disaster Relief Trailer was purchased in 2000 to be used to travel where needed in different areas of the country which had experienced a disaster.

•At a cost of over $48,000 the floor, ceiling,  and kitchen of LeeMont Hall were completely renovated in 2004.  Due to natural springs under the building, the floor would routinely flood following a heavy rain.  The problem was corrected, the ceiling was lowered, and the kitchen equipment was completely replaced.

•In the summer of 2010, Grace published “Say Grace” a cookbook which contained hundreds of recipes from members and friends.  It also included a reproduction of Parksley’s Favorite Recipes, a 1952 cookbook previously published by the church.  Eleven hundred cookbooks were received and it sold out within 3 months. 

•In the spring of 2012, Grace began a major renovation of the facility called Grooming Grace for Growth.  New carpet, fresh paint, enhanced lighting, updated furnishings, and reassigning rooms and offices for more efficient use of heating and air conditioning systems were part of the project.  Work was completed at the parsonage including the installation of a privacy fence in the back yard; a complete redo of plumbing under the house; vinyl trim on the exterior; updated porch columns, railings and gutters. A portico was built with new stairs going into the upper level of the Education Building and the lower level of LeeMont Hall.  After extensive construction within the existing walls of the building, an elevator/lift was installed and came into use in March of 2014. The project was financed through funds raised during a Capital Campaign and no long term debt was incurred.  Over $200,000 was raised for the project.

•Dedication of the Grooming Grace for Growth renovation project was Sunday, March 30, 2014, by the Reverend Donald A. Jamison and the Reverend Tammy Estep, Eastern Shore District Superintendent.