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History of First Wesleyan Church, Cherryville, N.C.

 

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The beginning of First Wesleyan Church in Cherryville dates back to 1907 when Rev. Zeb Grigg (and a Mr. Cobb) conducted revival services in an old frame building on Main Street about where Belk Store now stands. Services continued there until the congregation moved to another building owned by Mr. Henry Summit near the corner of East Main and Oak Street. During this time the congregation engaged in building their first building which was completed in 1910 on North Dixie Street.

In that same year, the congregation (then eighty five members strong) applied and was received into the North Carolina Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church which was assembled in Charlotte, N.C.

The most difficult years for the church seem to have come between 1916 and 1920 when declining membership and lack of a regular pastor almost stifled any hope for the church to survive. But in 1920, in the annual conference session, Rev. P. J. Parker, a godly minister who was noted for his strong faith and courageous spirit was assigned as pastor. Rev. Parker with his family moved into the old Gaston Mill Village where he also worked to support his family. Through the praying, preaching and community visitation of Rev. Parker, the church began to take on new life and to add new members.

Due to growth in the ensuing years, the congregation's next big project was the erection of a new facility which was started during the pastorate of Rev. R. A. Christenbury. However, Rev. Christenbury died before this building (containing a new sanctuary and three class rooms) was completed. As a result of his death the name of the church, located at the corner of Elm and West Second Streets, was changed to Christenbury Memorial.

About ten years later, during the pastorate of Rev. R. L. Phillips, a new parsonage was built on the grounds. Shortly thereafter, during the pastorate of Rev. M. C. Connor, a two story, eight room, educational building was erected.

In 1959 the sanctuary was remodeled, the choir loft relocated and new stained memorial windows, along with new carpet, was installed.

In 1963 a new parsonage was built during the pastorate of Rev. Donald A. Dawalt at the corner of Elm and West Church Street and the old parsonage was utilized for class rooms. Also, another building located across Second Street from the sanctuary was purchased for a fellowship center.

(In 1968 a merger with The Pilgrim Church was finalized and the name of the merged church was changed to The Wesleyan Church).

By 1974 the Sunday school and worship attendance dictated that another location and a larger facility were a must. As a result, 20 acres were purchased from Mr. Sid Carpenter for a cash price of $31,000.00. In 1977 a ground breaking ceremony was held and on September 17, 1978, our present facility was dedicated. Rev. J. W. Stiles was pastor during the purchase of the present property and the erection of the present building.

We are most grateful for the pastors and people who have preceded us. But we are equally grateful for all the wonderful people who presently are a part of our church and Sunday school family. And to God we lift our hearts in grateful praise for His past and continuing blessings.