FUMC of Pilot Mountain consists of a good mix of young couples with children, middle age and older adults. The church is open and ready to receive those to wish to worship with us. We encourage all that come to be involved in various aspects of the church life. We really encourage our congregation to be involved in the outreach ministries for our communities. We feel every member has a responsibility to usher in the kingdom and promote Jesus Christ in our town, our state and our world.
Over 150 members worship today in the First United Methodist Church of Pilot Mountain. This is a long way from the beginnings when only a handful of people believing in Methodism met and worshipped. The local church’s roots go back to pre-Civil War days, when Father James Needham rode his horse from hamlet to hamlet ministering and preaching to the area’s settlers.
In 1890, a Methodist related school named Trinity Academy opened its doors in Pilot Mountain to students. The school was the vision of a circuit rider, Hardin Atkins, and was founded by Trinity College (now Duke University).
The Academy building provided a meeting place for worship and visiting Methodist ministers would hold services there. About 1897, a small Methodist congregation was established under the leadership of Reverend T.H. Pegram.
Among the charter members were Mrs. R.E.L. Flippin, Mr. and Mrs. John Green, Mr. Buck Cox, Mr. and Mrs. Wiley Wrike, Mrs. Nancy Gordon and Mrs. Martha Green.
Father Needham visited the Academy and preached the last sermon of his life on March 12, 1899. He was 99 years old.
The small congregation undertook to build its own church building in 1899 under the leadership of Reverend J.P. Rogers. It was completed in 1900 when Reverend A.J. Coburn was pastor. Hardin Atkins returned to preach the dedicatory sermon.
This small, white framed building, located on Stephen Street, was home for the Methodist for 48 years.
In 1946, under the leadership of Reverend Courtney Ross, a young adult group was organized. Mrs. O.W. Smith was the first president. Joined by older members of the congregation, the young adults began raising funds for a new church building to replace the outmoded, inadequate frame structure.
After losing their home to fire, the Gordon family donated their home site near the corner of Key and Marion Streets for a church building. Other adjacent properties were acquired.
In 1947, Reverend L.P. Barnett, a man with “expertise in building churches” was assigned to Pilot Mountain, and on May 22, 1949, the new brick structure of modified Gothic design was dedicated by Bishop Costen J. Harrell. A new parsonage was also constructed and dedicated before Reverend Barnett left in 1953.
In the 1960’s Reverend Henry Ridenhour served as pastor for more than eight years. He is especially remembered for his work with youth and his community service.
In 1971 a steeple was added to the church.
Extensive renovations and the addition of a canopy were completed in 1983 under the leadership of Reverend Jody Seymour who was instrumental in helping form another group of active young adult leaders.
Reverend Jim Boles served the longest pastorate with (13 years) service. Under his guidance, the church grew significantly. A pipe organ was installed and hand bell choirs were begun. Over 70 members completed the year long Disciple Bible Study.
In 1993 the parsonage was moved to the former home of Ruth Ridenhour on Golf Course Road as a result of her generous donation. The former parsonage was sold.
A large Family Life Center was added to the facility in 1998-1999. Dedication of the new building was March 22, 1999. Since that time, additional property has been acquired with plans to build an Educational Building in the near future.
Each week over 25 events take place at this church, ranging from Pre-School five days a week to AA, Community Dinners and other community events. Ongoing programs of Bible Study, United Methodist Men and United Methodist Women, Young Life, and Scouts are taking place.
The church continues to grow with many young couples and children joining the many families who have spent their lives worshipping here.