A BRIEF HISTORY OF MADISON UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
by Rev. Mark Muckler (edited and updated by Sheryl Eaves)
by Rev. Mark Muckler (edited and updated by Sheryl Eaves)
- As early as the year 1818, visiting circuit preachers brought forth the Gospel to this area.
- Prior to the establishment of the Madison Methodist Church the only established Methodist churches in the area included;
Wesley Chapel, several miles northeast of town, and the Bethesda Church, organized in 1835 just over the Stokes County line.
- Tradition says that the Madison Methodist Church was most likely organized out of a series of revivals in the early 1840’s at the time that revivalist preacher by the name of Rev. John Rich was the minister of the Rockingham County churches.
- On January 9th, 1843 Randal Duke Scales, the Father of the Town of Madison sold town lot 82 containing one-half acre on Academy street to the trustees of what was then the Madison Methodist Episcopal Church. And by April of 1844 the construction of a new sanctuary was completed. It included a separate entrance for slaves, and two separate front doors, one for men and one for women.
- The first General Conference for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South was held in 1846 at which time the division made between the northern and southern churches in 1845 was finalized.
- Between the 1840’s and 1850’s, frequent flooding of the Dan River and the subsequent outbreak of disease placed a severe strain upon the town and it’s church memberships, yet the faithful disciples of Christ continued to meet regularly for prayer and worship.
- In 1850, the annual conference changed the name of the Rockingham circuit to the Wentworth circuit and was placed in the Greensboro district of the conference, shuffling the structure in which clergy served.
- By 1861, the Wentworth Circuit had grown so much that at the annual conference of that year, the Madison circuit was established where clergy would serve in a growing community.
- By the 1870’s, the emancipation of the slaves now allowed blacks to organize their own congregations, white congregations were being organized throughout the county, and a number of well-established congregations constructed new sanctuaries in the late-Victorian style. Thus the Madison church would be affected by all of this. At the 1872 annual conference, Rev. Reid reported that the Madison circuit had 411 white members and 26 “colored” members.
- By 1874, there were 6 churches on the Madison circuit: Madison, Leaksville, Bethesda, Mt. Hermon, Wesley Chapel, and Mt. Zion.
- Sometime in the mid 1880’s the dividing rail that separated the men from the women was removed and ladies who entered the church at the men’s door could now sit with their husbands.
- During the 1880’s and 1890’s the Madison church was growing and developing into what was called a “town church”. And in 1889, the Madison church hosted the Greensboro district conference with a number of clergy and laity in attendance.
- In the year 1897, while Rev. Paris was in his first year of appointment, a parsonage was under construction and was finally erected on Academy street next door to the church and on the original 1843 lot in June of 1898.
- In 1900 circuit membership grew from 581 to 702 in just one year, due in part to the new textile village located a couple miles north of Madison.
- In 1902 the “Sunday School Missionary Society” was formed primarily centered around missions work
- In February of 1907, a building committee was appointed to begin laying the ground work for a new church in Madison. And during that same year, the prohibition campaign split the congregation into two camps “the wets” and the “drys”.... Nevertheless the break within the congregation healed and the church continued on its course, which would include a new church and faithful clergy and laity to lead the church in the coming century.
- In 1908, the Madison circuit was realigned to a two point charge including the Madison & Mayodan churches.
- In May of 1909 the quarterly conference approved the need for a new church at the cost of approximately $5000 and held it’s first service on December 12th later that year.
- In April of 1910, the Woman’s Home Missionary Society was formed.
- In 1920, the Madison Church appointed it’s first women to official positions. Ms Pickett and Ms Vaughn were elected to the position of church stewards.
- In 1924, the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (the black church) convened at the Madison Church testifying to the advancement made by their congregation which was then organized as St. Stephen Methodist Episcopal church.
- In that same year, 1924, the Madison Church had become a station church with it’s own pastor and finished out the year with a membership roll of 208, and 123 in Sunday school membership, and the pastor’s salary at $1800 a year.
- In the late 1920’s, under the leadership of Rev. Wolfe, the two societies for women; the Women’s Missionary Society and the Ladies Aid Society were combined in an effort to bring unity among the women and later became the Woman’s Society of Christian Service and today known as the United Methodist Women.
- In the 1930’s the Madison Messenger began, serving as a means to chronicle the history of the congregation to a large degree. Rev Laughlin headed up a movement to reorganize the Madison Boy Scouts. And in 1939, the The Methodist Episcopal Church South, the Methodist Episcopal Church North, and the Methodist Protestant Church in the US, all united to form the Methodist Church in America.
- In the 1940’s, Rev. Jones organized a union church service for the community of Madison entitled “Bundles for Britain”, which netted commendable proceeds to benefit needy families in war-torn England during the time of WWII. This service brought warm feelings inter-denominationally to the community. And in the late 40’s, the congregants of the Methodist Church in Dan Valley joined their membership with the Madison Church. And under the leadership of Rev. Bangle, the Madison church saw tremendous growth with a membership of 267, and a church budget of $3293. The women’s Society reported 66 members, and by 1949, the church had purchased it’s first electric organ.
- In the 1950’s, the Madison Men’s Club was organized under the leadership of President Charles Sutherland. The Madison Youth Fellowship had grown to 35 young people and plans for an educational building were under way and by 1954 was completed and ready for use. And by 1958, plans to build a new parsonage for the pastor and his family were under way.
- In the 1960’s, Rev. Edwards and his family moved into the new brick parsonage. After seeing much growth, the church decided to add onto to the already existing educational building, as well as take on a building project to establish a new church start in India.
- And by 1968, the black and white conferences of the Methodist Church in America and the Evangelical United Brethren Church all merged to form what we know today as the “United Methodist Church”
- In the 1970’s, the congregation’s music ministry continued to be an integral part of the Church, and hand-bells were purchased as a vital part of the music ministry at Madison. A series of Cottage Prayer Meetings held in various members homes strengthened the already strong moral fiber of the church.
- Rev. Donald Beaty served as the church’s pastor from 1974 - 1977.
- The United Methodist Men and Women initiated plans to renovate the church kitchen. And by 1979, there was a softball and basketball team that had been organized.
- Rev. Mark Wimmer served as the church’s pastor from 1978 – 1981.
- The 1970’s closed out with a member of just over 400 and averaging 130 in Sunday morning attendance.
- In the 1980’s, church membership had reached 415, the first pictorial directory was printed, and a new class for college students was formed.
- Rev. Roy H. Lockridge Jr. served as the church’s pastor from 1982-1985.
- A church “Playschool” was started during the 1982/83 academic year and Brownies and Girl Scouts were meeting regularly by 1983. The youth were supporting Hispanic Migrant children in the area, needy families in the area, raised funds for the Ethiopia Hunger Drive, and were singing Christmas carols annually to the shut-ins in our church and community. The Methodist Men were holding their annual garage sale, the Brunswick Stew, and had sponsored the Sweetheart Banquet. Vacation Bible School was now reaching 77 children and their families. Sunday School had reached an average of 112 persons in 1985. And the popular “Disciple Bible Study Program” was in full swing in the life of the church.
- Rev. Richard B Jarrett served as pastor from 1986 – 1992.
- By 1989, the church was in conversation with the conference about purchasing the Martin home next door to make room for a much needed parking lot. The 1980’s closed out with a membership of 456, and a Sunday morning attendance averaging 165,
- in the 1990’s - Under the leadership and vision of Rev. Donald George the “Hands of God” ministry began with a purpose of helping to meet the needs of those in our community with food and financial assistance, and continues to this day. In 1994, the church saw it’s greatest average attendance on Sunday morning reaching 190 people. Approaching 1994, the church became committed to the acquisition of a Christian education director and hired a new employee Began a new children’s choir with 15 children.
- Rev. Donald F. George served as pastor of the congregation from 1993 – 1996.
- By 1997, Madison United Methodist Church saw it’s greatest membership totaling 505 that year. In 1999, the church gave over $7,000 to Hurricane Floyd Relief, and sent three youth to Mexico on a mission trip. By the end of the 1990’s, membership had reached close to 450 and an average attendance of 170.
- Rev. B.W. Curry served as pastor of the congregation from 1997-2001.
- In the 2000’s the church began work with a parish nurse and a Health Cabinet in an effort to minister to an aging congregation. In 2001, the United Methodist Men began making peanuts and since then have sold over $200k in peanuts, profiting over half that to benefit varying ministries in our community. The church hired a paid nursery attendant during worship. The preschool officially came under the umbrella of Madison UMC as a ministry of the church in 2007. We moved into our new education wing and fellowship hall.
- In the 2010’s the worship committee and administrative board approved a vision to reach out to a younger generation by offering a contemporary worship service we know as the “IGNITE” service. We also started a second traditional worship service at 8:30am on Sunday mornings in September of 2011. Meals of Hope started in 2012.
- Rev. Dan Ramsey served as pastor of the congregation from 2002 – to the summer of 2013.
- In the early fall of 2013, the church purchased two properties behind the church in an effort to continue to BE the church here in our community, and will soon become a missional outreach center for Western Rockingham county including the ministries of; The Hands of God – a cooperative ecumenical ministry of 28 churches in the area, again providing food and financial assistance to those in need. The Rockingham West Missional Network of a cooperative ministry of 17 United Methodist Churches in the area providing backpacks of food for close to 100 kids at Huntsville Elementary School and Madison UMC’s Mission Team Ministries . . . In 2014 the worship service called IGNITE celebrated one year of the Sunday night contemporary service and by the Lenten season of 2015, transitioned to a more “family-friendly” contemporary service on Sunday mornings in the fellowship hall with a big screen, round tables, and a full praise team, all in an effort to reach out to the next generation . . . Also in 2014, the Church modeled what it means to encourage seminary students to explore their call in pastoral ministry as disciples of Christ by hosting a summer intern from Duke Divinity School.
- Summer of 2013 - Rev. Mark Muckler, until June 28th, 2015.
- July 2015 - Welcome Rev. Chuck Halipilias!
- July 2020 - Welcome Rev. Tracy Schumpert!
For nearly 200 years, God has called faithful men and women to serve as His Disciples to accomplish the work, which God has set before them . . .
Artwork Adds Comfort