GRANITE FALLS, NC (April 15, 2017)…After being closed and seized by the Western N.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church due to low attendance, dwindling membership and financial hardship in the summer of 2016 as regulations allowed, Burgess Chapel has undergone a rebirth. This past Easter Sunday there was a special sunrise service held at the Burgess Chapel Church to commemorate its rebirth and revival.
When the church was closed, the congregation was devastated and went on to worship at other sites but never lost faith! But, it seemed that God had a plan…
The Western N.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church placed the church property for sale but were unsuccessful in selling it which was a blessing in disguise for the community.
The church sat empty for nearly 10 months until a very special anonymous person purchased the property on behalf of the community and former congregation of Burgess Chapel.
Burgess Chapel Church is now under the very capable hands of former members and other individuals from the Granite Falls community. This group with the assistance of the anonymous owner of the property has formed the Burgess Chapel Church Foundation. While there will be no regular/traditional Sunday Services, the church be hosting events such as special worship, music concerts, children’s program, family activities and more. Some of the former members may even begin a Sunday School Class.
On Saturday, April 15th, 2017 many former members and friends spent the day cleaning the church in preparation for the special Easter Sunrise Service.
“The heart of Burgess Chapel Church when it was built in the 1930’s was love of God, desire to bring others into relationship with their Lord, and growing His Kingdom on earth. That desire remains in the hearts of those who have reorganized to regain the church and have incorporated to open the BCC Foundation.” BCC Foundation
Burgess Chapel Church was originally named First Methodist Colored Church. The land was deeded by the Abernathy family on November 26, 1938 and recorded with the Register of Deeds by Mr. Sam Howard, Chairman and Trustee of the church board on February 13, 1939 as “First Methodist Colored Church.”
Many of the early families to settle in the Burgess Chapel community came from South Carolina for opportunities and jobs.
The BCC Foundation seeks to re-purpose the church property a symbol of historical significance, cultural community, worship unity, and service to others. They also have a particular interest in the welfare of children and senior citizens.
“Our hope is to offer worship in community, unified regardless of denomination or other tag that can divide us.” BCC Foundation
The BCC Foundation board of directors are as follows:
Maurice Isbell, Jr. – President
Kathy Carrol – Vice President
Monica Ferguson – Secretary
Karen Isbell – Treasure
Chief Ritch Bolick
Dr. Bob Evans
Lee Ann Luman
Judge Bob Brady
If you would be interested in contacting the BCC Foundation, here is their contact info:
828-781-2763 or BurgessChapelChurchFoundation@gmail.com.
The new Burgess Chapel Church Foundation is located at 5 Cherry Street in Granite Falls, North Carolina.
The Burgess Chapel Church Foundation invites their friends and community to support its efforts.
“I need to thank Lee Ann Luman for inviting me to the church to meet and talk to all of the fantastic people that were working hard to ready the church for its Easter Sunday Service. It was heartwarming to see these people back at their home church. I actually felt right at home, as we sat in the sanctuary talking about the history of the church, the closing of the church and the rebirth of the church. One thing is for sure, you won’t find a more faithful, loving and friendlier community than this one. And, to the “anonymous person”…you are truly a blessing!” Mark Jackson (Caldwell Journal)
A Brief History of Burgess Chapel (United Methodist) Church of Granite Falls
Since its beginning, some 78 years ago in 1938, Burgess Chapel operated solely in the small southern Caldwell County town of Granite Falls, NC.
Many of the early members lived in an area called “Bum Town Road”, a small section of town for “colored people” who worked the local farming fields of corn and cotton. Several of these early families also farmed for themselves as a means of providing for their families. Other members held jobs cleaning houses, cooking, washing, ironing clothes and caring for the children the white families.
A small wooden school building, which also served dual duty as a church, is where the children of about ten families met for regular school. These children, taught by a single teacher, attended this school until about the seventh grade. Then in later years, students completed their education to grade twelve in nearby Lenoir, NC. The building’s church duties included Sunday school, bi-monthly church services and weekly prayer meetings. From inception, the church has primarily followed the “Methodist” doctrine.
The land to build a more permanent church was donated by Granite Falls residents Dr. AD and Marie Abernathy. The land was deeded by the Abernathy family on November 26, 1938 and recorded with the Register of Deeds by Mr. Sam Howard, Chairman and Trustee of the church board on February 13, 1939 as “First Methodist Colored Church”.
Several years later, the church was renamed “Burgess Chapel Church” in honor of Reverend B.L. Burge for his many years of service to the church. Some time later, the church name was again changed to Burgess Chapel United Methodist Church signifying its connection to the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church.
The following eleven pastors have served Burgess Chapel over the past 78 Years:
1. Rev. C Jenkins
2. Rev JD Ashford
3. Rev BL Burge
4. Rev. AW Stowe
5. Rev. H Smith
6. Rev. Glenn L Lyles
7. Rev. Emory Powell
8. Rev. Jerry Reid
9. Pastor L’Tanya Perry
10. Pastor Lisa Moore
11. Pastor Darlene Stokes
Some of the early families to live in the Burgess Chapel Community:
Sam & Hazelene Howard
Henry & Carrie Tucker
Charlie & Florence Patterson
Greene & Bessie Dixon
Ms. Daisy Glass
Jim & Harriett Reid
Shelly & Mattie June
Nick & Millie Rosenburg
Many of the early families to settle in the Burgess Chapel community came from South Carolina for opportunities and jobs. Many more families have come and gone.
On July 17, 2016, due to low attendance, dwindling membership and financial hardship, Burgess Chapel United Methodist Church was closed by the Western Conference of The United Methodist Church.
History courtesy of David Patterson.