GALAX — Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church’s 1968 Consecration Service bulletin summed up the congregation’s approach which fuels its ongoing mission – “With an appreciation of the past, a dedication to the present and a vision for the future – all in the service of God and man.”
The Church has announced a “Jubilee Consecration Service” marking the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the “new” building.
According to Pastor Terri Johnson-Gregory; Eagle Scout Candidate and Youth Council President Lane Snow; long-time Church member Charlie “C.G.” Akers; former church treasurer Ina Delp; Brenda Higgins Worrell and Nancy Spicer, it is a celebration for the community as well as the Church (Worrell and Spicer are long-time members who served as youth on the Church Board when it moved to the new building).
The Consecration Service will be held September 16 at 10:30 a.m. in Galax at 6926 Carollton Pike. All past members of the Mt. Olivet Choir are invited to join the choir to sing. There will also be a special recognition of original Church administrative board members.
Spicer currently serves as the Church Historian. Snow and Akers are working together to make a time capsule for this as part of Lane’s Eagle Scout Project. When the group talks about Church history, much centers on memories rather than dates.
“I was four when we moved to Cranberry Road,” Brenda Higgins Worrell said. “Cranberry Road is beside the old Mt. Olivet Church.”
Worrell and Spicer said they served on Council because they were both Youth Group presidents, and at the time weren’t aware of the financial challenges or commitment of the congregation. Worrell said she later found documents her mother had kept which tracked donations by the youth. Most were a quarter or fifty cents a week and noted right along in the ledger with adults. The large cross which hangs in the chapel was built by Akers.
“Before we even had the wall up we knew we wanted a cross. I asked how big did they want it. I had never built one before,” said Akers. “An Engineer from Haynes came over here and gave us a drawing. It was about three or four foot tall. I went to Building Supply and bought the wood it is made of. A two-by-six by 12 or 14-foot long. It’s fir. At that time I was building it at my house in the den. Well, I didn’t know how far down to put the crosspiece from the top or nothing. I cut it out and put it together. I taped it. It looked too big. So I laid down on it and hollered for my wife to come in and I asked her if it looked about right. I didn’t think a little, four-foot cross would look right on that big wall.”
Aker’s woodworking skills will also be called upon again as he helps Snow with his Eagle Scout project. The two plan on making a time capsule to mark the occasion. Johnson-Gregory said a cabinet will be built to house the capsule in the Church vestibule.
“We are going to ask the church for pictures, letters or whatever they want to go in it,” said Johnson-Gregory. “It truly is not just something for folks within the four walls, the Church family. We feel the community is our extended family.”
The proposed capsule made of a composite material will be 16.5 inches tall, 16-inches in diameter with an 11-inch opening at the mouth of the 24-bound vessel.
Reverend Bill Kilday, who served as pastor at the first dedication, will be speaking on September 16. District Superintendent Kim Goddard is slated to say a few words. Johnson-Gregory said one of the things Goddard will do is a service of “passing of the mantle” to her and she will pass this to Snow.
Music for the celebration will also be special, featuring “old” hymns done “in house” with performers from the church. Artist Williard Gayheart, who did the program’s illustration featured on the consecration service invitations, his son-in-law, Scott Freeman, his daughter Dori Freeman and her husband Nick Falk, will do special music. Dori’s daughter, four-year-old Oca, will be singing also, making four generations of the Gayheart family performing that Sunday.
“This church has grown. It’s expanded physically into the community,” said Johnson-Gregory.
The Consecration Service will be followed by a covered dish meal. Organizers request participants RSVP by September 9. More information may be obtained by calling 276-236-4607.
According to information supplied by Jubilee organizers, ground was broken in September 1967 for the current Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church building. Reverend William Kilday served as pastor and Reverend William Steele was District Superintendent. In 1986 the building was completed. The doors of the new building opened on September 15, 1968 for worship with 130 members. Bishop L. Scott Allen held the first service in the new church. His text was “So Solomon Built the House and Furnished it.”
In July 1982 the faithful celebrated at the Homecoming Service with a note representing $100,000 of indebtedness being burned. In 1981 $31,282.36 was received from the Willie Lowe estate and used to construct four new Sunday School rooms dedicated to the memory of Ms. Willie Lowe. In 1994, the United Methodist Men group finished a picnic shelter and sidewalk leading from the Church to the picnic shelter.
Mt. Olivet’s earlier building construction began in 1923 and a dedication for it was held in the Spring of 1924 with Reverent F.J. Eskridge presiding. The lot was donated by Troy Jones and Lee Faddis in the Cranberry section of Carroll. Reverend E.G. Frye was the first pastor and the church was in the Blue Ridge Circuit of the Conference. In 1923, Mt. Olivet became one of five in the Woodlawn Circuit and became part of the Gladeville-Mt. Olivet Charge in 1965.
On July 10, 1966 the Quarterly Conference of the Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church met and voted to relocate on three acres two miles east of Galax on Highway 58 in Midway Heights. It was purchased for $10,000 by the Holston Conference Board of Missions.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave