WOODLAWN — “The Short Chimney Church” (Woodlawn United Methodist Church) looks to celebrate its 150th Anniversary on September 23. A special service will be held at the church at 11 a.m. with a lunch afterward in the picnic shelter. Sunday School is set to begin at 9:45 a.m. with a group picture opportunity scheduled for noon. The Church is located at 748 Woodlawn Road.
“Over the past 32 years as a member of Woodlawn United Methodist Church, I have made many precious memories. I remember the many Vacation Bible Schools with fellow classmates as we would line up on the sidewalk and go on our VBS parades around the outside of the church, as our leaders spiritually fed our growing and developing hearts and minds. I recall church members such as Alma Marshall, June Nichols, Faye Welsh, Bonnie Russell, and so many more led our VBS classes or our Sunday school classes as a young child,” said Church member Lauren Gunnell-Beck. “I have watched as many pastors passed through as Methodist traditions go and shape and mold our church charge, and I have wept when some of those same pastors gained entrance into Heaven’s golden gates. My most precious memories as an adult was saying my ‘I do’s’ with my husband (Scott) and the dedication of our children in front of those same members who led me to Christ when I was 12 years old. Today this church means more to me than just a building, a pastor, and a congregation. It is my family, and one of the reasons we still travel from High Point to very often ‘come home’ every Sunday.”
According to information supplied by the Congregation attributed to J. W. Morris, the first parsonage at Woodlawn was built near the present dormitory. A Reverend Wolfe, who served in 1876, lived in this building. (It was later sold and eventually was destroyed by fire.)
In 1926, Woodlawn was cut off as an independent circuit and the new parsonage was built by Morris and donated labor in 1933. The plot was donated by Anna and Florence Dobyns with $1,600 in cash raised. The parsonage reportedly cost $1,430. The deed is filed with the Woodlawn Charge’s Quarterly Conference records.
The deed to the church was made to the M.E. Church by Elbert S. Fulton and wife, dated May 4, 1868 and is recorded at Hillsville in Deed Book 9, page 122. Its first trustees were T.M. Dobyns, Sam Williams, James M. Kyle, B.W. Dobyns, Michael Kinzer and E.B. Vaughn. This deed called for two acres but actually contained one and three-fourths of an acre. The first church building was built in 1868 and 1869.
It was one of the first framed buildings in the community built from lumber sawed by a water-driven sawmill where an A.B. Kyle lived. Records show it was called The Short Chimney Church because the chimney extended a short distance out of the fire place.
The Church was later repaired and remodeled with a self-supporting roof by J.M. Kyle and “perhaps” Tom Lineberry and V.S. Walker. This was followed later by rods for additional support. Around 1909 or that following year this church was torn down and another one built. This was attributed to W.H. Manning and James Cochran under the leadership of Reverend Philip R. Kinzer. The church was dedicated again on August 21, 1910 by Reverend J. Tyler Frazier. Text from the service’s program read, “Go to the Mountain and bring word and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified saith the Lord.”
It was remodeled again in 1928 by Tom Painter and Will Whittington under the supervision of Charles Dobyns. This remodel included Sunday School rooms. Later new benches were installed by the Dobyns family in memory of Charles Dobyns. The church has produced several preachers down through the years.
Morris, in a piece kept today from the Whittington Collection, described Woodlawn UMC as “a beautiful little church belonging to the Southern Methodist.” He listed the Town’s buildings and families in this work, noting the JEB Stuart highway ran through the orchards, yards and gardens and the many windmills, making the picturesque “city” a thing of beauty.
The church’s cemetery was sited in back of the structure. It contains the remains of people from the young to the old. Records list the first burial there occurred on November 21, 1869 for a five-year old named Willie Dobyns. Preachers James Whittington and Philip Kinzer are also buried there, several sets of twins and soldiers who served in the Civil War. According to the deed, the church lot expanded to one and one-eighth acres with the addition of the cemetery.
Ministers who have served the Woodlawn United Methodist Church include Reverend Strader, Reverend A.L. Noblett, Reverend Sorrell, Reverend M. D. Fleenor, Reverend J.M. Crenshaw, Reverend Fred Rich, Reverend R.L. Wiley, Reverend J.L. Byrd, Reverend G.B. Draper, Reverend Henry Horton, Reverend Fogesong, Reverend Wiley Neal, Reverend Melton, Reverend Kenneth Alderman, Reverend S.W. Brown and Reverend Warren Edwards, Reverend W.B. Belchee, Reverend Ray Redd, Reverend Quesinberry, Reverend J.H. Lotspeich, Reverend B.T. Sells, Reverend Eugene Brown, Reverend Carbough, Reverend Ralph Malcomb, Reverend C.H. Varner, Reverend Bob Miller, Reverend J.W. Byrd, Reverend Charles Burnett, Reverend J.E. Naff, Reverend Ronald Hammond, Reverend E.N. Woodward, Reverend Robert Clarke, Reverend R.L. Evans, Reverend Andy Furguson, Reverend E.G. Frye, Reverend Ralph Kidd, Reverend H.E. Bradshaw, Reverend Harold Russell, Reverend Lyons, Reverend Joe Mack Taylor, Reverend Payne, Reverend Bill Edmond, Reverend J.W. Morris, Reverend Pamela Rhodes, Reverend C.G. Morris, Reverend Rita White, Reverend C.W. Cox, Reverend James Fain, Reverend E.C. Burwanger, Reverend Charles Smythers, Reverend R.Q. Dyess, Reverend Terri Gregory,Reverend Gloria Rhudy, Reverend Rich Mullan and Reverend Dina Clower.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave