Stallings United Methodist Church commemorates 100 years
The Stallings United Methodist Church, located today at 1115 Stallings Road, traces its roots to the year 1911, in what was then the small village of Stallingsville, N.C. – then a part of Mecklenburg Circuit.
Historians credit the Rev. J. W. Self and residents P. D. and Margaret Drye with organizing the church, with Mr. M.T. Stallings, whose old store building was donated for church use while a proper church was under construction.
Congregation charter members also included the families of H.B. Furr, J.H. Harkey, S.A. Noles, and Cyrus Porter – many of whose descendants remain active in the church today.
The church will commemorate its 100th anniversary on Sunday, September 25 – although preparations have been underway for months.
“We’re hoping everyone in the surrounding communities will join us for the celebration and get a taste of this great church’s past, present, and future,” Stanna Reinke, Centennial Committee Chair, said.
Reinke described the events as a “homecoming celebration,” beginning at 9:30 a.m. during Sunday School. A 10:30 a.m. Centennial Celebration worship will follow featuring special music, centennial reflection, and preachings by Dr. Mickey Efird, a celebrated author, former Duke University professor and long-time congregation friend. A covered dish meal featuring memory moments from former ministers and staff will begin at noon.
Evolution of a church
Church historians believe the first sanctuary – complete with weather-boarded walls, wood shingle gable ends and a belfry – was destroyed by fire after being struck by lightning in 1919. A second church constructed in 1919 combined elements of bungalow style with Gothic Revival – styles characteristic of many religious buildings of the time.
Although no longer used as the main sanctuary, the structure remains in use today for meeting space and storage, and interior restoration plans are underway to return it to chapel use. This part of the church campus earned a 2010 designation as a Historic Landmark Property.
Stallings Methodist Church became Stallings United Methodist Church in 1968, shortly after the formation of the United Methodist Church conceived through the union of the Methodist Church with the Evangelical United Brethren Church.
As membership grew to numbers that today total more than 500—so did the church; and soon the congregation could enjoy a new sanctuary serving double duty as a multipurpose room in the 1970s. The today is home to area-reknown Stallings UMC BBQ—a delicious ministry that remains a vital part of the church’s funding for missions. Finally in 2004, construction was complete on a new family life center featuring an education wing, full service kitchen, and multipurpose space for the church’s contemporary worship service, gatherings and special events.
Looking toward the future
The congregation today credits the legacy of its founding and current members for their example and investment of themselves into the church and its work for God, writes Reinke. “The level of commitment in this church is astounding,” she says. Former pastor Rev. Dr. Stephen Pillsbury, who led the congregation for eight years prior to moving to Center United Methodist in Welcome, NC, agrees. “The church is built up of unbelievable relationships,” he says. “We saw a lot of people grow in the Lord like you wouldn’t believe.”
Current pastor Rev. Dr. Bart Milleson concurs, and says that for the people of Stallings, Christianity is an authentic way of life. “We recognize that church occurs on Sundays and whenever and wherever we gather in the community,” he notes, “whether a place of employment or even shopping at Wal-Mart,” he says.
“It’s definitely the kind of church that I love,” Milleson exclaims. “People are open to discovery, very participatory and no sense of insider/outsider groups.”