Monthly Archives: October 2012

Welch United Methodist Church

© Renee Bolden

Welch United Methodist Church, Welch, WV, Sanctuary

On Thursday, October 11, my daughter, Emily, and I visited the Welch United Methodist Church.  Elena Muckenfuss, historian of the church, had contacted and invited me to the church.  I was excited as I had been wanting to visit this church for a long while.  Those red doors seemed to beckon me to come inside.   There is something about these churches with those red doors. Maybe it’s because they remind me of being covered by the blood.

As we entered the side door, I noticed the long hallway and figured that was where the Sunday School rooms were.  Mrs. Muckenfuss led us up a beautiful staircase, with a chair lift, and through a swinging door.   Not only does this church have red doors, but the carpet and pew cushions are red, also.  A black baby grand piano sits to the left at the front.  There is also an organ to the left behind the choir pews in the front. I was amazed at how large and beautiful this church is.

© Renee Bolden

Welch United Methodist Church, Welch, WV Stained Glass Windows

We went upstairs to the balcony and the church seemed that much larger!   The stained glass windows behind the balcony are beautiful.  Emily and I snapped pictures. (She uses my iPhone as her camera when it is time to take pictures!)

From what I understand, this church was the first in Welch.  This history that Mrs. Muckenfuss sent me states that this church began in 1892 with the first pastor being M.C. Graham.  This is taken from the history:  Persons of all denominations not only attended the Methodist Church but helped to organize and run the Church until their own churches were organized. Several well known Jewish women were tireless workers for the Ladies Aid Society and Jewish men served on the Board of Stewards and helped support the budget. At this time the Methodist Church had a number of Italian members also. This was attributed to the fact that the Holston Conference Board of Home Missions supported an Italian Mission in the McDowell County Coalfields.  A need for a church was clearly seen by everyone.

This building is the second one of the church.  With the growth in population of the county and the congregation of the church, a new building was constructed. This is another excerpt from the church history:   In 1950 a newspaper article announcing the consecration and formal opening of the new church building which we are in today, read and I quote “Welch can proudly boast of one of West Virginia’s most beautiful houses of worship when the First Methodist Church is consecrated and formally opened to the public here tomorrow. Of Gothic type architecture, every single item insures convenience and the height of beauty. The new Welch First United Methodist Church in Welch is one of the first major church constructions in West Virginia since the close of the war.”

© Renee Bolden

Welch United Methodist Church, Welch, WV, Row of Pastors

As we were led through the halls and rooms of the building, I was amazed at the enormity of it.  There were many Sunday School rooms, a choir room, a bell choir room, and the office (just to name a few).  There is also a smaller chapel and a large fellowship hall (kitchen attached) with a play stage on the first floor.  The tour of this church revealed to me at how much the Lord had blessed it. This church does not only reflect the religious history of our county, but history in general.  This is part of our heritage.

I can imagine when this church was packed with parishioners with the Sunday School rooms overflowing, the choir dressing in their robes (which they still do), and the sanctuary filled to capacity.  That was Welch, McDowell County, West Virginia.

Thanks again, to Mrs. Elena Muckenfuss, for taking time out of her day to show us this beautiful church.


Long Point Missionary Baptist Church

On August 12, my church celebrated it’s 69th Homecoming.  We enjoyed special singing, preaching, dinner on the grounds, and more special singing.

Long Point is located in Spencer Curve, a small community between Pageton and Anawalt.  The church was built in 1943 and started by the Blevins family of Spencer Curve.  In the first year, the attendance was 144.

© Renee Bolden

Long Point Missionary Baptist Church, Spencer Curve, WV

The church stood through the flood of 2001.  Water entered into the church by way of the basement door and exited only through one small window pane.  The rest of the water, the church held.  The church’s basement filled with the muddy water and came within an inch of flooding into the sanctuary, but that is where the water miraculously stopped.  That water line is left on the baseboard that leads downstairs to the basement.  Spencer Curve residents suffered great loss in the flood.  Three of the five houses that surrounded the church were a total loss.

With the help of other churches from different states, the church basement was repaired and is even better than before!  Because everything had to be torn out, the opportunity to install heat and air conditioning became available!  No more cold OR hot Sunday school rooms!  It used to be so cold downstairs on those wintry Sunday mornings and so hot during vacation Bible school.

Long Point Missionary Baptist Flood Repairs

All of the stairs had to be replaced inside the church after the 2001 flood.

Not long after the flood repairs, the church was able to add an elevator on the right side.  This has proved to be a great investment as the church sits high off the ground with many front steps to climb.  The elevator has been an opportunity for many who couldn’t climb those stairs be able to attend services.  A restroom was also added upstairs.

I can remember when we used to have to set out chairs for all the people that would attend homecomings, when attendance was in the 140’s and 150’s, Bess Yates playing the piano, the young people’s choir, our Christmas plays, and most importantly, the Spirit of the Lord filling that entire church.

When I see all the closed churches in the county, it truly breaks my heart.  I know how the people that attended these churches truly loved their church and the Godly messages they received in those walls.

I could write a novel about this little church, as it holds such a special place in my heart.  However, I will stop here…… for now.

Anawalt First Missionary Baptist Church

The third church that Buddy, Emily, and I visited that September Sunday was Anawalt First Missionary Baptist Church. It sits on a hill right behind the town of Anawalt. In the summer, it is impossible to see the church because of the trees. I had been wanting to visit this little church for awhile because of where it is located. To get there, you have to drive out of Anawalt towards Spencer Curve and cut back on a small, dirt road.

© Renee Bolden

Anawalt First Missionary Baptist Church, Anawalt, WV

As we started down the small, dirt road, the first thing I noticed was that there were fire hydrants. Although I don’t remember them, there must have been many houses along that hill. As we looked closer, we could see the remnants of some houses. We could tell from the size of the road that it was one made many, many years ago. It is just wide enough for a vehicle to squeeze through, so I’m sure it was made with horses and buggies. The drive took a little while as there were trees that had fallen and we had to be careful.

Once we arrived, we saw the back of the church. The bottom of the basement door looked as though it had been kicked in. From my understanding, this church is in operation, but services are held every so often. We drove around to the front of the church and I turned around.

The setting for this church is beautiful. The church is tucked into the mountainside and seems very comfortable there. It is almost as if the mountain is cradling the church. You can see and hear the town, but they can not see or hear you. I’m not sure why the founders chose that site, but it is beautiful.

Since Buddy was sitting with Emmie, I did his job and looked for a cornerstone and found it. It said, “The First Baptist Church of Anawalt W Va Aug (?) – 1913”.

© Renee Bolden

Anawalt First Missionary Baptist Church, Anawalt, WV

The part after August I couldn’t read. That date confirmed my thoughts about the horse and buggy road. Next year will mark 100 years!

Since the leaves are changing, I think I will travel back there to get a picture of colors around this little country church.

I would love to find out more information about this little church and to take pictures inside. If anyone is a member, please contact me.

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