The History of our Church
From The Chapel to Sharon Methodist to Sharon United Methodist Church
1904 – 2020
Sharon United Methodist Church has been undergirded with prayer even before June 2, 1904, when prayer warriors Nathan and Lula Poyner donated this acre of land to the Methodist Episcopal Church where the church, called The Chapel or Lindsey’s Chapel, (locally named for Wilse Lindsey, the first Sunday school superintendent) opened its doors to everyone and anyone. Mostly farmers and watermen lived in Poplar Branch and the surrounding area; their mode of transportation was either on foot or riding in a horse-drawn cart. On October 3, 1926, The Chapel, officially named Sharon Methodist Church, became a part of the North Carolina Conference with a recorded forty-six charter members. From 1926 to 1939, Sharon was a member of a four point charge with one pastor who rotated from church to church: Kitty Hawk, Hebron (Jarvisburg), Mt. Zion (Grandy), and Sharon. From 1939 to 1951, Sharon became a part of the Moyock Charge.
On September 14, 1944, the Great Atlantic Hurricane with winds of 110 mph damaged Sharon Church so badly that it could not be used. The church family met in Poplar Branch School and in their Agriculture Building. In January 1947, construction began on the cinder block building with a sanctuary and four classrooms and inside plumbing. The new Sharon Church was dedicated in 1950.
In December 1952, fire destroyed Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal Church South in Aydlett. All of the records were destroyed but not the faith and spirit of the people many of whom transferred to Sharon. In 1952 Sharon became a member of a three point charge with Hebron and Mt. Zion Methodist Church.
In the mid-fifties, Sharon came off the Mission Board, a statement that tells us that the North Carolina Conference helps a church that goes through difficult times until the church family through faith, prayers, and hard work becomes financially independent.
In 1968, Sharon with all other Methodist churches became United Methodist Churches when the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged with the Methodist Church.
As the church family grew, the church needed to grow. In 1971, the church family added an Education Building with a kitchen and additional classrooms to meet the needs of the Sharon Church family and to open the doors for greater interaction with the community.
Sharon continued to be a member of a three point charge; however, as the church family grew in faith and a prayer life, a dream evolved to seek our becoming a station church. The seed became a goal in 1977 when Bob Wilson released his report suggesting that Mt. Zion and Hebron become one church and that Sharon go station. The church family latched onto Wilson’s suggestion as God’s message that he had opened the door if we would just accept the challenge. And so we did. The journey was a challenge or perhaps a test of perseverance, patience and trust in God’s plan for the church family. We laid out our plans to the then District Superintendent who said, “No, this will never happen.” Taken aback, but forging ahead, we boldly and prayerfully wrote a letter to then Bishop Robert Blackburn who met with our congregation in Elizabeth City to be sure we understood the added responsibilities of a station church. Before we left the meeting, Bishop Blackburn determined that Sharon was ready and he would start the search for a minister for our station church.
Carlton Hampton, a church member, provided his homeplace for a temporary parsonage. Men, women, and children painted and repaired the Hampton home for our first station minister. In June 1985, Mark and Edna Doxey donated a parcel of land south of Aydlett post office for what is now our parsonage. The church men and women held monthly fried chicken dinners to raise funds for building the parsonage that was completed in June 1986. The chicken dinners continued to quickly pay off the mortgage.
Sharon continued to grow. In March 2006 we purchased a mobile unit that serves as a youth building where our community youth program known as Soul Patrol meets under the leadership of youth directors Andy and Amy Blankenship. Soul Patrol is divided into two groups: Warriors (middle school through high school) and Scouts (K-5th grade). Once a month the Scouts and Warriors meet in the youth center on Sunday evenings for a class which includes dinner, music, Bible lesson and time to just hang out. Soul Patrol also does a monthly mission. Some of their missions have been feeding families in the community for Thanksgiving with a Thanksgiving food drop, walking for diabetes, making blankets for newborn babies and for children, and for teens who need to know they are wrapped in God’s love in times of tragedy, cleaning up yards for those who can’t do the work themselves, cleaning up after a tornado, joining with other youth to clean Hatteras cemeteries, Rise Against Hunger, and Hurricane Dorian clean-up. When Scouts become Warriors, they get to attend beach retreats, Winter Jam and other fun activities like laser tag and Christ based movies. In addition to special activities, the Warriors meet on Monday night for dinner and Bible Study at the Blankenship’s home twice a month. As the children and youth got excited about Soul Patrol, and began to invite their friends, Soul Patrol increased in numbers and strength in God in the last 11 years. We love our children and youth very much.
In 2019, under the direction of the trustees, the parsonage received a facelift with new laminate flooring, fresh paint, new decking, power washing, landscaping, and the list goes on. The church family was instrumental in lending a helping hand to accomplish the many renovations. Many hands make light work!
Sharon UMC engages our congregation and community in:
- Programs and Sunday School classes for children, youth and adults of all ages
- Choir and weekly practice for Sunday anthems, special music and Cantatas
- United Methodist Women with meetings, mission studies, card ministry, and cookbook sales to support missions
- School Partnership Mission (SPM) with Griggs Elementary School that provides teacher and student support throughout the school year as well a Summer Meals Ministry for school children and their families in our community
- Outreach missions such as Project Agape, Angel Tree, Chickens for Armenia, Love for Liberia and other community outreach projects
- Programs and activities like Monday morning Coffee Klatch at McDonald’s, Thursday night Bible study
Today, we continue to be a church of prayer. We know prayer makes a difference. We’ve seen answers. We’ve seen prayer in action. The 1904 beginning of our journey with Christ gave us our roots and brought us blessings to our present 2020 where we continue to grow in faith, in Bible study, in missions, in discipleship; we now look to our future as we continue our journey with Christ.
Submitted by Susie G. Spruill