Our history.

The roots of Morris Chapel United Methodist Church started to grow at prayer meetings held in the home of Isaac and Jane Morris in the 1860's. Throughout the years, we have continued to grow through the grace of God. Below is a brief history of how our church got its start and where we've come to today.

As attendance grew in the Morris' home for prayer meetings, the men built a brush arbor located in the site of the present cemetery. The pews were planks supported by blocks of wood. For a number of years this brush arbor was used as a campground for revivals. In 1869, the prayer group organized and assumed the name of Morris Chapel after the founder.

In 1870, the first church building was erected by the men of the congregation on a tract of land donated by Isaac and Jane Morris. With the North Star used as a compass, Isaac Morris and Martin Jones staked the corners of the first church. The members built the one room frame building covered with hand-riven boards and installed kerosene lanterns to provide lighting.

Deeds filed in 1873 and 1874 showed three acres were donated by two families that were later used as the current site of the parsonage and cemetery. As membership grew from 65 in 1880 to 106 in 1896, a second church was erected for the expanding membership.

The pulpit was located in the north end of the 30' by 50' structure. Three large swinging lamps with large shades were attached to the ceiling to increase the lighting of wall lamps, plus two large wood stoves were installed and provided the heat. In 1903, two more acres were donated by another member.

In 1919-1920, the church was remodeled and an auditorium, a vestibule, and three Sunday School classes were added. The structure was veneered with a roof of slate shingles and additional financial assistance was provided by the Board of Extension of the Methodist Episcopal Church. A year later, the Ladies' Aid purchased and donated a Delco lighting system.

In 1926, another member left a major portion of property to Morris Chapel in his will, which was then plotted and sold. Proceeds were then used to add six classrooms on the north side of the church when E.A. Wall was pastor. New carpet was placed in the sanctuary at a cost of five cents per yard.

By 1952, the educational building was added to the east side of the church when Rev. C.M. McKinney was pastor and in 1958, the Fellowship Hall was built, which is still in use today for various activities. The Duke Endowment contributed to the funding and the building committee overseeing the construction was composed of O.E. Dillon, Lloyd Swain, Robert West, Frank Vogler, and Rev. C.W. Faulkner. This building was dedicated June 1, 1961 when Rev. George Thompson was pastor.

In 1967, an electric organ was purchased under the leadership of Miss Kate Morris. At the beginning of the next decade, there was a renovation of the auditorium where minor repairs and new carpeting improved the appearance.

In 1974, Rev. Rollins Gibbs of the Western N.C. Conference led the building fund campaign for the construction of a new sanctuary. In August 1977, the first shovel of dirt was moved by Mrs. Mabel Crutchfield, the oldest active member of Morris Chapel at the time. Construction began in September of that year by Hugh G. Strickland, Inc. with Fred W. Butner as the architect. The building committee consisted of Bill Gordon, Don Whicker, Wayne Biby, Orville Dillon, Ben Joyce, Bill Vanhoy & Harold Whicker.

The first service in the new sanctuary was held on December 10, 1978, led by the Rev. J.W. Braxton & Arthur L. Chamblee, Jr. The sanctuary is still in use today for our 11:00am worship service. It is uniquely octagon-shaped with two massive stained glass windows that tell the story of God's movement in our world, and his continued presence in our lives. The two separate windows are tied together by the Cross of Jesus: the Old Testament window points to the coming of Christ, while the New Testament window tells of His glorious appearing and actions. A smaller chapel was also constructed at the time using the stained glass windows, altar rail, altar furniture and pews from the "old" church. Our 8:45am worship service is still held in the chapel.

In 2006, another addition was planned for a new wing to house youth and adult classrooms and a new stage, which is where the 9:00am worship service is held today. The groundbreaking ceremony was led by Rev. Hal Schwantes and Rev. Chris Henson. The addition was completed in 2008 and is home to many activities in the life of the church.

Today, with close to 300 members in regular attendance, we continue to grow from the roots of the very first prayer meeting in the home of the Morris family, to serve the people of Walkertown and the surrounding area.