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History of Winters Chapel United Methodist Church

Mr. Jeremiah WintersWinters Chapel United Methodist Church had its beginning in the late 1860's. Early services were held in the people's homes when a minister was available. The Hardman family had ties with the Prospect Methodist Church in Chamblee , Georgia , and occasionally brought the Chamblee pastor, Rev. W. A. Dodge, home with them in order to have worship services under a brush arbor.

Mr. Jeremiah Winters, the person for whom the church is named, moved to the community during this period. He soon recognized the need for a church. In the spring of the early 1870's, Mr. Winters announced that Sunday School would be held in a beautiful grove at his home on the Adel Woodall place.

The need for a church was apparent. Mr. Rice and Mr. Mitchell gave the land for the church and the cemetery. Since money was hard to get, Mr. Winters said, "We can go to the woods, cut logs and have them sawed and hull us up a church". Mr. J.W.F. Tilly sawed the lumber.

Work on the first church building was begun in October, 1871. That first structure was hulled in and covered in nearly a day. There was only a dirt floor for quite a while. The benches were slabs with pegs in augur holes for legs. A small soapbox like stand was placed on the floor for the preacher to stand upon while preaching. The windows had shutters and no glass. In 1882, Sam Jones, the famous evangelist, was responsible for windows and a ceiling being added. During a sermon, he made a remark that was funny and the people laughed. He said, "Wish you'd laugh up some sash and ceiling". The people got busy, and ceiled the church and put in windows. Little brass lamps were purchased and they served as lights for years.

In this little chapel, the women sat on the left side and the men sat on the right side. Whenever prayer was announced all Christians knelt on both knees. Hymns were lined. About 1902, the first musical instrument was secured.

The first pastor appointed by the North Georgia Methodist Conference was Rev. George Gardner in 1873. The church had nine members at the beginning: Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah Winters, Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Hardman, Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Ware, Mrs. Susan Cobb, Mrs. C. N. Woodall and Mrs. Itura Womack. At the early revivals there was shouting. They had early twilight grove meetings before the evening service.

The first preacher to service Winters Chapel was Rev. Quillian. He lived at Norcross and served Norcross, Prospect, Duluth , Winters Chapel and Mount Carmel . Services were held at Winters Chapel only at night. The next parsonage was at Roswell . Rev. Strozier was the first preacher to live there. He served Roswell , Sandy Springs and Winters Chapel. The next pastor lived at Buckhead and served Sardis , Sandy Springs and Winters Chapel. The property for a new church was given by Mr. Thompson during this time. The old church was torn down and a new church was built.

The church was on circuits of two to five churches until 1948, when it became a full time church with a parsonage and a full time pastor. Rev. H.E. Garrett was the first full time pastor of Winters Chapel and the first to live in the parsonage, a modern six room brick veneer house which was constructed across the road from the church at an approximate cost of $ 10,000.00.

The labor required for completing the parsonage was donated by the laymen of the church and community. The church building was also improved by the building of five Sunday School rooms and the addition of a new front on the church.

As more people moved into the community, attendance increased in the Church School and Worship services. The facilities of the church building were overtaxed and it was imperative that additional space for the church school be built. In 1952, under the leadership of the Rev. Marion Pierson, a Building Committee was appointed. The following year the Rev. Ray Melear was appointed pastor. He continued the Building Committee approved by the Quarterly Conference of the church.

The dream of a two-story concrete block educational building, 40 foot by 80 foot slowly became a reality. Over 95% of the labor was donated by the members and interested friends. The building was completed in 1955. Its indebtedness was paid in full during the first year of the Rev. Marvin Brewer's pastorate in 1958. The dedication of this educational building, which is known as the Ray Melear Building , was on January 21, 1962 , by Bishop J. Owen Smith. This was the first time in the history of Winters Chapel Church that a Bishop had visited.  Rev. Julian F. Thompson was the pastor at this time.

In July of 1964, ground was broken for a second educational building, which was comparable in size to the first building. This building is known as the Eula Jones Building .

Membership continued to increase over the years and reached to 560 members. It became apparent that a new sanctuary would be a great asset to the church and community.

A building committee was appointed in the spring of 1968 and detailed plans and specifications were approved by the Church Conference on April 6, 1969.

After a fund raising campaign and a bond program, construction was begun on the new sanctuary in June of 1969. On March 8, 1970 , a Service of Consecration was held in the new sanctuary with Dr. Frank Moorhead, District Superintendent present.

Three young men have gone out from the church to preach the Gospel of Christ. Rev. Ewell Blackburn, who was a member of the North Georgia Conference, Rev. J. B. Ware and Rev. Homer L. Morgan, who served as a member of the North Georgia Conference and then served as a Methodist missionary to Calcutta, India for forty years.





Winters Chapel United Methodist Church
5105 Winters Chapel Road | Atlanta, GA 30360 | (770) 396-4550 |