“God never adds to His Church by chance but by divine intention.”
In 1850 there were 12 church buildings in Carroll County. Seven of these were Methodist and five were Primitive Baptist.
The rapid growth of Methodism after 1850 was due largely to the inspiring revivals conducted in this area by Rev. Bob Sheffey. One of the centers of growth was the Hillsville Circuit from which the Hillsville Methodist Church was organized on July 29, 1857.
Records of Quarterly Conferences of 1884-1886 show Rev. R.F. Jackson as preacher in charge of the Hillsville Circuit. He was the grandfather of Dr. Robert F. Jackson who was active in organizing the present church. The Hillsville Circuit was composed of the following churches: Woodlawn, Hillsville, Corinth, Shiloh, Mt. Tabor, Liberty, Mountain. Plains, Fancy Gap, Phillips Chapel, Pine Grove and Oakland.
The original lot on which the church was erected was obtained from Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery Crigger and Mrs. Ann Leftwich for a total sum of $171.00.
The original structure erected in 1857 was removed and replaced by a wooden structure in 1900. The building constructed in 1900 was replaced with another building constructed on Main Street in 1928 under the supervision of Rev. W.S. Lyons.
In 1962, under the leadership of Rev. Richard H. Timberlake, consideration was given to the relocation of the church. In May 1964, after an evaluation was completed, it was recommended that the church be relocated.
A building committee was established in 1964 composed of Dr. Robert Jackson, chairman; S. L. Sisson, Dr. Ronald D. Jones, Mrs. T.W. Quesenberry, Mrs. Carlin Guynn, Elliott Ridge, Dale Ward, Mrs. Worth Cox, Tom Armstrong, Mrs. Ted Mills, Steven Cochran and Miss Karen Kidd, members.
In 1968 the church site of 8.2 acres was purchased from Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wilkinson.
In 1971 the Hillsville Methodist Church took into its membership the body of worshippers from Goad Memorial Methodist Church, a country church established June 6, 1943.
Vernon E. Lewis, architect, completed the plans for the new Hillsville Methodist Church in 1971. Then plans were approved and a contract for the construction was awarded to John S. Clark Company on March 1, 1972, with a completion date of November 1, 1972. Upon relocation, the church officially became known as First United Methodist Church.
A major part of the planning of the church was carried out under the leadership of Rev. C. Walter Martin, and the completion of the plans and construction under the leadership of Rev. John Duvall.
In 1995 while Rev. Nathan Malone was pastor, the congregation felt the need for improvements to the church building. Alterations were made to the sanctuary and the fellowship hall and kitchen were approved and built.
The ministries of FUMC consist of children and adult Sunday school, United Methodist Women, the Happy Seniors, a senior adult ministry; adult and children choirs, Wednesday night dinners and Bible study, an active prayer ministry, a pre-school program and van ministry. The Food Pantry is housed in the church building and members assist in the Open Table community program.
First United Methodist Church, Hillsville, continues to grow under the present leadership of Rev. Robert Smith, Pastor, and Rev. Pam Sutherland, Associate Pastor.
Time Line of Events
July 29, 1857-First United Methodist Church was organized and met in a frame church building on Main Street in Hillsville.
June 1889-First United Methodist Women’s group met. Miss L. Wilkinson was elected president. The group was originally called the “Parsonage Society of the Conference of the Methodist Church South” and was referred to as “The Parsonage Aid Society” or “The Society”.
Around 1900-The church building was remodeled extensively and replaced by another wooden structure.
1927-28-A brick building was built on the original site on Main Street to replace the wooden structure.
January 1941-The Women’s group changed its name to the “Women’s Missionary Society.” A few years later the name was changed to the “Women’s Society of Christian Service.”
June 1942-Goad Memorial Church (which later merged with Hillsville Methodist) organized its first Sunday School. It was led by Mrs. Waymon Horton and Margie McPeak.
1952-The Methodist Men’s Fellowship was organized and met at Island Creek Methodist Church. The first president was Dr. Robert F. Jackson.
Fall 1954-The Upper Room Sunday school class first met. The class started in a small room in the church that was quickly outgrown. They began meeting in the upstairs over the Red Barn Restaurant located across the street from the church. Thus, the name Upper Room.
1955-First parsonage was done away with and the one on South Main Street was built.
August 4, 1957-The 100th anniversary of the church was celebrated. Dr. I.P. Martin delivered the message.
1958-Hillsville Methodist Church came off the circuit and became a station. This required the building of a parsonage.
Early 1960’s-First preschool was organized and led by Ella Logan and Mrs. Richard Timberlake.
1971-The Hillsville Methodist Church and Goad Memorial Church merged and became the First United Methodist of Hillsville.
1972-The present church building located on Fulcher Street was built.
February 1973-A new Sunday school class formed and was called the Young Adults due to the members served by the church. As the group “matured” the name was changed to the Fellowship class.
1980’s-The Preschool Program was revived under the leadership of Annette Mashburn.
1981-By this time the women’s group had adopted the name United Methodist Women and was made of two groups: Lamplighters and Sunshiners.
1985-The Food Pantry was organized by the Carroll County Ministerial Association and housed at First United Methodist Church.
1989-First United Methodist Church had its first female pastor, Rev. Patricia DeVoe.
1990-Another new Sunday school class was organized and named the Young Adults. This class later became the Challengers Sunday School Class.
1992-The existing parsonage was sold and another one purchased on Cumberland Drive in Hillsville.
November 24, 1996-Groundbreaking services were held for a new Fellowship Hall addition to the church. The project was completed within the following year.
Late 1990’s –An After-School Program was organized and directed by Shanda Sinnett.
2003-Amy Beth Hougland was appointed as the first associate pastor. When she moved from the area, Ronnie Collins was named Ministries Coordinator and later became Associate Pastor.
2006-Installed a new multimedia and sound system, enhancing the worship experience greatly.
2008-Started a Main Street Youth Ministry site. Moving off campus with approximately 12-20 students involved in weekly Bible study the youth ministry quickly grew to an average 40-60 students involved in weekly activities. Many times the group swelled to more than 100 youth and, at times, 150 for special activities. Through this ministry several of the students have been folded into the church family. This ministry is called FUMC Downtown Out of the Box Youth.
2010-The church had a vision to start a Worship Center on Main Street due to the growth of both the church and the youth ministry.
2011-In January of 2011 we began having new worship services in a rented store front building on Main Street in Hillsville.
In 2017 as First United Church, Hillsville observes its 160 years in Hillsville, it continues to be a strong religious influence in the community.