Wilson's Mills Christian Church History
1875 - 2008
Wilson's Mills Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was established with 23 members in 1875 through the instigation of Dr. John J. Harper and the interest and land given by Mr. and Mrs. John Marshal Wilson. The original church was a one room building which later became a school when the current church was dedicated in 1888. Dr. Harper was our first pastor and served for 26 years. He was also a founder of Barton College (formerly Atlantic Christian College) in Wilson, North Carolina and its first president.
For many years, two worship services were held only on the first Sunday of each month. Only in 1984 did worship services begin being held every Sunday of the year. Part-time ministers served our congregation until 2001 when WMCC called its first full-time minister. Now, in addition to Sunday services, we gather for worship on other occasions such as Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Christmas Eve. During Advent, we hold two additional worship services: Hanging of the Greens on the first Sunday evening in Advent, and a healing service held on the third Thursday evening of Advent.
Our current worship environment commemorates our history. In 1885, the church steeple and bell were added to the building. This same bell is rung every Sunday morning signaling the worship hour. The communion set used each week was given in the late 1800's, so we truly join the communion of saints each time we partake of the Lord's Supper. Many of the bells in our five-octave handbell set were given as memorials as were our hymnals, choir robes, and baptistery. All of these elements allow us to celebrate how the Spirit has moved through our history and our predecessors each time we join for worship.
In addition to our local church history, we also share a history with our denomination, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). WMCC has been a member of the Mill Creek District of the North Carolina Region of the Disciples of Christ since 1884. We participate in district meetings, regional meetings and special projects. Moreover, WMCC has adopted Edgewater Cabin in Camp Caroline (a Disciples of Christ camp) which means that we provide maintenance, cleaning, and supplies as needed. Christmount Christian Assembly in Black Mountain is another camp, conference, and retreat center for Disciples. Both Christmount and Camp Caroline sponsor camps (sailing, horseback riding, etc.) for all ages and can be used by the Disciples of Christ churches for retreats, etc.
In keeping with the Disciples of Christ commitment to cooperation with other denominations, WMCC enjoys friendly relationships with our local churches. Early on, these churches participated in activities such as quilting bees, meal preparation for the needy, Vacation Bible School, and sports. More recently, our joint efforts have included a Live Nativity, an annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Service, and a Spring Fling Children's Event. In addition, the community churches gather for worship on Thanksgiving Eve as well at sunrise on Easter morning.
Though the 1888 sanctuary is still being used, additions and renovations have taken place during the past 132 years. Sunday School rooms were added to the back of the sanctuary in the 1940's, an educational wing in 1954, fellowship hall, church parlor, and renovation of back of church in 1989. In 2006, we renovated our sanctuary. This renovation not only enhanced the beauty of our worship space, it also greatly improved our acoustics and restored the historical integrity of the sanctuary.
Our membership has always had strong lay leadership. The Christian Women's Fellowship (CWF - since 1905) and Christian Men's Fellowship (CMF) groups have been active in the life of this church. The CWF has taken the lead throughout the years in providing activities such as fellowship suppers, the Fall Bazaar and Flea Market (through which it raised over $75,000 to support mission efforts) and specific church projects. The CMF also sponsors activities such as its annual spring BBQ fundraiser, Valentine dinners, and other church related projects.
Since 2003 LOGOS has been a defining ministry that nurtures children and youth by encouraging them to build relationships with adults and with God. Children of all ages gather on Thursday nights for Bible Study, Worship/Mission Study, and crafts and recreation. The highlight of the evening is a family style meal which allows the children to interact with other children and with adults. Not only do we teach our faith, we teach basic manners and social skills. Although it is labor intensive, LOGOS is an integral part of our church's ministry and we hope that it will continue to grow.
During the last few years, the opportunities for spiritual growth increased. This is due in large part to a "Faithful Planning" process that WMCC undertook in 2007. The result of this process was a defined mission for our church: "In recognition of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20), the mission of Wilson's Mills Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is to reach out in ways that bring both people from the surrounding community and within the church into a relationship with Jesus Christ resulting in faithful, passionate discipleship." This mission has led us to not only reach out to the community but to also educate our current membership in discipleship and spirituality. During any given week in the church year, you may find general Bible study, Men's Bible Study, Logos, lunch and learns, socials, retreats, Sunday School, CMF, CWF, and other events centering around worship or community outreach.
We are pleased that WMCC is currently in a time of growth. Since 2005, we have seen a 30% increase in membership, we have more than doubled our budget, and we have almost tripled our congregation size for worship. However, we believe that numerical growth will not happen without spiritual growth, so we are thrilled that the Spirit is on the move at WMCC. With respect to our past, we enthusiastically embrace our future.