Worrells are 600th to donate to museum

Published 8:30 am Saturday, July 25, 2009

COURTLAND—Between 75 and 100 people showed up at the Southampton Heritage Village/Agriculture and Forestry Museum last Sunday for a reception honoring the museum’s 600th donors — Marvin and Sarah Worrell.

The Worrells donated the furnishings from the old New Hope Methodist Church, which stood on a site near their home in Como, North Carolina.

Museum members cleaned, reupholstered and placed the furniture, which includes the pulpit chairs and podium, pews, communion table, a piano and organ, in a room to resemble a church.

Complete with the original hymnals, fans and wooden collection plates, museum chairman, Bill Vick said jokingly, “All we need now is a preacher.”

Vick added in introducing the couple, “We are so appreciative of this gift, though. We hope to eventually build a replica of a church and hopefully we can have some kind of services here, like baptisms, weddings, or perhaps the renewal of wedding vows.”

Following Vick’s remarks, Worrell gave a short talk on the history of the church and said he felt the furnishings were in good hands, before delighting the crowd with several selections on the piano.

New Hope Methodist originally was a member of a four-church charge with Newsoms, Barnes and Mount Horeb Methodist churches. It was the only church in the Virginia Methodist Conference located in North Carolina.

Worrell acquired the furnishings after the church was discontinued and built his own building to house the artifacts.

Historical Society president, Lynda Updike said Worrell’s replica of the church had been of special interest to visitors. “We’ve had several bus trips over there,” she said, “and Marvin always treats us to a few songs on the piano.”

Updike said Worrell had agreed to donate the furnishings to the museum when he decided to get rid of it. “We’re so happy that he did,” she said.