Newsoms church celebrates 126th year

Published 11:25 am Saturday, October 23, 2010

NEWSOMS—On Sunday, Oct. 17, 127 people attended the 126th anniversary of Newsoms United Methodist Church.

“Kitty” Lee, the oldest continuous member, greeted people to the worship. The sanctuary was filled with guests from far and near, members past and present, and members of the sister church, Barnes United Methodist. There were pats on the back and a lot of hugs as relationships were renewed and new ones created.

Former pastor and a retired elder, the Rev. Charlene Beethoven Baird, attended and shared memories. Also present were the Revs. Willis Switzer and Charles Kirkland Sr. of Goldsboro, N.C.

Longtime piano teacher Vivian Worrell Kirkland played music prior to the service.

Neil Drake, co-chairman for the administrative board, opened the service.

Peggy Bunn Simmons of Sebrell, who grew up in the church, was guest organist. Gayle Porter Lowdermilk, current pianist who’s been playing since she was a child, played during the service.

Current organist Sherry Vick Pope played the offertory. Choir director Marguerite Switzer Leathers gave the children’s message.

The Rev. Darwin Edwards, pastor for four years, led the worship and dedication service. Included in the service was the history of the Newsoms United Methodist Women submitted by Nancy Bunn. Smiles were brought to faces as she shared numerous anecdotes and mentioned the names of the ancestors of the predecessor to the United Methodist Women.

E. Beale Carter Jr., a member and leader of the church for most of his life, presented a history of the church preserved and created by various saints, which he updated. Many were in awe of the early beginnings of the church and the various hurdles, similar to today’s problems, the church overcame.

Carter described the town and church in the 19th and 20th centuries and the events of the not-too-distant past.

The Rev. Edwards read e-mail memoirs from former pastors, the Revs. Pat Tony and Gary Hartman.

After the service, most gathered in front of the church for a group picture.

Everyone then moved to the fellowship hall for the dedication of the eight new stained-glass windows.

One window was given in honor of Helen Nurney, Inez Porter, Charles B. Bunn Sr. and in memory of Louise and “Doll” Porter, Walter Porter, Mallory Elizabeth Wright, Mr. and Mrs. Guy P. Rountree Sr., Charleton Sykes and Joe Sykes, and James W. Vann.

Others were given in memory of E. Beale and Vries Carter Sr., Georgia and Dave Drake, and Russell, Clara and Barbara Railey.

The unfinished windows will be given in memory of Ernest J. and Carrie P. Cogsdale and Gwen Grizzard Vick. A window also was given in honor and memory of the United Methodist Women.

The festivities concluded with a meal of barbecued chicken, vegetables, salads, homemade rolls and desserts prepared by church members.