By Richard Rourk
This weekend, one area church will be holding a celebration that has been more than a century in the making.
Centenary United Methodist Church, 203 North Elm Ave., Erwin, will hold a 110th Congregational Anniversary Celebration on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 11 a.m. The celebration will also recognize the anniversary of the current chapel, which will be celebrating 100 years this year. “This has been a year in the making. Harry Lewis, our evangelism committee chair, really wanted this project,” Centenary United Methodist representative Kathy Jones said. “Our congregation is 110 years old, but our building is 100 years old, so this will be a dual celebration.”
Jones, who has been a member of the Centenary congregation for 18 years, told The Erwin Record that members of Centenary range in all ages and longevity with the church.
“In comparison to many in the congregation, I’m considered a newcomer,” Jones said. “Some of our older members have been here for more than 45 years. This is just a very special congregation inside of a very special church.”
Reverend Kimberly Isley is excited to host the event.
“Hopefully everyone in the community will attend,” Isley said. “Even people who don’t attend Centenary regularly, can come out and help us celebrate the historic event. “We hope that everyone that has been involved with and touched by the annual Good Friday event that we and the Unicoi Ministers Association put on will attend.”
According to Isley, Three Rivers District Superintendent Lori Jo (L.J.) Cranford will be speaking and music will be provided by The Appalachian Trail Bluegrass Band.
“Cranford has been a United Methodist Pastor for around 25 years, and some in this area may remember when she was the pastor at Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church prior to becoming the district superintendent,” Isley said.
Isley, who has been the pastor at Centenary United Methodist since 2014, acknowledged that the congregation has worked hard to display the historical value of the church in the community. “This will be a historical event, and our congregation has worked hard to find items to display during the event,” Isley said. “Everyone is encouraged to come check out the exhibits and enjoy lunch with us after the guest speaker.”
According to Jones, Centenary takes pride in giving back to the community.
“We have been a presence in the community for many years and we have always been a church that you could look to help out with whatever is going on in the community,” Jones said. “For many years we had a Relay For Life team that raised several thousand dollars for the area Relay For Life. We have a very active Women’s Methodist Group that reaches out to work with several organizations. We also are very active in the Habitat for Humanity builds in Unicoi County.”
Jones acknowledged that following the 110th Congregational Anniversary Celebration, the church will focus on events for the upcoming Unicoi County Apple Festival.
“Our youth park cars here at the church, and proceeds help them go to the Resurrection event in Pigeon Forge every year,” Jones said. “The Methodist Women group will be doing our annual bake sale here in the chapel of Centenary United Methodist Church. We will have hot apple pies, in fact, some people from out of town come in just for the calm of our chapel.”
Everyone is welcome to attend the 110th Congregational Anniversary Celebration, on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 11 a.m. or if you can’t make it and would love to attend a typical Sunday Service, feel free to drop by on any Sunday at 9:45 a.m. for Sunday School or at 10:55 a.m. for services.
“We encourage everybody to attend any time,” Jones said.
For more information, please follow Centenary United Methodist Church on Facebook.