History of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church

OUR THIRD DECADE:  1904 –1914

In 1904, Mount Vernon had new leadership by Rev. G. K. Lambeth. Two new standing committees were added – the “lookout” committees – one for the north side of town and one for the south side of town, and ushers were admonished to provide all visitors with a cordial welcome!

Plans were initiated for an “organ fund,” despite the Administrative Board’s refusal to allow a secular play (Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch) to be performed in order to raise money for the organ. However, by September 1905 a new organ was purchased and installed through “subscriptions” from the congregation amounting to $2,858.50.

Although the Sunday school program was growing, Reverend Lambeth continued to be disturbed at the difficulty in involving young people in the life of the church. He had to take an extended vacation/sabbatical because of health issues.

In 1907, Harry R. Fitzgerald joined Mount Vernon and became a member of the Board and the teacher of Class 20. He later became the President of Dan River Mills. Fitzgerald was instrumental in urging the church to make improvements to the building, including the installation of an acoustical system for the hearing-impaired and upgrading the Sunday school area.

Rev. Thomas Reeves was the next pastor, and under his leadership, in February 1908, the Board approved having printed programs for the Sunday morning services. By March 1909, plans had been approved for the new Sunday school addition, and the church authorized a loan to make improvements to the main auditorium and to purchase heating equipment, pews, and carpet, as well as chairs for the Sunday school and improvements to the parsonage.

It was during this time that the church asked the City of Danville to remove the light that had been placed in the "triangle" in front of the church – because it detracted from the appearance of the church.

Main Street, looking west toward Mount Vernon Church, around 1908

In 1909 Rev. Dr. John B. Winn was appointed as the new pastor. He served the church for four years at this time and was appointed to serve Mount Vernon two additional times (1926 to 1931 and 1938 to 1942).

Because the offering had, until then, been collected in a rather haphazard manner, new guidelines and specific directions were given as to how the offering would be collected – “in a quiet, methodical, and dignified manner.”

At the 25th birthday celebration, at the end of 1909, Mount Vernon membership had risen from 100 to 467 people, and we had a building, church property, and a parsonage valued at $35,000.

Finally, by 1911, the Board had appointed three women to a committee – the Woman’s Auxiliary Committee – and they were charged with decorating the church and helping with the care and upkeep of the building’s interior.

Under Reverend Winn’s leadership, the church continued to support missions and became actively involved in the anti-saloon movement.

A church member, C. D. Gaver, urged the church to install a fireproof vault and to collect and keep information about the church and church members. It was through this understanding of the importance of providing information to members and institutional record-keeping and keeping records of church membership, committees, annual budgets, and correspondence, that we now know so much about the early history of the church.

The third decade came to a close under the pastorate of Rev. Dr. George E. Booker, who asked to be moved after two years because of the workload at the church!

To the fourth decade

 


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June 2009