Red Bank United Methodist    3800 Dayton Blvd.    Red Bank, Tennessee    37415        423.877.2881
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The early Methodist preachers covered a large area on horseback as they preached the gospel and pastored several Churches.

Red Bank United Methodist Church

1849 - The first Methodist church in Red Bank, a log building, was built on land donated by Alfred H. Rogers and William K. Gray. On this three acre tract of land was built the “Hicks Chapel Methodist Church”. This building was to be used as a church and a school house and was later called the “Old Meeting House”. The building was a log building and stood just around the turn of the road leading to Read’s Lake from what is now known as Morrison Springs Road.

1866 – The Holston Conference was reorganized.

1868 – A small group of Methodists continued to meet in the “Old Meeting House” in order to re-establish the Methodist Church in this community. Later, the name “Pleasant Hill Methodist Church” was adopted.

1870 – A union building for all denominations to hold services was constructed on an acre of land donated by Alfred H. Rogers, a member of the Methodist Church. The seating capacity of this building was approximately 150. This church later became known as “The Church on The Hill” and the various denominations met and held services in this building for over fifty-three years. Each denomination would have their preacher come at least once a month to conduct services. Usually, the Presiding Elder, now know as the District Superintendent, of the Methodist would preach on the fifth Sunday and hold Quarterly Conference. The Methodist Church organization at this time was known as “Pleasant Hill Academy” and was one of ten churches on the Hamilton Circuit. The pastor of Pleasant Hill was Elijah Still, thus becoming the first pastor of what is now Red Bank United Methodist Church.

1881 – A Post Office was to be established at Pleasant Hill, with George S. Hartman, as the Postmaster. After the application for the establishment of the Post Office had been submitted, Mr. Hartman was notified that there was already a Post Office named Pleasant Hill in Tennessee and another name would have to be submitted. His wife (Susan Ann Hartman) was seated in his office at the time and as they looked out of the window, they noticed some ditches across the road with their banks very prominent. “George,” said his wife, “Why not call the office Red Bank?” He sent the name in and it was approved. The name of the church remained Pleasant Hill until sometime later, when it, too, was changed to Red Bank.

1921 – “The Church on The Hill” was getting overcrowded and the Baptist and Methodist members began talks about starting their own churches. The Methodists were the first to withdraw. John H. Reynolds, a member of the church but not affiliated with any particular congregation, donated a parcel of land to the Baptist congregation. This lot is where the Red Bank Baptist Church now stands. Mr. Reynolds also purchased the 3-1/2 acre tract of land for the Methodist Church and this acreage is the present site of the Red Bank United Methodist Church. In addition, he made a cash donation to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

1923 – The congregation of the Red Bank United Methodist Church met on November 21, 1923, to organize. The members of the church decided to erect a concrete block building on the 3-1/2 acre site. The church was built by voluntary help from the members. Additional room was needed and therefore a separate building was constructed near the block church and was used by the Men’s Class, kitchen, and Ladies Aid dining room.

1928 - A late night blaze during the coldest temperature in three years (near zero degrees) heavily damaged the concrete sanctuary. In a brief story found in the back pages of the Monday, January 2, 1928, Chattanooga Times, the following account was given of the blaze: “Fire almost destroyed the M.E. (Methodist Episcopal) Church of Red Bank this morning shortly after midnight. It is believed that following church services in the church, the furnace was left burning and, in some manner, fired the building. The church, which is located at the end of the Red Bank Car Line, is constructed of concrete. Beaver board on the ceiling and fixtures were burned. It could not be learned last night whether or not insurance is carried on the building, which is about two years old. The Reverend Fred Watson is pastor of the church.” The additional building onsite was used for services and Sunday school until a new brick church could be built. The plans for constructing a new brick church had already been approved prior to the fire. Later in the year, the new brick church was completed at a cost of $35,000.

1929 - The new sanctuary was occupied by the congregation during the early part of the year. A few months later, the church installed a pipe organ built by the Frazee Organ Company of Everett, Mass., and installed by Charles A. Ryder. The organ consisted of 3,300 pipes. The Ladies Aid Society sponsored the purchase and installation of the first pipe organ for the sanctuary and it was played by church organist Mrs. J.W “Margaret'' Helms.

1947 - Church officials began looking at building a parsonage, and did so alongside Redding Road a short time later. About the same time, the church began work on some other expansion projects.

1951 - A new pipe organ is installed in the church.

1955 – The United Methodist Men chapter is chartered at the church.

1959 - The two-story wing of the church running from the Redding Road entrance area to the current Christian Activity Center is opened with an open house on September 27, 1959. This new facility was to house primarily the current Sunday school classes. Ground had been broken on October 5, 1958. Plans had also previously been drawn by Selmon T. Franklin and Associates for a new sanctuary facing the current sanctuary in a perpendicular pattern near the current Christian Activity Center Building. However, it was never built.

1961 - Noted evangelist E. Stanley Jones holds a revival at the church.

1973 - The church observes its 50th anniversary with a special service on October 14, 1973.

Early 1970(s) - Altar cloths were purchased as memorial gifts in a project initiated by Leona Whitaker. Mrs. Whitaker had been to First-Centenary United Methodist Church and noticed their handsome altar cloths, so she started a project in which Red Bank United Methodist ordered theirs from the same place in England.

Early-to Mid 1970(s) - Lee Anne DeFriese became the first female acolyte in the church's history. According to her mother, Anne DeFriese, Lee Anne's brother, Mark, had been an acolyte, and she wondered why she could not also serve as one. The Reverend Smalling said it was “Okay”, and thus she made history.

1979 - A huge crowd turns out in February 1979 to help the Reverend Edgar Lewis, the minister of visitation at the church, celebrate his 90th birthday.

1985 - The church begins its fund-raising drive to add on to the sanctuary and build a Christian Activity Center.

1987 - The church begins a singles ministry. A singles group was formed on November 19, 1987, with six women and two men.

1988 - The church breaks ground on its Christian Activity Center (CAC) and sanctuary addition with a special service on August 7, 1988.

1989 - The church dedicates and consecrates its new CAC and sanctuary addition on December 17, 1989. The church also holds a special cornerstone ceremony at that time.

1996 - The church completes its new parsonage in Hixson and finishes the elevator, choir rooms and handicapped accessible restrooms in the South Wing of the church.

1997 - Brenda Holloway and Natalie Smart are named associate ministers, becoming the first women ever named as either a senior minister or associate minister at Red Bank United Methodist. The old parsonage was eventually moved to a Runyan Drive address near the Komatsu Plant.

1999 – An outside consultant visited the church in April and interviewed a number of people connected with the church and previously collected data was studied. Recommendations were made as a result of this study that included a blended worship style that incorporated contemporary aspects within the context of orderly worship. The prayer chapel was refurbished in honor of George Worth by Ann Worth, George’s wife, and their two sons, Bill and Greg. In the fall, the original church bell was mounted adjacent the wooden church sign facing Dayton Boulevard. The bell had been in storage for ten years since the sanctuary addition had been completed. This sign work was funded by memorial contributions in honor of Mr. Bill Wimpy and Mrs. Rhea Watkins.


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