By Brent Treash
ABINGDON, Va. – The history of Abingdon United Methodist Church reaches almost as far back as the history of the town itself. The congregation of the church dates itself back to 1783, when early Methodists met in homes for study and prayer.
One century later, following several temporary locations of worship, the congregation of Abingdon United Methodist Church laid the cornerstone for what would become their permanent location. At the ceremony to lay the cornerstone of the building, several objects including a Bible, hymnal, and the names of church members who had each paid 25-cents to have their name placed on a piece of paper, were placed in the building-block.
Today, the beauty and history of the structure is in need of a restoration. To help pay for this, Abingdon United Methodist Church is currently in the process of raising funds for a $500,000 capital campaign. The funds will be used to make needed repairs to the historic building located on Main St. in downtown Abingdon.
“It’s remarkable to think about the faith that our church leaders one-hundred years ago possessed to build this beautiful building,” said Joe Lyle, a lay leader with the church. “We’re still here over a hundred years later, and we have an obligation to restore it.”
Updates include replacing mortar in the bricks of the bell tower and spire, roof replacements on the main church building and offices as well as the surrounding parsonages, exterior painting, repairs to the stained glass, and the installation of a security system.
“It’s a wonderful time to be a part of this church,” said the Rev. Sherry Boles. “The capital campaign is not a burden; it’s an opportunity for us to be a part of a history.”
The church celebrated the kick-off for the construction process by writing messages of prayer on ribbons that will be attached to the iron gates at the front of the church.
Currently over $426,000 has been pledged by the congregation and community. Scaffolding for the building project has recently been put in place, and the work is expected to be complete by this fall.