Aspiring for a spire: Bristol church finally aquires steeple

Aspiring for a spire: Bristol church finally aquires steeple

By Tom Netherland/ Bristol Herald Courier

BRISTOL, Va. (Sept. 30, 2017)  — Hunt Memorial United Methodist Church rose up to kiss the sky on Tuesday morning.

Anticipate a long relationship to follow.

After more than a half-century, Hunt Memorial UMC finally earned its wings of sorts. A steeple, long absent from their house of worship, was erected atop the church on Tuesday. Amid ceremony and wondrous circumstance, a crowd of church members and dignitaries, including past Hunt Memorial pastor Clarence Dishman, beheld the momentous occasion.

“Oh, it’s terrific! We got her up!” said Dishman, pastor of Hunt Memorial UMC from 1956 through 1962. “Somebody said it just made a new church out of that building.”

Rev. Caroline Hawthorne, pastor of the church since 2012, recalled the day that she and her late husband first laid eyes on Hunt Memorial.

“Whenever somebody first came here, they’d say they didn’t realize it was a church,” said Hawthorne, of Bristol, Tennessee. “It’s one of the first things that my husband and I noticed when we got here.”

Hunt Memorial UMC dates to the early 1900s. The current building was built and completed in the late 1950s under Dishman’s tenure as pastor.

“They ran out of money,” Hawthorne said, “so they didn’t put a steeple up.”

Decades passed. Pastors and membership came, preached and worshipped at Hunt, and many moved on from one consequence or other.

Then an epiphany struck Dishman one night about a year and a half ago.


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