Wilsonville’s oldest church dates all the way to 1869

Published 10:39 am Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Wilsonville United Methodist Church is the oldest church in the town of Wilsonville.

Although Wilsonville was first settled in 1812, the church was not organized until 1869.

Its 11 founding members were H.S. Self, B.K. Self, E.J. Self, John Gwin, G.W. McGowen, M.J. McGowen, R.W. Turner, Percellia Robertson, Anne Turner, M.J. Pennington and M.M. Taylor.

The church’s first services were held in a one-room schoolhouse across the street from its present location atop the hill beside Wilsonville Elementary School.

The original location of the schoolhouse is now Wilsonville’s cemetery.

The first pastor was the Rev. D.S. McDonald, who also pastored the Harpersville-Vincent circuit.

The present church was built in the early 1870. A parsonage was added east of the church in 1897 and torn down in 1961.

The home of Rebecca Wilson Holland, daughter of Wilsonville’s namesake, James Wilson, was willed to the church upon Holland’s daughter’s passing.

When the home was torn down, it was replaced with a brick parsonage. That building now serves as Wilsonville’s Fire Department Annex.

The church does not currently own a parsonage.

A renovation in the early 1960s provided the church with new pews. When the stained glass windows were installed in 1966, the stairway to the bell tower and a storage room were removed for the installation.

The windows at the side of the church came from a salvage company in Birmingham at the price of $50 each. The front doors, constructed of panels held together with wooden pegs, were replaced in 1979.

Church members have continued to update the building, adding a fellowship hall in the early 1990s, and more improvements were done just last year.

The church plans to continue ministering to the community for many years to come.

Catherine Cousins can be reached by e–mail at info@catherinecousins.com.