A Brief History of Chandler's Grove United Methodist Church
1871 - 2015
In 1871, Kendrick Chandler donated the land for Chandler's Grove. The church had its beginnings sometime prior to August 8, 1871. The original building was replaced in 1911 by the building currently in use. Reverend George William Bumgarner said that Chandler's Grove was probably the oldest Methodist Episcopal Church in Montgomery County.
Our first pastor was S.R. Roper, who served one year. For the first 60 years, Chandler's Grove was an active rural church. Vernon A. Morton became pastor in 1929 and had a membership of approximately 75, mostly farmers with large families.
The depression hit the community very hard, and the young people moved away to find work. By 1956 the membership had fallen to approximately 28 people, most of whom did not live in the community.
From 1954-1991 lay preachers served the church. Some of them were Lee Roy Hunt, Hal Varner, P.H. Pholk, Jack Luther, and Elsie Hardister. Some of these men went on to become ministers in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. For the larger part of 21 years the church was kept alive by the perseverance of the lay preacher Elsie Hardister. He held services on the first and third Sunday of each month from 1970-1991.
Reverend Vernon Morton retired to this area in 1972. He and others of the faithful few members conducted a survey to help spark interest in the church, and made many a home visit to area residents. At this time the area consisted of mainly families who had come from nearby towns and built homes around the lake. The visiting worked and the attendance began to grow.
In June of 1991, Chandler's Grove was reunited with the Western Conference of United Methodist Churches and joined the Eldorado Charge which included three other churches, all pastored by Reverend Derald Smith. The church has continued to grow and thrive while adding Sunday school programs, a Children's Church and a Bus Ministry.
On July 4th, 2004 Chandler's Grove officially went station with Derald Smith as the full-time pastor. In early 2005 the church membership stood at 174 and was still growing strong with the Lord. Then, in November 2005 the church embarked on Phase I of a multi-phased building project that included moving the church back three hundred feet from the road, adding thirty feet to the sanctuary, doubling the size of the fellowship hall, and adding classrooms. During the move and expansion the congregation met at Lane’s Chapel to worship for over a year. We are grateful to the people of Lane’s Chapel to let us use their chapel during that time.
We moved back to the expanded church in November of 2006 and began the work of landscaping the property. A meditation garden was completed in 2012, and includes the traditional three crosses, an open tomb, a stream with a waterfall and pond, and granite tile walkways including many with inscriptions in grateful appreciation of some and in memory of others who are and were special to our church.
Today we are blessed with a membership of 197 families and individuals and growing steadily. The Lord has blessed the members of Chandler's Grove United Methodist Church for more than 100 years and our prayer is that He will not only continue to bless the members of the church, but also the community in which He has allowed us to minister.
Original Sanctuary Circa 1920's
Sanctuary Slide Show
New expanded Sanctuary Circa 2012