From our Centennial narrative:
The exact date of the founding of this church is not known. The original deeds were signed on December 2, 1880.
R.G. Brank and wife Lucinda, adjoining an acre given by James M.Parker and wife Matilda gave One acre of land. The property was granted “unto Judson Haren, A. F. Eller, and James Whithed (Whitted) trustees appointed by the different church organizations”…. To have and to hold”… so long as used for church purposes by the orthodox churches”
The people who founded this union of churches had withdrawn membership from Longs Chapel, which was a Northern Methodist Church in the community. They first put up a little church built of log and slabs to be used while they were building a better one. This was known as “Slab College” because a Bill Williams taught school there. Then a one-room frame building was constructed and named Pleasant Grove Union Church.
The Reverend Alfred Penland, a Presbyterian was the first minister to serve as pastor.
In 1887 a Methodist class was organized. Some of the early ministers were Rev. J.A. Reagan, J.W. Vandiver and Montraville Weaver.
Baptist ministers held services from time to time and contributed to the church is various ways.
In 1913, two rooms were added to the one room building, one on either side. Classrooms were partitioned for Sunday School by curtains being drawn.
By 1940 the building was in need of much repair. A committee was appointed to take necessary steps and estimate costs. Two of the members, who worked remodeling, houses for a real estate firm were asked’ to inspect the roof, it was in need of immediate attention. When the committee met with them and asked what they had decided; one replied “we decided to build a new church!”
A new building would certainly mean a large sum of money; but so would repairs.
As the property was a union church, no help could be given from the funds of either the Methodist Conference or the Presbyterian Board. There was much discussion as to ways and means for a new church. Some said it couldn’t be done; so they waited and prayed.
One day a letter was sent to the Church from one of the members saying, ”we must have a church!” She and one of her grandsons had carried two rocks and placed them as a start. The date was August 24, 1940. Miss Clara Caldwell of Fort Worth, Texas upon hearing of the placing of the rocks, sent a five-dollar donation. So with five dollars, two rocks, faith and many prayers, in October 1940, work on a new church was begun.
Mrs. Lucy Posey who had been chairman of the ‘Committee on Repairs’ became Secretary-Treasurer of the Building Fund. A. F. Parker was foreman of the building and Buel Parker, who was a rock mason and builder, did the rock work.
The people of the community gave of their money time and materials. When cash would run low, the Lord would send more. The Reverend Vernon Hall donated his salary back into the building fund. As work progressed, others became interested and people from fifteen states made contributions. No temporary work was done on the building and there was no debt at any time.
The congregation moved into the new church in 1942, though it was several years before work was completed.
In May 1944 a deed was signed by M.C. Parker and Bertha Parker his wife. It conveyed one fourth of an acre of land to C.E. Roberts, W.D. Herron, R.S. Parker, Mrs. A.F. Parker, and Richard Hamilton, as trustees for Pleasant Grove Church.” M. Cooper Parker was the son of James Parker, one of the earlier property donors. This new acreage provided space for a driveway to the back of the church and parking along the side,
In 1962 the presbytery moved the membership of the Pleasant Grove Presbyterians to the Hemphill church. They could continue attendance at Pleasant Grove but would have no church government there. Many transferred to the Methodist organization. Some have joined the Pleasant Grove Union Church stating a Presbyterian preference; others have joined claiming a Baptist preference. The Methodist Church, is in the Asheville District of the Western North Carolina Conference. The Methodist Pastor preaches on the first, third, and fifth Sundays.
From 1962 to 1970 a Lay speaker, from the Methodist district preached on the second Sunday each month and every fifth Sunday. In 1970 the Rev. Wayne Davis, who was the Beech Presbyterian Pastor, agreed to preach one Sunday a month. He accepted whatever the offering was at that service as his salary. When he left the community to serve another church in 1975, the Rev William Wing 11 of the Weaverville Presbyterian church took his place at Pleasant Grove keeping the same arrangement.
The Rev. Robert E Harris was the Baptist minister from 1954 until his death in 2007. Since 1970, he gave his salary back to the church, and therefore, for many years, he accepted no salary. Once a year in the late autumn; Rev. Harris held a one-week revival. Some years he did the preaching; usually he invited a guest preacher and arranged to have special music.
The Sunday School and church trustees handle the business of the church. Volunteers handle the care of the cemetery and the church grounds.
The rock structure stands as it has since 1942.
The aisles in the sanctuary have been carpeted. A new organ and piano have replaced the older ones. Two classrooms have been added in the basement and the bathrooms have been remodeled.
The belfry has been rebuilt using cedar around the sides, and the steeple was replaced with a copper cross. A sound system for playing chimes was donated and beautiful music sometimes drifts over the hills.
Inside the belfry, the bell that calls the community to worship is the same bell that rang for many past generations.
Inside the sanctuary remains the same promise “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. ( Matt. 18:20)
We invite you to join with us for worship this week. Our church school meets at 10:00 o’clock, and worship is at 11:00 o’clock. Most people dress in casual clothing. We look forward to meeting you!