Hometown History: Waxhaw United Methodist Church

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In the summer, visitors to Waxhaw may consider taking a stroll along the Waxhaw Historic Walking Tour. Warmer weather and relaxed schedules give people the motivation and the time to get outside and take in the sights, map in one hand, iced coffee in the other. Following the suggested path will have them beginning their journey at 200 Mc Donald Street, the site of Waxhaw United Methodist Church.

The church sign welcomes visitors.

Waxhaw United Methodist Church was established in 1888, one year before the town was chartered. It was the first church within the town limits. The original wood-framed building sat behind the current location of the church. It was built in 1889 on the corner of West Price and North Church Streets.

Waxhaw United Methodist Church is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Being the first church in town, they opened up their Sunday School program to form an interdenominational class with the Baptist and Presbyterian churches. The original frame church sat in the same spot from 1889 until 1906, when it moved one block south and across Church Street to the northwest corner of Church and McDonald Streets.

On November 23rd, 1923, groundbreaking for the new brick building began. The cornerstone reads, “Waxhaw M.E.; Church South; Nov. 26 1923, E. N. Crowder P. C.” Church records show that “Bishop Edwin Mouzon dedicated it on October 14th, 1928. Benjamin F. Price, ‘Uncle Ben’, and his sister Sara Elizabeth Price, ‘Aunt Lizzie’, gave a sum equal to the total raised by the rest of the congregation.” The Prices also donated the lot behind the church for future use and expansion.

Cornerstone at Matthews United Methodist Church
The names of those present at the groundbreaking are preserved behind glass.

The brick church was built using Gothic Revival style architecture. According to church records, “The estimated cost of the new building was about $17, 000 dollars.” At today’s value, that would be around $232,340.

The bell tower rope-pull can be seen hanging down the white wooden ceiling.
The architecture is Gothic Revival style.

The first wedding performed in the new church building was that of Miss Helen Niven and Mr. Henry Gamble. Their daughter, Ms. Patsy McGee is still a member of Waxhaw United Methodist. Patsy is a lively, friendly woman who is involved in the music program and plays the church organ. “If you don’t go to church, I’d like to invite you here,” Ms. Patsy said.

In 1949, the church installed a Hammond Organ. In 1950 an oil furnace was installed. On January 12, 1957, the church experienced a sudden fire, which caused $10,000 worth of damage to the structure. In the process of repairing the sanctuary, the interior underwent another revision. It was changed from the pulpit-centered style, which had been the dominant Protestant tradition for the past 300 years, to the more modern alter-centered style, also known as a divided-chancel sanctuary.

The newer alter-centered sanctuary.

Waxhaw United Methodist Church has continued to add on and expand over the years. They now run a Weekday Children’s Ministry Child Development Center in addition to their traditional church services. Sunday mornings see a Celebration Service at 9:00 am, which incorporates more modern worship music. There are 10:00 am Small Group meetings, and then the Traditional Service is held at 11:00 am. Anyone interested in visiting can call 704-843-3931 to find out more about their programs. They can also email cathy@waxhawumc.com, or even visit the church’s Facebook page, listed under Waxhaw UMC.

Stained glass windows surround the sanctuary.
Windows are in memorium of loved ones that died in the early 1900s.
An outside view of the stained glass.
Door handles remain from 1928.

A cross-shaped cut out in the brick courtyard wall frames this hydrangea bush.
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Annie Beth Donahue lives in Indian Trail, North Carolina with her husband Brad, and four children. She is a professional writer for both the web and print, and she can be found at www.anniebethdonahue.com.

Annie Beth also has a bachelor's degree in music therapy from Queens University of Charlotte, and has either been working with or parenting children with special needs for the past 18 years. She is a children's book author and the founder and president of Signposts Ministries, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves families that have children with chronic health problems or disabilities. In her non-working time, she homeschools and oversees the children's care of their small menagerie made up of chickens, two donkeys, a dog, a cat, and a snake.