Amis Chapel UMC marks 100th anniversary

Rick Wagner • Sep 25, 2019 at 10:30 AM

Amis Chapel United Methodist Church celebrated its 100th anniversary Sunday, Sept. 15. However, the roots of the church go back even further into Hawkins County history in the rural area surrounding Carters Valley Road near Surgoinsville.

The anniversary celebration drew 119 people and included lunch afterwards.

The Rev. Jack Edwards, former senior pastor of First Broad Street United Methodist Church in Kingsport and a six-year superintendent of the former Morristown District of the UMC, gave the sermon. That followed music and a message by the Rev. Brian Burchfield, a music evangelist whose home church is Amis Chapel and who still lives nearby.

Greg Fletcher, the pastor of Amis Chapel, wore bib overalls as did some other men to pay tribute to the history, while some of the women donned vintage-looking “granny” dresses for the day.

Mitzi Carr, Miranda Bennett and Jane Peters played piano. Burchfield sang and also reunited the Amis Chapel Trio, now a quartet. Hazel Barton, Helen Crigger and Glenda Barrett sang with Burchfield at the service.

According to an abbreviated history, Amis Chapel UMC grew out of a church called Limestone on Stony Point Road, with the first pastor there circa Oct. 17, 1899, being listed as “the Rev. Bowling.”

The Amis Chapel church of the 20th century grew out of services first held in a wood planing mill building located across the creek from the current Amis Chapel, 122 Amis Chapel Road, just off Carter’s Valley Road and next to the Reeves Angus Farm. The land upon which the wood-frame church is located was purchased Sept. 19, 1917, from W. L. or William Amis for $1,000, with the deed made to trustees G.F. or Frank Armstrong, Jon Christian and John Amis.

The name came from the church being a part of the Amis Farm. The building was constructed in 1919 by men of the community and dedicated in 1921, the history says. The first pastor was he Rev. S.D. Lambert and the first three members to be baptized into the church were Joe Amis, Alpha Amis and Bertha Mae Amis.

The church grew in membership and, in the 1950s, added three Sunday school rooms to the upper or east side of the building. The first piano was a gift from First Broad Street Methodist Church in 1953. Between 1960 and 1962, while the Rev. J.T. Ratledge was pastor, two more Sunday school rooms were built at the back of the church.

In 1968, under the Rev. Leroy Snapp, services were changed from Sunday afternoons, which accommodated morning farm work schedules, to Sunday mornings. That was the same year the United Methodist Church was formed from a merger of the Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church.

In 1978, the church added two bathrooms to the front of the building to replace the his-and-her double outhouse behind the church. In 1984, Amis Chapel and Elm Springs United Methodist Churches partnered to build a parsonage, which was dedicated in 1986. The red brick Amis Chapel Fellowship Hall was completed and dedicated in 1992.

The Amis Chapel United Methodist Women started in 1953. One of eight charter members, Evelyn Henderson, is still living and attends the church. The oldest church member is Mammie Ruth Rutledge, 92. She and her sister, Helen Worley, attended the service.

The church is part of the new Appalachian District of the Holston Conference of the UMC. Sunday services normally include singing and preaching at 9:30 a.m. followed by Sunday school at 10:30 a.m. On Wednesday, there’s usually a 6:30 p.m. meal followed by Bible study at 7 p.m.

Kingsport Times News Videos