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Churches

Church History

Pleasant Hill UMC Sevierville

Serving Christ for Generations

 

Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church is located on Whites School Road in Sevier County, approximately 3/4 of a mile from Chapman Highway/U.S. Highway 441. The community surrounding the church has always been primarily rural agricultural with many family farms and residences.

Early Methodism - Following a visit by Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury to Sevier County in 1808, the early 1800’s was a time of revival and camp meetings by Methodists in the county. Records indicate many revival meetings were held for two weeks at a time. Most revival meeting were held outdoors and families would camp in tents or temporary shelters, uncomfortable at best in inclement weather. Middle Creek was an established Methodist campground meeting location by 1822.

Around the 1830 – 1840 time period in Sevier County, many growing Methodist and Baptist congregations began meeting together – often utilizing the same buildings for separate services. This was the case for the Pleasant Hill Methodist and Antioch Baptist congregations. Their common “meeting house” was presumably a crude log structure located in what is now the front parking lot area of Pleasant Hill near the intersection of Whites School Road and Pleasant Hill Road.

Community Meeting House - the meeting house location was ideal for the Whites community as there was a large area for parking wagons and securing horses, along with large oak trees provided shade in the heat and a nearby spring and later a well that provided water for the animals – and the church-goers.

This meeting house was not only used as a location for worship, but was also a voting location for the community and a place for holding local political rallies. The meeting house was used once for the graduation ceremony for an 8th grade class, and also was the meeting place for able-bodied men to gather to work on the local roads in the spring while women would prepare and serve food to the workers.

The Pleasant Hill and Antioch congregations continued sharing the meeting house through the mid to late 1800’s, reportedly even having shared Sunday school “Union Meetings.” Although the State of Tennessee seceded from the Union, during the Civil War, the Pleasant Hill congregation and most of Sevier County remained Union supporters.

Church Built - In the late 1800’s, both congregations had outgrown the meeting house and made arrangements to construct separate church buildings to house their congregations. In 1879, nearby land was donated by Marion Pierce, son of Pleasant Pierce for the Methodist congregation. The land transfer deed, dated March 14, 1879, included the names Daniel Parsons, Caleb Jenkins, W.B. Murphy, Jasper Gibson, J.R. Tarwater and Matthew Tarwater, appointed Trustees by the Quarterly Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Construction on the original structure was completed and dedication of the new sanctuary was held in 1892. Most of the materials and labor was donated. Many of the original members were related to each other and would pitch in on each others farms to allow all the men time to work on building the church. The original building was five to six feet above ground in the front with the corners resting on large rocks. The back of the church building was resting on the ground. There were two sets of double doors at the front and wooden steps all across the front. During this time all Sunday school classes met in the sanctuary. The church was first heated with a large wood stove, followed by a state-of-the-art pot-bellied stove for wood and finally a coal stove.

This Day In 1939 - Pleasant Hill was a part of the Pigeon Forge Parish of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The minister was Rev. Claude Vance Bellamy and the church happily had 132 members on the roll. The Sunday school met at 9:30 each Sunday and the Superintendent was Z.H. Walker. Being part of a circuit and sharing the minister, worship was held on every fourth Sunday at 2:00 PM and on the fifth Sunday worship was at 10:30 AM.

Major Renovation - a major building renovation was undertaken in 1944. A basement level was dug out by hand to provide classrooms, a kitchen and most importantly, indoor restrooms. Prior to this there were two outdoor toilets – men and women’s outhouses. During this renovation, an addition to the front of the building was constructed to make more classroom space and the front doors were changed out to a single entry door (the original wood doors are now part of the Chapel in Dollywood).

Sanctuary Updated - more updates to the building were provided in 1967-1968. New pews (by Earl Rugel Woodworking Co.) were bought by individual families and dedicated in memory of deceased members. Carpet was installed inside and the outside of the building was bricked. A large wooden cross was placed in the sanctuary that was backed with crimson fabric. In more recent years a picnic pavilion was added as a youth group project.

Activities Building - this new building adjacent to the Church but fronting Pleasant Hill Road, was planned and constructed by the Church congregation. The generosity of the congregation and friends, along with the additional land being donated to the Church enabled the project to be completed and the building completely paid for when occupied in the fall of 2002.

 

Information From: Our Heritage, Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church. 2014. Pat Austin.

 

Worship Times

Sunday 9:30 a.m. Sunday Morning Worship

Sunday 10:45 a.m. Sunday School Class

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