Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
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Mount Pilgrim was organized 1880
Mt. Pilgrim Colored Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by George Hodge, Enoch Ammon and W. S. Jackson under the leadership of Shepherd Middleton in 1880, ten (10) years after the Colored Methodist Church emerged out of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Reverend Middleton was a Circuit Rider, who rode a horse, carrying the Gospel from one Charge to another. The Reverends Parson Brown and John Craft were local preachers.
The Colored Methodist Episcopal Church was established as a result of continued discontent arising out of the Civil War and the Slavery situation.
Mt. Pilgrim was organized during the Second Blessing Movement and / or the National Holiness Movement, which seemed to have a profound effect upon the citizens in Denton County. Other charter members were Edwina Hodge, Sarah Ammons, L. V. Jackson, Nancy Middleton, Monroe and Delia White., Nancy Swanks, Fannie Dukes, Robert and Ellie Arch, Henry and Janie Moore, Emily Boaham, Harriet Boaham, Roxie Wheeler Rucker, Jeff and Janie Moore, Emily Day, G.W. and M. Truelove, Gabe and Mattie Shegog, Mary Shegog, Jerry and Ella Jackson, Suddie Kinne, L.L. and Elsa Creglor, Levi, Florence, and Josie Donald, Linnie Stevenson Arnold, Miles and Matilda Craft, Catherine Brumbley, Jim and Field Brown, Walter Smith Sr., Pete and Hannah Gober Jane Berry, Jim and Arnie Jackson and Joe Simpson. These faithful few held weekly services on "Hodg'e Lot," property believed to have been owned by George and Edwina Hodge, which was located approximately midway the block on Allen Street (formerly Short Street) in Southeast Denton (now known as East Denton).
In 1910, Reverend George Benson, a builder by trade, was given the task as Preacher-In-Charge of Mt. Pilgrim Colored Methodist Episcopal Church.
Under his architectural skills and God's Divine Guidance, the first Church was built at 337 Robertson Street. This land was purchased by the Church on July 7, 1909 from George and Edwina Hodge for 600 dollars.
Reverend Benson would gather the neighborhood children in his buggy taking them to the church for "children meeting" where he taught them the books of the Bible, Susie Jackson (1988) recalled. He served this Charge for four (4) years. Members continued to worship in the wood frame edifice for more than half a century.
Reverend R. R. Northcut served as pastor for ten years. Under his leadership the church experienced tremendous growth in membership, attendance, and youth activities. Rev W.E. Patterson continued the work of Rev. Northcut, expanding its educational programs, and building the music program under the direction of Mrs. Jeffie Chance Nelson.
Reverend C. Brown was appointed to Mt. Pilgrim Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in 1951. He initiated plans for erecting a new facility. The old Church was moved to the North of the present building. The foundation forms were put in place, concrete poured, the framed walls, gables and rafters were erected, but due to the lack of support the roof collapsed. The dream of a new church remained in limbo for three (3) years.
In 1954, the General Conference met in Memphis, Tennessee, and voted to change the name of the Church from the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church to Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. This action released the Church from the possibility of racial segregation stigma. The Methodist Church has always had an open door policy to those seeking salvation.
Reverend Floyd Willis Haynes was assigned to the now Mt. Pilgrim Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in 1957. He felt a need to continue Rev. Brown's work on constructing a new church building. Homer Herod (1989) said, "Haynes was not a good preacher, but he knew how to lead a congregation.
He would say "every time I build a church, I have a nervous breakdown."
Shortly afterward, Rev. Haynes became ill and from his bed had the awesome task of guiding his flock. Assistant Pastor, Melton Lott, and the following trustees and stewards: Homer Herod, Pauline Smith, James (Pete) Jackson, Herman Herod, Fannie Jackson, W.L. Kimble, Bernice Reed, William (Bill) McConnell, William Y.B. Reed, Roy Lewshaw, Andrew Clark, and the dedicated membership, trusting in God as their Chief Cornerstone, preserved. On January 16, 1958, a dream came true; a new brick veneer edifice was completed. A great dedication feast was prepared. Reverend W.A. Schultz and his congregation, Miles Chapel C.M.E. Church, Tyler, Texas came to celebrate with us. Reverend Schultz had the pleasure of preaching the first sermon in our new facility.
Reverend Floyd Willis Haynes never recovered from his illness. He was funeralized on September 24, 1958 with interment at Oakwood Cemetery, Denton, Texas.
In 1992, under the leadership of Reverend Alexander, the church entertained the idea of raising funds for the possibility of building a new edifice. At the time B.J. Lott was Church Anniversary Director and as monies were collected they were placed in an account for major projects. As customary in the Methodist Church, Pastor Alexander was transferred to another charge and subsequently Bro. B.J. Lott moved away. During this time LaVicia "Vicki" Hill was chosen as Church Anniversary Director. In 1992 Reverend A.L. Sims became out pastor. Under his leadership the general discussion was that the facility's structural integrity was poor and beyond rehabilitation or remodeling. It was at this meeting, April 4, 1992, Mt Pilgrim officially voted to build a new edifice, and Mt. Pilgrim went full speed ahead with raising funds.
In the year of 2000, Pastor Sims' departure sadden May members, but his honesty and integrity followed him into the Denton Independent School District as a principal.
We were then introduced to Pastor V.L. Brown who continued to carry the torch. After three years, Pastor Brown was moved to another charge members continued to give liberally to the Church Anniversary Fund and with the knowledge and investment skill of our members we were able to begin construction of our new edifice.
In the year of 2004 we were blessed to have been sent Revered Christopher U. Neal who served as pastor for 10 years.
We were tremendously blessed to have Mr. John Trent and Mr. Fred Hill as our builders and the assistance of Mr. William G. Clark, and their cost was pro bono. In 2005, the church building was 75% paid in advance, the 25% was paid in full on January 20, 2009 (a significant date to us and our country) leaving the church with no debt.
In the year of 2014 Reverend Keaton R. Fuller was assigned to Mt. Pilgrim, and serves as our current pastor. Under Reverend Fuller's leadership we've grown steadily spiritually and numerically. Since Rev. Fuller's appointment we've continued to add and expand our church ministries.
Throughout the many years in the Denton, Texas Mount Pilgrim C.M.E. Church remains active and an essential organization in the community we serve.