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Flint Hill United Methodist Church-Caledonia Mississippi
compiled and written by Verna Rhee Egger
Since the beginning of time, people have met in some kind of place to worship, and a group from the surrounding community was no different when they organized Flint Hill Church, originally know as Union Chapel.
On June 4, 1868, five acres of land was deeded to the trustees and their successors by William Hudson and Elisha Lawrence and a log building was constructed here near Dawson Spring. This brought to life the words of Jesus, saying to Peter, "upon this rock I will build my church".
Minutes from a church meeting on July 3, 1869 shows that the church was off to a good start spiritually and financially with 45 Sabbath school scholars and a sufficient library. Later records show that in 1905, Flint Hill had 308 members.
Mr. D.H. Greer was one of the early trustees and names among the first preachers were Rev. Harrison, Gordon, Ellis and John Egger.
Proving that all of God's work has a purpose, in 1889 the congregation made use of timber blown down in a storm by having logs sawed into lumber and constructing the present building. The pastor at that time was Rev. Kilgore, and the presiding elder was Brother Gilroy Porter. the church was renamed Flint Hill.
Mr. Henry Barrentine and Mr. John Darnell gave $50.00 each toward the purchase of the first organ and the organist was Miss Otis Spruill, who later became Mrs. Tom Pergerson. Among the first song directors were Mr. Billie Duncan and Robbie Duncan.
Flint Hill has been the site of a two-room school, and even brush arbors, added for revivals when the crowds were too large for the house. For instance, in the summer of 1905, when Evangelist Bob Clark preached and Mr. Clarence Greer sang, they were added.
For many years, a singing school was an annual event. Some of the singing school teachers remembered are Galveston Pullen (early 1900's), Edgar Pennington, Noah Pennington, Z. Stapp, J. Harper, Miss Collins, Ina Gardner and Mr. Greer.
Several outstanding ministers and singers have gone out from the congregation here and some of these and some former pastors are often invited back to speak on special occasions.
Homecoming, an annual event, was begun in 1954 when the pastor was Rev. R. C. Nanney. That year, a campaign was started to raise funds to add Sunday school rooms, and in 1955 at homecoming, the addition was formally dedicated. Other changes over the years have been electric lights, gas heat, air conditioning and rest rooms. New pulpit furniture was given by Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Mangum. When the new pews were added, many were given in memory of loved ones who had passed away. This emphasized the fact that Flint Hill holds many memories for many people, some fond and some sad, but we revere these memories and hold a prayer in our hearts for the future of the church and all whose lives it touches.
In memory of Mr. Thomas C. Andrews, new hymnals were given to the church by his family. This was in 1974 when Bro. James Townsend was pastor.
One former pastor, Rev. R. C. Nanney, chose to return to this area to live after his retirement and he has often been called on for special services.
In 1969, a few families left Flint Hill along with Clyde Sullivan who was pastor at the time, and organized St. Paul's Independent Methodist Church.
For many years, one week bible schools were an annual event. There was also a very active MYF until we ran out of young people. As the senior citizens passed away, and the young people grew into adults and became leaders in the church, the attendance grew somewhat smaller but those who came were sincere, faithful and dedicated to preserving the heritage set forth by their forefathers.
Work days at the church are not uncommon when there is painting, repairs, maintenance or cleaning of the church and grounds to be done. In 1972, new exterior wall covering was put on the Sunday school rooms and metal awnings installed over the doors.
Additions and improvements were ongoing projects. In 1979 carpet was added to the sanctuary floor and in 1980 a public address system was installed.
In 1981 cushions were added to the pews and shrubbery planted on the grounds. In 1982 a stained glass framed and lighted cross was placed in the church by Schyler & Rosemary Ferrell honoring the pastor, Rev. Grady Hudson and their baby boy. The glass work was done by Schyler and the framing and wiring by Charles F. Williams. Also, that year a new communion set was given in memory of Armon Betts by his family. In 1983 a new sign of brick and glass was erected in front of the church and an area of the yard was paved through special contributions and members labor.
In 1985 a new roof was put on the church, removing old roof down to the lathe on the sanctuary and only new shingles and paper on classrooms.
In 1986 the project of replacing windows in the sanctuary was begun, using aluminum frames. This and the installation of vinyl siding on the exterior walls of the sanctuary was completed in early 1987. Also, in 1987, the wood trim around the inside of windows was completed along with painting of all interior wood trim and front doors. New columns were added to the front of the building.
A unit of United Methodist Women was organized in May, 1987, with 10 members. A cookbook, sponsored by this organization was published in March, 1988. In the summer of 1988, miniblinds were installed on the windows of the sanctuary using proceeds from the sale of the UMW cookbooks.
In March of 1988, some additional sound system equipment was installed to help the hearing impaired. In June, 1989, the PA equipment was stolen with no clues toward its recovery. A new set was given to the church by Atlas Boyer in July, 1991.
On June 17, 1990, a brass alter set (cross and candlesticks) were given in memory of Clyde Ott by his wife and children. New brass offering plates were given by Verna Rhee Egger in July, 1990.
In the early part of 1989, a central heating and cooling system was installed.
A pictorial directory was done in 1993.
New front doors were installed April 16, 1992 and a wheelchair ramp was constructed October 24, 1992. In 1991 and again in 1993, a very successful one day (Saturday) bible school was held.
From a special offering at communion time, a good neighbor fund was set up to help needy causes in the community. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, food baskets are given to needy families.
Caroling at Christmas of the elderly and shut-ins has been an annual event for many years.
The first ever Valentine Banquet was held at the church on February 13, 1993 with ticket sales to go into a fund for building a fellowship hall. Some special donations were given. Then on August 1, 1993, a meeting was held to discuss, decide and plan after which motion was made by Dorris King and seconded by Brenda Westbrook to proceed with the building. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion. Those in attendance were Charles & Atlas Boyer, Jack & Dorothy Langford, Zack & Brenda Westbrook, Tommy & Sandy Clegg, Jimmy & Doris Coleman, Karl & Rita Williams, Melvin Polk, Marie Williams, Verna Rhee Egger, Rebie Egger, Frances Duncan, Lula Mae Ott, Dorris King and Bro. Earl Cooper. The foundation was poured on March 5, 1994, and on April 9, 1994 the first workday was held with a team of volunteer workers from Border Springs Church and the men from Flint Hill. The ladies served lunch. The next group workday was April 23, and work continued off and on during the summer and fall at night and on Saturdays until it was completed October 22, just in time for the annual homecoming on Sunday, October 23, 1994. It was formally dedicated January 28, 1995. The Mississippi Methodist conference contributed $1,750.00 to this project. The second Valentine banquet was held February 11, 1995 in the new hall and became an annual event.
An Easter Sunrise Service was held April 16, 1995 and repeated in 1996 and 1997 with attendance growing each year.
Christmas programs and family night potluck or cook-out suppers are regular affairs.
In the spring of 1995, a confirmation class was completed and a Sunday School growth campaign ran from April through June that year netting 100% growth. Two youth workers from the Wesley Foundation in Columbus helped with bible school and other projects during the summer.
Fourteen people were baptized on June 11, 1995. The UMYF was organized again and the monthly newsletter "The Flint Hill Spirit" was started with Cathy Williams as editor in June, 1995.
The church library was set up in the fall of 1995 with Martha Rye as librarian and Jessie Rye making the shelves.
A health fair was held at the church on September 16, 1995 and the first fall festival was October 14, 1995 with proceeds going into youth funds.
The carpet was replaced in the sanctuary in October, 1995 and also installed in the Sunday school rooms. These rooms were also painted and redecorated. In the addition to our spiritual and physical growth, we enjoy the new facilities and were rewarded by the conference by being named small membership church of the year in the Starkville District for 1995. This award was presented in Jackson at the 1996 annual conference.
In 1995 and 1996, Ellis Construction Company cleared and graded the land in front of the church and the men of the church planted grass. The UMYF planted azaleas by the fellowship hall.
Also, in 1996, a ladies group called the Flint Hill Busy Bees was formed, open to any women in the church or community. They met monthly with devotional, fellowship and work sessions making items to sell at fall festivals and sponsoring certain events at the church.
In 1997, the regular events such as pot luck suppers, Valentine banquet and Easter Sunrise Service were held and a special event on March 2 when "The Miracles", singers from the Baddour Center came to sing and another when a group chartered a tour bus for a trip to Eureka Springs, AR to see the passion play. Another improvement, new pew cushions were added in August of 1997.
Some Sunday School Superintendents remembered are listed, but dates of service not known:
1917-1919 W.W. Hartsfield
1919-1921 R. L. Ellis
1921-1922 C.M. Ray
1922-1923 R.T. Hollingsworth
1923-1924 O.A. Clark
1924-1925 W.S. Gilman
1925-1928 Guy Ray
1928-1929 W.H. Heath
1929-1931 A.J. Henry
1931-1937 T.W. Smallwood
1937-1939 S.B. Potts
1939-1944 J.L. Nabors, Sr.
1944-1949 J.E. Roberts
1949-1950 W.R. Lott, Jr.
1950-1951 J.T. McCafferty
1951-1959 R.C. Nanney
1959-1962 J.W. Gibson
1962-1964 L.R. Shumaker
1964-1965 A.P. Foster
1965-1967 C.L. Rogers, Jr.
1967-1969 Clyde Sullivan
1969-1971 L.C. Summers
1971-1975 J.A. Townsend
1975-1978 G.W. Curtis
1978-1980 J.W. McBride
1980-1982 Grady Hudson
1982-1983 Stephen Dial
1983-1989 Grady Hudson
1989-1991 Charles Boyer
1991-1992 Donald Olson
1992-1997 Earl Cooper
1997-1998 D. R. Smith
1998-2003 Albert Gore
2003- Ron McDougal
Until 1939, the official that we now know as District Superintendent was called the presiding elder. Originally, there was a Columbus District but it was changed to Starkville in 1960; then in 1974, with the merger of the MS and the North MS conferences, it became the Tombigbee District with four superintendents who were W. F. Appleby, R.D. McAlilly, A.L. Meadows and W.B. Crump. After one year, in 1975, it again became the Starkville District with W.B. Crump as superintendent.
1959-1964-Thad H. Ferrell
1964-1969-George R. Williams
1992-1997-Merlin D. Conoway
2000- -Raiford Wallace
Bishops from 1935 are as follows:
1935-1938-Hoyt M. Dobbs
1940-1941-Hoyt M. Dobbs
1972-1980-Mack B. Stokes
1992-2000-Marshall L. Meadows
2004- -Hope Morgan Ward