CHRISTIAN METHODIST EPSICOPAL CHURCH HISTORY
(WILLIAMS TABERNACLE CHRISTlAN METHODIST EPSICOPAL CHURCH)
Williams Tabernacle Christian Methodist Episcopal (C.M.E.) Church was born in the mind and heart of Reverend J. W. Perry in 1907. It was organized in the home of Mrs. Carrie Smith on Myers and East First Streets in Charlotte, North Carolina. Rev. Perry served as the first Pastor, assisted by Rev. J.S. Miller. Rev. J.W. Roberts was the Presiding Elder. The next step in the forward progress of Williams Tabernacle was to move the place of worship to a store front on Plum and Boundary Streets in the Brooklyn Community in 1908. 'The property was purchased for $850 from Dr. J. T .S. Williams, a prominent African-American doctor in Charlotte. The first Bishop to make a pastor's appointment to Williams Tabernacle was Bishop R.S. Williams. Subsequently, the church was named Williams Tabernacle in honor of Dr. J.T.S. Williams and Bishop R.S. Williams.
Rev. Pettyford was our next pastor. In 1914, Rev. Langford was appointed pastor by Bishop Williams. Rev. Langford, at that time, was attending Biddle University; now Johnson C. Smith University.
From 1914 through 1934, the following ministers were appointed to pastor Williams Tabernacle: Rev. J.T.S. Christian from the Kansas-Missouri Conference, Rev. W.L. Lyles, Rev. W.W. Thomas, Rev. W.S. Blane, Rev. S.W. Womack (served only two weeks), Rev. S.W. Womack, Rev. H.A. Washington, Rev. F.L. Fullwood, Rev. B. Golphen, Rev. Willis and Rev. W.D. Miller. (Rev. Miller served the church twice).
In 1934, Rev. H.B. Jackson was sent to pastor Williams Tabernacle and during his tenure, a new building was started. The basement was completed under his leadership. The congregation worshipped in the basement for many years. Rev. Jackson, a skilled brick mason, and the membership of the congregation completed the actual building of the sanctuary. An old brick kiln was torn down in Mount Holly, NC and the bricks were given to Williams Tabernacle. Those bricks and others gathered by the members were used to complete the sanctuary. This construction was started under the leadership of Rev. J.L. Pickens and completed under the leadership of the next pastor, Rev. J.C. Clark. The church tower and the hanging of the bell were added under the pastorate of Rev. J.D. Spence. Rev. G.F. Judd was the next minister appointed pastor of the church. He served for five years.
During the pastorate of Rev. S.E. Harris, structural improvements (new
roof and a furnace) were made on the church. Willing Workers was organized and led by Mrs. Louise Phillips and Mrs. Amanda Mobley. This group started a Bargain House to recycle previously owned clothes that had been donated to the church. Rev. Harris died during his pastorate at Williams Tabernacle. After the death of Rev. Harris, Dr. John A. Davis, an outstanding theologian, was appointed pastor of the church. The Sunday School was departmentalized and a Sunday School Teacher's Education program was instituted.
During the 60’s, urban renewal had begun in Charlotte as well as in other areas in the United States. Urban renewal meant re-location was mandated by the government. Neighborhoods like Brooklyn were purchased for very little money; torn down and later re-established as government owned porpoerty or “big” businesses were established.
In 1967, Rev. Warren Foushee was appointed pastor of Williams Tabernacle. Under the leadership of Rev. Foushee a decision was made to purchase an edifice located at 1021 Parkwood Avenue in the Belmont community. The cost of that church was $75,000. Also, a new parsonage on Sylvania Avenue was purchased for $14,500. The name Williams Tabernacle C.M.E. Church was changed to Parkwood Institutional C.M.E. Church. During this time a much needed day care center was started at the church to serve families in the Belmont Community. Rev. Foushee served the church for five years.
In 1969, a newly appointed pastor came to Parkwood from Washington, DC, Rev. Will Chambers. Under his leadership, the 8% Savings Plan was instituted; Senior Choirs 1, 2, and the Young Adult Choirs were combined; a fun night for young people was initiated and a church newsletter with Carrie Brailey as editor was created. He served through 1971.
In September of 1971, Rev. C.M. Allen came to Parkwood. During his eleven years at Parkwood many programs were added and/or revised. The Senior Choir, the Cathedral Choir, the Gospel Blue Notes, the Sun Beam Choir, the Buds, the Gospel Chorus, and the Methodist Men Fellowship were re-organized. The young people of the church were organized into a forceful organization called the Parkwood Activist Commission (PAC). A public address system and chimes were installed. In 1972 renovation was completed on the parsonage and at one of two other houses owned by the church. One side of this house was used by the Willing Workers group as the Bargain House and the other side was used by Parkwood Activist Commission (PAC) for activities.
In 1973, Trustee Board 2 and the 20th century Missionary Circle Number 4 were organized. A. nursery was provided for toddlers and a new organ was purchased. In memory of Emanuel "Preach" Brown, the Brown family donated books for the establishment of a church library. Patsy Kimble Phillips was the first librarian.
In 1974, a church bus was purchased to provide transportation to church and church activities for members living in outlining areas of the city. A van was purchased to provide transportation for church members and the children attending the church day care center.
In l975, Mrs. Cammie McKnight, Superintendent of Sunday School, and Mrs. Elizabeth Sinclair, President of the Missionary Society, organized the children under twelve to serve as Altar Boys and Girls. The Wee Wee Ushers, an usher board for children under twelve, was started. Barbara Grate Kizer organized the Nurse's Guild. Parkwood's Junior Choir was renamed the Holy Inspirations, and a new piano and organ were purchased. Also during that year, one of Parkwood's greatest accomplishments was achieved -the mothering of Faith, a new C.M.E. church in the Hidden Valley Community. Parkwood provided members to serve as charter members and also provided financial support to Faith C.M.E. Church. The charter members were: Cleveland Sr. and Juanita Ardrey, James Brailey, Jr., Woodrow Clifton, Louise Davidson, Patty Ellis, John and Clennie Gholston, Patsy Kimble Phillips, Marion Patton, Charlie Williams, and Johnny Lee Young, Jr.. This endeavor was under the guidance of Rev. C.M. Allen.
In 1982, Rev. Rayfield Medcalf was appointed Pastor of Parkwood. Under his leadership Parkwood continued to grow in spirit, financial stability and membership. A centralized budget was instituted, and the Young Adult Council was organized. Stewardess Boards 1 and 2 merged. Thursday Night Power Pool began.
A church newsletter was started in January 1983 by the Young Adult Council with Cynthia Woods as the first editor. A new Sunday School class was formed and later named in honor of Erma J. Medcalf, wife of Rev Medcalf. Unique types of Bible Study and prayer sessions were created.
Mrs. Margaret Grate organized an organization for women in 1987 called the Women's Auxiliary of Parkwood. In 1988, she envisioned a Noon Bible Study and the Wednesday Noon Bible Study was started. In 1989, Ms Grate organized the Women's Auxiliary Choir. In February 1990 a new piano, organ and van were purchased. In 1997, seventeen acres of land on Tom Hunter Road was purchased for the new site of Parkwood. Later, an additional five acres were purchased.
On December 19, 1999, the last worship service and Sunday School classes at 1021 Parkwood Ave. were held at 8:00 AM and 9:30 respectfully. At 11:00 AM that same date, Parkwood held its first worship service in the new church edifice located at 802 Tom Hunter Road in the Hidden Valley community.
In 2001, Rev. Dr. Roderick D. Lewis, Sr. was appointed the pastor of Parkwood. He served as pastor for nine years. Dr Lewis shared to children with the late Sandra Wylie; Roderick Darnell Jr. and Allaysn and two grandchildren.
In 2010, Parkwood welcomed Dr Cathy C Jones as its newest pastor. Dr Jones has been married to Theodore Jones for 29 years and has been blessed with seven children, one son-in-law, 5 daughters-in-law, 19 grand children and 3 great-grandchildren.
The early history was written by the late JW and Maggie Ardrey and continued by Cynthia Grate Woods.
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