The following article was generated by Dr. John Kirn in 2005. The original material was based on the history of Mt. Pisgah written in 1984 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Methodist Church in America. It was composed by Oscar B. Watlington and Alice C. Newland and accompanied with artwork by Nancy M. Adams.
Our current sanctuary was built in 1984 at a cost of $530,000, not including furnishings. This octagonal building seats 350 people. You might look at the cornerstone located in the bottom right hand corner as you face the church. The debt on the sanctuary was retired in 1989.
After many years of planning, the groundbreaking took place on November 10, 1983. The first service was held in the new sanctuary on December 23, 1984. It was a moving ceremony as several long-term members formed a procession and carried the parchments, the Bible, and other altar pieces from the old sanctuary (the current chapel) to the new.
The first gift for the sanctuary was the stunning nine-foot high cross made of solid black walnut from Amelia County. It was crafted by Mr. Bill Tulloh, a long-time member of our congregation who passed away in 2006. As an aside, a similar but smaller cross was made at the same time by Mr. Tulloh but not recovered until 2013. It now graces the front wall of the chapel.
The Narthex table, also made by Mr. Tulloh, contains the memorial gift books for the sanctuary. The gifts given in honor of loved ones have been stained glass windows, pews, choir chairs, the baptismal font, and altar parchments. Look through them!
The inspiration for the design of the sanctuary cross came from “fairy stones” found in Fairy Stone State Park in Henry and Patrick counties. Legend has it that the naturally occurring, cross-shaped stones found there (and in only a few other places in the world) were formed from tears shed by forest fairies after hearing the news of Christ’s crucifixion. When the tears fell upon the ground, they crystallized to form beautiful stone crosses.
Robert Stowell, Ed.D