The Methodist Church in Reidsville was organized in 1858. That was 20 years after the town was incorporated and fifty seven years after the county was created. Methodists living in Reidsville prior to 1858 had attended the churches at Mount Carmel (1808) and Shiloh (1812),
In 1858, Reverend W.F. Conley led a revival in Reidsville and scores of people were converted and the new church was organized.Services were held in the courthouse, which was a two story building.
Then in 1886, the first church was built in Reidsville on property obtained from Henry Ryals, Jr. The trustees of the new church were: T.J. Williams, C.W. Smith, J.J. Easterling, George R. Harden, and H.J. Lee. The cost of the land was $100.00 and the church was built near where Hill's Shopping Center now stands.
In October of 1878, twenty six acres of land were purchased from W.E. Tippins for a parsonage. This house is now the property of Ruth and Bill Bailey.
In 1908, Methodism was 100 years old in Tattnall County and a book was published commemorating the event. Reverend George Austin published "One Hundred Years in Methodism in Tattnall County". The book has accounts of the early churches and the people involved in their establishment. In 1908, the Reidsville Methodist Church was doing well, the Sunday School was active. The Ladies Missionary Society was flourishing and the Epworth League was among the best in the district.
In that same year of 1908, disaster struck. The church burned to the ground in the middle of the day and the congregation moved back to the courthouse and schoolhouse for their services.
Then on May 9 1911, the trustees purchased land from Mr. J.J. Easterling and which to build a new church. The land was located on Brazell and Rowe (now Kelly) Streets and was a lot 114 foot square feet costing $200.00. The church now in use was built on that location.
In 1949, the parsonage was sold to the Reverend T.H. Thomson, who had retired from the ministry and a new one was purchased on Brazell Street. Later in 1972, still another parsonage was built beside the church on Kelly Street.
Also in the 1940's, a social hall and Sunday School rooms were added to the church. Then again in the 1960's, a new social hall and additional Sunday School rooms were added to the church. During this time, the sanctuary was remodeled, new lighting fixtures installed, and the floor carpeted.
In the 1970's, the church staff expanded to employ a Youth and Music Director and a church Secretary. This action increased the interest in both areas and added greatly to the spirit of the church.
In 1982, a new roof was put on the church. The old roof was the original and only one the church had ever seen. It was made of asbestos and had lasted one hundred and thirty four years. At the time the new roof was being applied, the church steeple was restored. Rotten boards and spindles were replaced with new ones and the bell was made to ring again.
The year of 1983 was an eventful one for the Reidsville United Methodist Church. During this year the parking lot on the west side of the church was paved and parking spaces were marked off. Also, during this year, a parcel of land across Kelly Street was given to the church,
During the year of 1983, a committee studied the records of the church and updated the membership roll including, whenever possible, the date the member joined the church.
The oldest church in the county is Mount Carmel.which was established in 1808 under the leadership of William Eason, a local Methodist preacher who had migrated to Tattnall County from North Carolina by way of South Carolina in 1801. The same preacher led in the establishment of Shiloh Methodist Church in 1812. The people who lived in or around Reidsville until 1858 attended one or the other of these churches. But, as methods of transportation, agriculture and business changed, people left the Mt. Carmel and Shiloh communities and the town of Reidsville grew.
In 1979, there were only a few members attending the Mount Carmel church and those members chose to merge with the Reidsville United Methodist Church and in 1984 for the same reason Shiloh made the same move.
Both of these churches have established trust funds that will provide for maintenance of the buildings and for care of the cemeteries.
The dedicated church people from these two old congregations became a valuable part of the Reidsville United Methodist Church without forgetting the heritage that is theirs.
The Reidsville United Methodist Church during all of its history seems to have enjoyed the privilege of great leadership, but those first ministers, trustees and stewards must have been filled with the spirit of the Lord and a great love for their church to have left us this rich heritage of Methodism.
United Methodists come in all sizes, colors, shapes, disposition, outlooks and life experiences, but they share a unique outlook forged in the shared experience of a church and a nation born in a century of remarkable change.
No matter how or where they serve Jesus Christ around the world, United Methodist do God’s work in a unique connectional covenant that bears a striking resemblance to the United States’ government of the people, by the people.
General Conference is our legislative branch, and Judicial Council, as defined by The Book of Discipline, determines the constitutionality of acts, or proposed acts, of general, jurisdictional, annual of central conferences, just as the Supreme Court rules on U.S. laws.
We are, by design, a self-government people dedicated to a life of Christian purpose-a life of participation and personal responsibility, of generosity, sacrifice and self-restraint, responding to the calls of Jesus Christ.
Today we speak many languages and live in many countries –with different cultures, ethnic traditions, national history and understandings of Christian faith and practice.
We are covenant community, concerned about God’s children everywhere. In life’s clouds of doubt and division, we see the sunlight of God’s purpose that brings healing, hope and harmony. We love worship, study of God’s word, music, churches, suppers and a sense of community, a sense of belonging.
We welcome people of faith into our churches, and people who are searching for answers to life’s tough questions, too, because we know what it’s like to feel alone and unsure…to need a welcoming place with open hearts, open minds, open doors.
We roll up our sleeves and say, “Let’s get to work” as we answer the call of making disciples of Jesus Christ.
We live the promise we made the day we joined The United Methodist Church…the promise of our prayers, our presence, our gifts and services.