Soon after Methodism was introduced into America, the new religion rapidly spread all across the nation. Traveling preachers called “circuit riders” carried the new religion to the colonies. The North Carolina Circuit was formed around 1780.
The circuit established in Western North Carolina was called the “Yadkin”, which included Forsyth County. In 1851, the Forsyth Circuit was developed from the Yadkin Circuit. There were fourteen churches on this circuit between 1851 and 1858. In 1859 Pine Grove Methodist Church was the fifteenth church in the Forsyth Circuit.
It all began in the year 1858 when a man named Joseph Woosley signed a contract to build a log cabin on the property of Alfred end Catherine Kimel. The building was completed by May 1, 1859. Our first congregation, consisting of a dozen members, met in the log cabin church. It was 24 x 26 feet, made of pine, with five windows and a double door.
On July 30, 1859, Pine Grove Methodist Episcopal Church South was established before the Forsyth Circuit and Winston Station, at the Third Quarterly Conference, which was held at Mt. Tabor Church. The Conference appointed our first trustees at this meeting.
In September 1859 the trustees were authorized to buy the land on which the log church was located, from the owners, Alfred and Catherine Kimel.
In the log cabin church services were held only once a month because one preacher, or “circuit rider”, served 15 different churches. Fine Grove had 49 circuit preachers until the year 1965 when we became a station church.
Six years after our Sunday School was established (1860) the membership at Pine Grove rose to 70 members.
The community and church grew together. The occupations of the members of Pine Grove were: blacksmith, shoe cobbler, wood craftsman, basket weaver and people who ran saw mills to saw lumber to build houses and barns. These people also were farmers. As you will note, today very few members make their living by farming.
During a drought in 1881, members came to Pine Grove to pray for rain. Sometimes it would rain on them before they could get home.
Due to hardship of travel and lack of facilities and teachers, it was difficult to get a good education. In 1896 Rev. J. H. Fitzgerald taught night school at Pine Grove for the benefit of adults who could not read. in 1912 a one-room school house was built called the Pine Grove School which included grades one through seven. The old school house is still on Pine Grove property. As you can see Pine Grove has always strived to meet the needs of the community.
In 1896, our congregation built a second church for its 74 members.
Circuit riders rode on horses, or horse-drawn wagons, to the first and second churches. Rev. J. H. Hiatt, who came to Pine Grove in 1907, rode his horse, Charlie from Davie County where he lived. He was just out of Divinity School, 21 years of age, and unmarried, when he first came to Pine Grove. He had several churches to preach besides Pine Grove. He held his services on Sunday once a month at three o’clock in the afternoon. Rev. Hiatt would preach at Bethel, eat lunch and come here to preach. He would visit and sometimes spend the night at the Nifongs and Thomas’, because of the distance he had to travel. He sometimes went fishing in Muddy Creek on Mondays with the Nifongs. In 1951, he came back to visit Pine Grove as Dr. J. S. Hiatt, with his wife, at the dedication ceremony of our first parsonage.
Mr. Joe Nifong was our first organist. Some of the hymnbooks Mr. Nifong used were “Best of All”, “The Temple Star”, and” Sweet Fields of Eden”.
The first organ at Pine Grove was one similar to the organ in our church parlor today. Bynum and Ada “Woosley” Foster donated this pump organ around 1920. At that time they placed it in honor of John Thomas and Mary “Bodenhamer” Woosley.
We had a “Singing Choir” in 1910, which consisted of 29 members. They went around to different local churches to perform on Sunday evenings.
In 1929 a Helping Hand Circle was organized. It was a group of ladies from Pine Grove who met at different homes every second Thursday of every month. They made quilts, rugs, bedspreads, etc., sold them, and donated the proceeds to the church. Sometimes they donated their handwork to the church, or to one of the circuit’s parsonages. Some women from the Helping Hand Circle made aprons and sold them to help pay for six Sunday School Classes that were added on to the church in 1929. The Helping Hand Circle bought the first communion tables and chairs for Pine Grove.
A group of teenagers, called the Missionary Society, went around in the community asking people to donate money to the church.
Revival week services were held at 11:00 o’clock in the mornings and again in the evenings. People stopped whatever they were doing to go to Revival.
Because of economic reasons church members wore overalls and sometimes came barefooted. A group of men sat together in the “Amen Corner” which was at the side of the church. Members filled up the front rows first, so that the late corners could not be seen. TODAY, the back rows are filled up first so the late corners CAN be seen.
A bell, which was in the second church, was rung 30 minutes before preaching. It could be heard in practically the whole area of Jonestown. It was also used to get men’s attention in case of house or barn fires.
In 1909 the land for our cemetery was bought from Mr. and Mrs. Noah Kimel and Mr. and Mrs. J. Adam Nifong. In 1937, additional land was bought from Mr. Nifong for the cemetery. The money used to pay for the land was interest derived from the Trust Fund left to the church by Newton and Pauline Vest. Sallie Bodsford helped to maintain the churchyard and graveyard. At Easter she used to scrub the stones. Ralph Shutt used to bring sand to put over the graves at Easter so that the red dirt wouldn’t show. Mrs. Bodsford would then gather wild flowers from the woods to put on each grave.
In 1938 when Mr. C. W. Kirby was pastor, church services were held every Sunday. Only three churches were left on the circuit. They were Marvin Chapel, Mt. Tabor and Pine Grove. In order to preach to all his churches Rev. Kirby preached three times each Sunday.
In 1941 Mt. Tabor and Marvin Chapel became station churches and Pine Grove was placed on a new two-point charge with Mt. Carmel. In 1949 Mt. Carmel became a station church and Pine Grove was placed with Bethel and Clemmons. The charge was then named the Pine Grove Charge. The first pastor of this new charge was Rev. P. F. Snider who lived in our first parsonage, which was built in 1950.
In 1958 Pine Grove built an educational building, which included several classrooms and fellowship hall.
In 1965 Pine Grove requested and was granted permission to be removed from the two-point charge with Clemmons and to be furnished a full-time preacher, and become a station church. Cur first full-time preacher was Rev. Roy L. Grant.
The second church was torn down in 1967 after the present sanctuary was built.
In 1967, a 500 seat Sanctuary and a 16 Classroom Educational Building were completed. On Sunday, November 21, 1967, the church service was dedicated to the formal opening of our third church and we were formally called Pine Grove United Methodist Church. The cornerstone in this sanctuary has the old cornerstone from the second church incorporated into it. The cornerstone gives two precious dates that this congregation had built – the first in 1959 and the second in 1897.
In 1972, Pine Grove bought 1.31 acres from Mr. Sim B. Kimel, which served as the site for a new parsonage. This land is located right across from the church.. On April 15, 1973, a church conference was held at Pine Grove and a proposal was made for constructing a new church parsonage. Ed Cochran presided and the Chairman of the Building Committee, Mr. Tom Long presented the proposal. There were 77 people for the proposal and 12 against the proposal.
On February 3, 1991, a ground breaking was conducted for a multipurpose facility that would be constructed to meet the current needs. The building was completed by August 4, 1991 and the choir presented their annual musical show in the new Fellowship Hall. The first meal was served on September 16, 1991 and the building was consecrated. The Fellowship Hall was built for a cost of $385,000.00. The building was paid for in 2000.
In 2002, Pine Grove bought the land of a former member of the church, Flake Jones, for expansion. A house that was located on the property was renovated. Members donated furniture for the house and the house was opened as a HOPE HOUSE for out of town visitors that had patients staying at one of the local hospitals. It was paid for in May 2003.
On July 30 , 2009, we celebrated 150 years with a huge celebration and luncheon.
The newest addition to our property is a house and land that is just below our parking lot that belonged to R. L. Spach. We bought for additional meeting space and that is where Girl and Boy Scouts and the Jonestown Extension ECA clubs have been meeting. This house and lot is also paid for.
Attritional up grades to Pine Grove have been the electronic sign in the front yard that announces church activities, and the system in the church with three screens that show the program for the Sunday Services with announcements and DVD’s.
We have on record pictures of every Pine Grove Church and every preacher who served Pine Grove located in our History Room