The Community of Weyers Cave experienced its real surge of growth and activity during the first decade of the 20th Century. Though there were a number of churches in surrounding areas, there was no church located in the village of Weyers Cave. The Methodist people in the area attended the old Naked Creek Methodist Church, which was located about one and a half miles northwest of Weyers Cave. This church has now been relocated and is known as Bethany United Methodist Church.
Plans to form a new church in Weyers Cave began in 1904 with a group of eight people who felt there should be a church in the village. The group began to pray, plan and work on this project. On March 13, 1905, the land that the church now stands on was purchased from I. B. Kagey and Maude E. L. Kagey for a sum of $150.00. Trustees of the property were I. B. Kagey, E. P. Skelton, L. A. Rogers, J. H. Altaffer, and A. M. Rubush. The deed stipulated that “In Trust, that the said premises shall be used, kept, maintained, and disposed of as a place of divine worship for the use of the ministry and membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church South….”
Soon after, construction began with the contractor and builder being Eutsler Brothers of Grottoes. The frame building consisted of a sanctuary and three Sunday school rooms. Church records indicate that the building opened for services in the winter of 1905-1906. When the building opened for services, there were no pews. Chairs had to be used to seat the congregation.
The church was initially a part of the Mt. Crawford Charge. The church was a member of the Baltimore Conference and the Rev. J. M. Anderson served as the first Pastor. The annual conference meeting at Cumberland Maryland in March of 1906 transferred Weyers Cave Church to the Port Republic Charge. The Port Republic Charge records indicate that the following members were transferred to the Weyers Cave Church in July of 1906: Mr. & Mrs. I. B. Kagey, Mr. and Mrs. E. P. Skelton, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Glover, Mr. L. A. Rodgers, Mrs. Mary Tutwiler and Mr. G. L. Showalter. Mrs. Nettie VanPelt Funkhouser also became a member soon after. The church’s membership has grown from the original eight to our present membership of 150.
As the membership and attendance grew, it was necessary to add six classrooms to the upper and lower stories on the north side of the building. The cost of this project was $1,200.
On May 30, 1947, Russell P. Glover and Louise H. Glover deeded to the Trustees of Weyers Cave United Methodist Church a parcel of land adjoining the church lot. Trustees at this time were A. R. Glover, J. C. Wrenn, Dr. H. G. Middlekauff, B. L. Showalter and H. D. Sipe.
In the 1960’s, the church continued to prosper and undertook two major building expansions. First, two restrooms, another classroom, and a utility room were added. This addition was dedicated during Homecoming of the church, which was held on October 2, 1962. In addition, an educational wing that includes a large social hall and kitchen was completed for the observance of the church’s 60th anniversary in 1966.
On July 14, 1972 William A. Houff Jr. Executor Under the Will of Bertie A. Houff conveyed the adjoining property to the church. The property was conveyed to the following Trustees of the church: Millard R. Smith, Nelson C. Bibb, E. C. Showalter, Jr., S. Earl Sipe, Vernon E. Landes, and Henry D. Sipe.
In 1980, the sanctuary was completely remodeled and renovated. The entire layout of the sanctuary was reversed. The door now closest to the pulpit was the original entryway while the chancel area was located where the main doors are presently found. During this same period, brick was placed around the exterior of the older building. A consecration service was celebrated on September 28, 1980.
Soon after the sanctuary was remodeled, the church installed stained-glass windows and held a dedication service in January of 1982.
In 1985, through the generous contributions of friends and family, the narthex was renovated in memory of Hazle Sherman Morris.
In the mid 1990s new padded oak pews were installed in the sanctuary.
In 1998, an enthusiastic group of church members, namely the Spirit Seekers, remodeled the social hall and kitchen with new paint, wallpaper and window dressings. They also renovated the hallway and bathrooms connecting the sanctuary and education building.
The church stands today as a beautiful testimony of faith as members continue to care for and improve the physical surroundings.
CHURCHES UNITE WITH WEYERS CAVE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
The Christian Community that worshipped at Timber Ridge and Union Chapel are another important part of Weyers Cave United Methodist Church. Timber Ridge and Weyers Cave always shared a special relationship because they were a part of the same charge. Timber Ridge was located a quarter mile east of State Route 276 on State Route 668. The church was torn down and a residential home currently occupies the original site. As the Timber Ridge congregation began to decline in the 1950s, it was eventually forced to close in the mid 50s and some of the members of that congregation united with the Weyers Cave Church. Church services for Timber Ridge were held in the afternoon on the second and fourth Sundays. The Will Baker family formed a large part of the membership with fourteen children. Many families who attended other churches would often join with the Timber Ridge community in worship since their services were held in the afternoon.
Much like Timber Ridge, Union Chapel decided to unite with fellow Christians as active membership declined. The church was located on State Route 773 where you can still visit the church cemetery. Union Chapel’s Sunday school was started in 1881 and the church was built somewhere between 1883 and 1885. The church was built at a cost of $1,000. The pastor of Mt. Pisgah Methodist Church in Mt. Sidney served the Union Chapel community. Union Chapel was a part of the Augusta charge. The last worship service was held on June 3, 1984. The church was sold and dismantled in November of 1984. While it’s closing was the conclusion of a great story of faith, it brought many valued and respected members to the Weyers Cave Church.
A PILGRIMAGE OF FAITH
For many years the congregation of Weyers Cave United Methodist Church discussed the possibility of becoming a station church, meaning that Weyers Cave would become a one-point charge with it’s own full time minister. The Church was currently on a two-point charge with Port Republic United Methodist Church, which meant both churches shared the same minister and various expenses. After much deliberation and meeting with church members and the District Superintendent, the congregation voted to become a station church. This was an exciting time for the congregation as they took on the responsibility of finding housing for a new minister, and most importantly, becoming financially able to fund their new position in the United Methodist Conference. In June 1989, Reverend Reginald Tuck became pastor of Weyers Cave United Methodist Church. The Tuck family graciously resided in a rental home for over a year until the church was able to build a parsonage located on Route 276, just north of “downtown” Weyers Cave.
On Sunday, May 13, 1990, members and friends of the church family gathered at the half-acre site of land to break ground for the new parsonage. Plans to build the parsonage had already been approved by the Charge Conference on Sunday, May 6, 1990. Construction began on May 24, 1990.
The Trustees of the Church oversaw the construction of the home. The Board of Trustees subcontracted various aspects of the construction. Church members and friends completed many dimensions of the project. There were many professionals who freely gave of their labor. E. C. Showalter, Chair of the Board of Trustees, directed the project at the work site. The Board Members included Nelson Bibb, Imogene Powers, Roger Whetzel, Betty Dovel, Pauline Dovel, Millard Smith, Earl Sipe and David Myers.
The Parsonage Committee, chaired by Josephine Morris, along with Ward Early, William Grimm, Ann Bennington, Imogene Powers and Jimmy Dovel, dedicated many long hours to decorate the interior of the home. The parsonage was completed on September 12, 1990 and Rev. Tuck and his family moved into the home on the same day.
Jennings and Jo Morris gave the land, as well as monies to defray the cost of water and sewer. David Showalter, Chair of the Finance Committee, gave leadership to a financial campaign, which raised over $8,500.
The sale of church property (the Calhoun home which was given to the church as a gift from Ms. Lucille Calhoun) and monies which had been saved over the years for such a project enabled the parsonage to be built debt free.
The construction of the parsonage was a tremendous success because of the enthusiasm and dedication of the church family. The parsonage was dedicated with the hope that it would enable this Christian community to continue to grow and to prosper.
We welcomed Pastor Peggy Packard to our church on July 1, 2010. Our Christian faith and our ongoing steadfast love for Jesus Christ speaks much louder today as we promise to God and to each other to continue to faithfully serve our Lord.
In 2009 and 2010, additional land was purchased behind our church in hopes of future expansion. Windows were replaced throughout the church. These projects could not have been possible without the generous donations of our church family.
The bell tower was in need of repair and we had not heard its beautiful sound in our church for a number of years. Through a very generous donation to our church in memory of Thurman and Edith Groah, the bell and tower was repaired in 2011 and now rings each Sunday morning prior to our worship service.
We have renovated our bathrooms to make them handicap accessible. New lights were installed in the Fellowship Hall. We have trained several members of the congregation to run our screens for morning worship and other special services. We had an anointing service and several hymn sings this past year. A Facilities Use Policy was written and we encouraged other groups to use our church to include a day care center and Emmaus training.
And lastly, we sent one of our church members (Kevin Poeckert) into ministry.
We praise God for the blessings of the past one hundred six years and look forward to what our Lord has in store as we journey together into the future.
Our Christian faith and our ongoing steadfast love for Jesus Christ speaks much louder today as we promise to God and to each other to continue our efforts to maintain a full time pastor and remain a one-point charge.
Weyers Cave United Methodist Church continues to worship at 11:00 Sunday mornings. Various music groups and singers come to lead worship several times a year. We continue the tradition of a fifth Sunday service with music and testimony. Special services include Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Christmas Eve. Hanging of the Greens on the first Sunday of Advent is a highlight for many. Homecoming Services with a guest speaker and luncheon are held every five years. A Fall Revival is held in the years when we don’t have Homecoming.
WCUMC is very involved in mission. We support Overlook Retreat Ministries by providing children who attend with scholarships and collecting needed items for All God’s Children Camp. Members participate in Paul Bunyan Day. Some have been on the Walk to Emmaus and support that program. We collect food for the Verona Food Pantry and several members faithfully volunteer there twice a month. Some members have gotten involved supporting the Mission Central Children’s Clothes Closet. The Helping Hands group raises money through dinners to help those in the community who need assistance with bills such as rent or utilities. The United Methodist Men do an annual pancake dinner to raise funds to support their work which includes projects around the church and Camp Overlook. The entire church supports Weekday Religious Education and collects food for the Harvest Table in October which is given to the Salvation Army. Trunk and Treat is held around Halloween for the community. The church supports Kingsway Ministries at Christmas with gifts for children whose parents are incarcerated.
With an aging congregation and a Fellowship Hall on the second floor, a need was recognized for either an elevator or a chair lift. The Trustees did much research and in Spring of 2016 a chair lift was purchased and installed. Church members have come forward with pledges and done fundraising and a grant was received from the Conference in order to pay for this project.
The Trustees continue to work hard with the upkeep of the building including the purchase of two energy efficient furnaces and a new roof. We recently replaced a stained glass window which was dedicated in memory of Dorothy Begoon.