The History of Rockwood United Methodist Church

Rockwood United Methodist Church

First Methodist Church

Kingston Avenue Methodist Church

The roots of Rockwood United Methodist Church began with the establishment of the Methodist Church as one of the first organized religions in what would later become Roane County , Tennessee .  Historic records show that a Methodist meeting house existed in the Roane County area as early as 1795; and early settlers gathered at Asbury Campgrounds near Post Oak Springs to hear the gospel from circuit riding preachers.  By 1800, Methodism constituted the largest religious body in Tennessee .

The time of the Civil War, however, was troubled time for Methodists both at national and local levels.  Many churches divided or ceased to meet at all because of differences in beliefs on issues of slavery and states rights.  In 1865, the congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which met in a slab building on Kingston Avenue in Rockwood , Tennessee divided because of opposing views.  A separate church was organized not far away on Rockwood Avenue called the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

In 1894, the Methodist Episcopal Church built a new church building on Kingston Avenue at the site of the current #2 fire station and eventually became known as Kingston Avenue Methodist Church .  The Methodist Episcopal Church, South on Rockwood Avenue eventually was known as First Methodist Church .

On December 20, 1960, the Kingston Avenue Methodist Church , (formerly the Methodist Episcopal Church) was tragically destroyed by fire.  The First Methodist church, (formerly the Methodist Episcopal, South) invited the congregation to worship with them on Christmas day.  The two churches voted unanimously on January 22, 1961 to merge their congregations and became the Rockwood Methodist Church .  Rev. E. C. Trentham and Rev. G. W. Atkisson co-pastored the newly united church until June 1961.

In 1968, another change for the church occurred when the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged resulting in a change of name to Rockwood United Methodist Church. On the lawn of Rockwood United Methodist Church proudly stands the old church bell from Kingston Avenue Methodist Church.  The church bell, which M. H. Phillips had made at the old Roane Iron Company, is one of the few things salvaged from the burnt church.

A special thanks to Mrs. Bettye Qualls and Mr. Stan Wassom for this information.

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