Our History

We are honored to share our history with you.

A Brief History of Our Church

We are pleased to present to you this brief history of Hampstead United Methodist Church. We are grateful to each member and friend of HUMC who has worked to further the cause of Christ and Christ’s Church. We are indebted to Ed Combs, who several years ago wrote a history of HUMC and that history is included here.  Ed went to be with the Lord in late 2012. In addition, Jan Makaryk compiled a booklet for the 2007 HUMC Centennial Celebration.  What you are reading today comes, in large measure, from Jan’s earlier work and from Rev. Randy Maynard's updates in 2013 and 2014.

This history is dedicated to:  All those early members who had a vision to start a Methodist Church in Hampstead, North Carolina All those members, visitors, guests and families who have come through our doors to worship All the leaders who sought God’s presence in God’s church at HUMC All who built and re-built church facilities All who have cared for God’s people and God’s property at HUMC All who have cared for God’s people outside the walls of HUMC All those who are here today serving God and God’s ministries, and All those who will continue to seek God’s guidance and grace into our future. Founding and Early Years As early as 1907, Mrs. Rachel Howard deeded land for a church site, to include a building, cemetery and grounds around it, on the east side of Highway 17 about a mile from the intersection of Route 17 and 210. Another deed in 1910 designated it to the Methodist Episcopal Church (a forerunner of the United Methodist Church) and through the efforts of Mrs. Howard’s daughter, Hester Howard Simmons, the Hampstead Church was founded. A steam-powered sawmill on nearby land was operated by Mrs. Simmons’ husband, William B. Simmons.  In cooperation with the Duck Lake Lumber Company, a small wooden building was built with lumber produced at this sawmill. This first Methodist Church building was heated by a pot-bellied wood-burning stove, and candlelight was used for illumination. Since there were no separate rooms, Sunday school classes assembled in the corners of the sanctuary. The arrangement worked quite well for the small membership at the time. In 1922 and subsequent years, Harold (Buddy) Howard and his sister, Nellie Howard, taught Sunday school classes regularly. Nellie played the piano and organ. Harold served as Sunday school superintendent. The building served as a place of worship for the Hampstead Methodist Church until 1930 when a severe wind storm damaged the structure and it had to be razed. A new church was built in 1930 on the same site with the assistance of the Duke Endowment Fund. The new building was about as long as the original structure, but much wider. During its early years and for ensuing decades, Hampstead United Methodist was served by itinerant pastors on a circuit, which also included Scotts Hill, Union Chapel (Harrison Creek), Sneads Ferry, Verona and Seagate. The parsonage was in Scotts Hill, so services at the Hampstead Church were led by Rev. J.T. Stafford (the church’s first circuit pastor 1907-1908) every three weeks. However, Sunday school was held every Sunday.  A later itinerant clergyman, Rev. R.N. Fitts, who served the church in 1914-1915, walked back and forth between Scotts Hill and Hampstead since he had neither a horse and buggy nor an automobile. In 1968, a fellowship hall was built underneath the church and an adjacent parking lot was developed. Circuit Ministers serving Hampstead United Methodist Church: 1907-1908J.T. Stafford1941-1943J.C. Whedbee 1908-1909C.T. Rogers1944-1948J.M. Carroll 1910-1913R.A. Bruton1949-1950C.H. Whicker 1914-1915R.N. Fitts1950-1951W.C. Lowe 1915-1919C.N. Phillips1952-1953R.C. Stubbins 1920-1921R.E. Atkinson1953-1954R.H. Hoaglund, Sr. 1922-1925E.W. Downum1954-1956R.C. Hamilton 1926-1929J.K. Worthington1957-1959W.C. Lew, Sr. 1930-1932C.T. Andrews1960-1962W.R. King, Sr. 1933-1935C.B. Long1963-1967D.G. Davis, Sr. 1936-1937W.J. Freeman1968-1969James R. Salmon 1938-1939J.C. Harman1969-1970James R. Hines 1939-1940C.U. Plyler1970-1971Earl F. Matoy Turning Point in 1971 In 1971, the Administrative Board of the Hampstead United Methodist Church took a bold step of faith, requesting the District Superintendent grant HUMC the ability to stand alone as a congregation. Official board minutes written by Lillian Ives, Secretary of the Board at that time, revealed several discussions about this undertaking. Requirements to become a stand-alone church were:  carry a full budget including a full-time preacher, a parsonage, and receive approval from the other two churches on the circuit to separate.  The congregation voted to be granted such status. A parsonage was purchased from Bruce and Della Ray King next door to the church in the fall of 1971. Full-time appointed pastors:  June 1972- June 1979C. Everett Price, Jr. 1980-1981Ralph Hill 1982-1983Johnnie Huggins June 1983-June 1992Francis Daniel June 1992-June 1996Bruce E. Stanley June 1996-June 2004James Bell June 2004-June 2011Joseph Casteel June 2011-June 2014Randy Maynard July 2014 - presentSamuel "Skip" Williams Continued Growth Under the leadership of Rev. Price, the church experienced steady growth and by 1977 had 135 members. The Methodist Men’s Club, the United Methodist Women and the United Methodist Youth Fellowship were established. A newly equipped kitchen and social hall became the site of various functions, and in time, a recreation area and improved parking lot provided for additional activities. The choir of 15 youth and adults presented special music at the morning worship hour. Growth continued under the next two ministers:  Rev. Ralph Hill from 1980 to 1981 and Rev. Johnnie Huggins from 1982 to 1983. Rev. Hill was responsible for building an office back of the parsonage and it was during Rev. Huggins’ tenure that plans were made to purchase another parsonage and convert the old parsonage into Sunday school rooms. In early 1980, the church parking lot was dedicated to the memories of Pearl Lea, Herman Moore and Bill Womble. The first cantata was held at Christmas in 1982 with Ginger Wells as choir director and Bob Wells as pianist. The music program continued to expand and became one of the primary ministries of Hampstead United Methodist Church. By 1982, church membership had increased to 215. The United Methodist Women’s group had grown to 36 members in three circles with Stella Honeycutt as President. New Church Building - 1992 Under the leadership of Rev. Francis Daniel (June 1983 – June 1992), it became increasingly apparent that our facilities were inadequate to accomplish the mission of the church in the Hampstead community. Increasing membership demanded a larger sanctuary and expanded facilities for additional fellowship and support groups, for senior citizens, singles, widows, a Stephen Ministry program, Children’s Church and recreational opportunities for the youth. In 1986, congregation membership stood at 270. By the late 1980’s, a second worship service was added at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings. Unfortunately, a large tract of land, which had been donated for a “New Beginning,” was found to be 80% wetlands and therefore unsuitable for building purposes. A study committee was then appointed to consider remodeling the existing sanctuary and purchasing adjacent land for an education building. When this proved unfeasible, a Charge Conference was held to elect a Church Building Committee. With long and careful planning, a six acre site was purchased about a mile north on the west side of Highway 17 and plans for a new church moved forward. Ground was broken in January 1991 in hopes of starting construction soon. Again, with the help of the Duke Endowment Fund, an education building, with offices and a worship center, was built in 1992. Members of the congregation at that time served as contractors for the building project, doing most of the construction themselves. Meals were often provided by the women of the church. On Easter Sunday, April 26, 1992, Rev. Daniel, carrying the Pulpit Bible, led about 100 congregants in a procession to walk from the “old” church to the “new” church (where we now worship). There, they were met by another hundred people and all entered through the doors to hold a consecration service in the new sanctuary. The altar table, pulpit, lectern, baptismal font and pulpit chairs, were moved from the old church into the new sanctuary and refurbished to the lighter color. The organ and sound chamber also were moved and re-installed. Later, a grand piano was purchased to replace the previous upright piano. During his ministry, Rev. Daniel introduced an Adopted Family program for assistance to needy families, helped establish a community food pantry and promoted fellowship with other churches through song fests and joint worship services. More Growth With the arrival of Rev. Bruce Stanley in June 1992, the second phase of a building program began. Indicating the church’s support for this next endeavor, two commitment ceremonies were held, one on the site of additional educational space and another on the site for a future sanctuary. A “Mothers’ Morning Out” expanded into a Christian Preschool program with Kathy Williams as Director. Disciple Bible studies continued; an Altar Guild was organized; the number of Stephen Ministers increased; and the men’s, women’s and youth groups, including a Scouting Ministry, continued to provide fellowship and support. Our hand bell choir was dedicated at worship on Sunday morning, May 12, 1996, at which our Student Intern Minister, Shana Harrison, delivered the sermon. Hurricanes Greet a New Pastor In June 1996, Rev. Jim Bell arrived as pastor at Hampstead United Methodist Church and shortly thereafter Hurricanes Bertha and Fran stormed through the area! During 1999, several men and women of HUMC joined the very first walks of the Coastal Carolina Emmaus Community. This program remains strong at our church today. In October 1999 after a successful building fund campaign, six new classrooms were completed as a wing in the rear of the building and a 1,500 square foot activity building was built behind the rear parking area. Also in 1999, a prayer garden, designed by Norma Lee Hoyt, was completed outside the sanctuary with the help of many members working together. The Prayer Garden continues to stand today as a beautiful addition to our church property. In 2000, three acres adjacent to the church property were purchased from Mr. Jessie Lea. In 2002, we were given the opportunity to purchase eight more adjacent acres from Mrs. Sylvia Ditmer. On Miracle Sunday, May 19, 2002, $229,000 was received for land purchase, the largest single offering in the church’s history. The property was consecrated on June 23, 2002, affording the church an additional parsonage and potential church expansion, as well as outdoor recreational space. Hampstead UMC's property had increased by 16 acres of usable land on which to expand God’s ministry in the community.  During Rev. Bell’s ministry, Christ Care [small group] Ministries were established; the Preschool expanded with Judy Lane as Director; the number of participants in Disciple Bible Study increased and a Prayer Ministry was founded. Sunday school programs for both youngsters and adults were expanded. A church mission and vision statement were written, as well as child protection guidelines. With Patti Rouse as Music Director, Christmas Cantatas expanded to include an orchestra and presentations were made several times each season. Attendance at the two Sunday worship services had risen to 250-275, with Easter and Christmas Eve counts exceeding 300 in attendance. In January 2001, Rev. Bell and nine members of the congregation traveled to the John Wesley School in Santiago, Chile, to work on physical improvements to their facility. Over $8,500 was raised by HUMC members to support this mission effort. Hampstead United Methodist Church in 2007 Our Centennial Year In June of 2004, Rev. Joe Casteel became HUMC’s Pastor. During Rev. Casteel’s tenure, HUMC expanded its Preschool and Vacation Bible School. We established a Disaster Preparedness Response program for Hampstead, expanded adult educational opportunities and continued to provide Disciple Bible Study classes. A Community Healing Service was established. In the spring of 2005, a youth Upward Soccer program, led by Melody Doyle, was begun with 80 children and has proven to be a very valuable outreach ministry for our church. After much planning and discussion, a third Sunday morning worship opportunity was established at 9:45 AM on November 13, 2005. A Fall Festival was established in 2005. Our church’s official website, www.hampsteadumc.org, was launched in 2007 and has quickly become a focal point of information about our church and its many ministries. In June 2007, Rev. Dede Britt was appointed to Hampstead UMC as its first full-time Associate Pastor. She actually “returned” to us, since she and her family worshipped at HUMC before she decided to continue her education to become a minister. HUMC celebrated its Centennial on September 15 and 16, 2007. On Saturday evening, member homes served as hospitality receptions for former pastors, associate and student pastors serving HUMC. Sunday morning worship celebrated our church's past, present, and future with greetings, proclamations, scripture lessons, and communion by former and current pastors, and special music by our choir and orchestra. To complete the day, we had a noontime covered dish lunch with a special 100th anniversary cake, open house, memorabilia, displays, games, and a late afternoon picnic with back-to-school supplies for the community. Second Century HUMC is now eight years into its second Century of Faith. God’s presence remains strong among us. It is difficult to condense those years into a few paragraphs, but even if not named specifically, ALL people and activities strive to bring honor to our God who guides us. Many missions and activities from our first century continue strong today: three worship services on Sunday, both adult and children/youth Sunday School classes, Music Ministries including special cantatas and hand bells, Preschool, directed by Judy Lane, Vacation Bible School, Power Kids, Upward Soccer, Youth groups, Appalachia Service Project, Scouting for both boys and girls, United Methodist Women and its Circles, United Methodist Men, several small fellowship groups such as Lovely Ladies Luncheon and ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out), Labyrinth Garden, Prayer Shawl Ministry, our blueberry patch and pumpkin patch, Disciple Bible and other small study groups, Leap of Faith food pantry, Martha's Kitchen meals, MUNCH (Meals Until No Child Hungers), Backpack meals – and this is by no means exhaustive. Newer endeavors include December’s Night in Bethlehem, inviting the whole community to join us in celebrating the birth of our Savior. A ministry structured for senior adults was begun in 2010 called OWLS (Older, Wiser, Lively Seniors) focusing on Scripture, fellowship and joy in living. As with many churches and families, we have endured financial challenges, but we praise God for God’s grace to help us remain financially strong. Rev. Trudy Wilder, who had served among us, officially became an Associate Pastor at HUMC as of July 2010. In the summer of 2011, both Rev. Casteel and Rev. Britt were appointed to other churches and we welcomed a new Senior Pastor, Rev. Randy Maynard.  Rev. Maynard and Rev. Wilder emphasized integrating HUMC more fully into the local community.  One main way this transpired was the Hampstead for Habitat Day which occurred October 13, 2012. Eleven different congregations in Hampstead, along with the members and friends of HUMC, had a huge day of fundraising and fun. Under the leadership of overall chairperson, Shelia Rodney, $66,535.05 was raised to help toward the funding of Hampstead’s first Habitat for Humanity house. With the construction help of countless volunteers, Nikki Armstrong and her two children, Dyamond and Latrell, were the recipients of this new home which was dedicated, January 13, 2013. The Prayer Ministry has expanded into Spiritual Formation Ministries to include several weekly opportunities for prayer and healing, Christian counseling, a revitalized Stephen Ministry program and Healthy Living endeavors. In addition, one of the parsonages has been transitioned to serve as our HUMC Spirit Center, serving both our church and the community. The HUMC Spirit Center houses weekly Young Life gatherings, enabling young people exposure to Christ. Coordination with WARM (Wilmington Area Re-Building Ministries) has strengthened – they share office space in the HUMC Spirit Center and one of the HUMC members is on the staff at WARM.  The United Methodist Men, who were inactive for a few years, was re-organized in the beginning of 2012 and about 25 men regularly meet for breakfast on the first Saturday of the month. Not only is a good breakfast served but the men involve themselves in some sort of service project when their meeting is over. The United Methodist Women now have three circles with about 50 members. We have been blessed to meet our apportionments during the past few years which mean our dollars for service to the NC Conference are reaching out into mission fields across the world. Christmas Eve services have been well attended by many families, with the collections taken going to missions such as Stop Hunger Now events with Topsail Elementary School students. This enables children from kindergarten through fifth grade to experience hands-on mission service as they package dehydrated meals to be sent to areas in need. HUMC established its first organized unit of a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) under the direction of Walt Makaryk who was appointed as Harbor District and NC Conference Disaster Response Coordinator. Additional District Coordinators have been appointed with responsibility to provide assistance in disaster relief. To assist in these efforts, several HUMC church members, as well as others from nearby churches, have become trained as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Early Response Team (ERT) volunteers. A closer association has been established with Pender County Emergency Management. Volunteers who have traveled to various communities to help with clean-up after devastation of natural disasters. Several of our members (Judy Carter, Pat Byron, Donna Kurtz, and Marilyn Flanders) have led our congregation in being one of the largest team fund raisers for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life of Pender County. We also acknowledge our youth for staying up during the night for this event to keep the laps going around the track from dusk ‘til' dawn. Our ladies have helped host over 100 people at Survivor Luncheons for Pender County. Several successful "Swing for a Cure" golf events sponsored by HUMC at Olde Point Country Club have also supported Relay for Life. We have worked together with other area churches in the PEMA (Pender East Ministerial Association), for example, supporting our high school graduating seniors in a Baccalaureate Service through worship, music, and fellowship. Many people in our congregation and from the community have devoted time to study and listen to God's word in small group Bible studies. This offers a time to get to know many of the new faces that have joined our congregation. Over the years, we have had a designated Youth Sunday, when our youth present audio visuals and personal testimonies about what God is doing in their lives. The Administrative Council voted in 2013 to begin exploring the possibility of expansion. Hiram Williams graciously offered to serve as Building Committee Chairperson. In January 2014, the church's primary parsonage was successfully sold and the proceeds used to pay off the mortgage on the parsonage. To celebrate that accomplishment, a mortgage burning ceremony was held May 18, 2014. Additional proceeds were designated for facilities improvements and mission projects in the future, as approved by the Administrative Council. Rev. Maynard was released from his appointment as Senior Pastor on June 30, 2014 in order to move with his wife, Cindy, to Lexington, Kentucky to be with her elderly parents. On July 1, 2014, Samuel "Skip" Williams was appointed to fill the Senior Pastor position at HUMC. Skip came highly recommended as a pastor who had overseen several building programs at former appointments. In March of 2015, the Study Committee report on the need for additional facilities was presented to a special Called Charge Conference. The Study Committee report priorities were:  fellowship hall with commercial kitchen, education space, remodeling the present sanctuary to a formal space, and central entry/commons. Also, the people nominated to serve on a Building Team were approved at the same Charge Conference. In early summer of 2015, after interviews with design/build contractors, the Building Team approved Chambliss & Rabil Contractors Inc. Rev. Trudy Wilder, who served faithfully at HUMC for five years as Associate Pastor, retired as of June 30, 2015. This has been just a very brief look at the history of HUMC since it was founded back in 1907. So much more than is listed in this booklet has transpired, but it would be a virtual impossibility to record everything that has happened in the past 108 years. Suffice it to say that God has richly blessed those who have, at one time or another made Hampstead United Methodist Church their church home. We look forward to going in the direction that God will be leading us in the future. Truly, Hampstead United Methodist Church has been blessed in so many ways. We celebrate our heritage because it is important to remember who we are, to honor those who have gone before us, and because our history is a ministry too. Our North Carolina Conference reminds us:  “History shows us how God’s people have struggled, failed, triumphed and endured. It records God’s work in human lives and in human events. Even as we celebrate people, events and places, we witness about our church’s high calling in Jesus Christ. We do not celebrate uncritically, however. Real people make real mistakes, even in the church! An honest celebration recognizes that the past was not perfect and honors men and women who relied on God’s grace to rise above their own weaknesses.” We call on God to continue to be at work in our church, our community and our world to make all a place of honor to Almighty God. Let us remember, honor, teach and minister.  May we step forward into the future at Hampstead United Methodist Church with the confidence that God’s presence is with us.