Pine Flat Methodist Church Celebrates 164 Years – The Greenville Advocate

Pine Flat Methodist Church turns 164

Posted 9:19 a.m. on Monday, September 26, 2022

Pine Flat Methodist Church will celebrate its 164e Reunion on Oct. 2 from 11 a.m.

The church is located on Highway 10, west of Greenville. All are invited to attend the event.

Dr. Olivia Poole will have the honor of presiding over the service.

She is originally from Montgomery and was raised in the congregation of the First United Methodist Church.

After graduating from Auburn University, she decided to attend Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and later earned her doctorate from Duke University.

In the spring of 1858, James and Martha Reynolds ceded the land for the original church, and the men of the community began clearing the land.

They used the tall, virgin pines that dotted the property to build the church.

The wood has been sawn at Bowen’s Mill and planed by hand by true craftsmen.

In the early years, the first group of Methodists in the area, practicing the Wesleyan tradition, held their meetings at friends and neighbors, and later at Pine Flat Academy.

Founding members included the Reynolds family, the Barge, Harris and Greene families. Among these early devotees were also the Purifoy family. The McDonald, Holaway and Morris families were also represented in the lists.

At the time, there was a special gallery built on the front of the church. For Sunday morning services, the slaves sat upstairs in the gallery. For afternoon services, slaves sat downstairs and whites sat upstairs in the gallery.

When renovations were carried out in 1870, the gallery was no longer needed, so it was removed from the church.

In addition, during the construction of the church, a partition was placed in the center to separate the men from the women.

After the “circuit runners,” who were preaching a four-hour sermon, came the first pastor of Pine Flat Church. Theophilus Moody was from the Alabama Conference.

In 1967, the church underwent a major restoration.

Helen Lazenby Poole helped guide all the details of the project. She loved the church deeply and wanted to make sure all the hard work wasn’t wasted.

The interior woodwork and benches have all been refinished by hand. A new roof was added and a shiny new coat of paint beautified both the interior and exterior.

In 1980, Helen Poole said of the church she loved so much: “We owe a debt of gratitude to those godly ministers and consecrated church members who laid the foundations…It is our responsibility to follow the example of our ancestors and, through our zeal and faithfulness, continue Christian discipleship at Pine Flat.

Regular services are no longer held at the church.

Descendants of the original families and former members attend special events including weddings, baptisms and reunions.

Jerry B. Hatch