In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. The publication included the histories of 16 Hurricane area churches. This week’s selection is the 5th of the church histories which were published in 1988.
FORREST BURDETTE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
2848 Putnam Avenue Hurricane, West Virginia
Submitted by Mrs. Grace Boggess
Methodism has been a part of the scene in the vicinity of Hurricane for more than a century. As early as 1815 an area called Hurricane Bridge was on maps and a log building was erected to serve as a church for both Baptists and Methodists by 1860.
The first Methodist Society in the community was organized in the home of one of the members in 1890 and the present church emerged from that society. The churches in the area were visited by circuit riders and young preachers from Morris Harvey College at Barboursville.
Following the organization of the first society, the congregation worshipped in the Hurricane Baptist Church for a number of years-each congregation having part-time ministers.
The Methodist Church, North, worshipped in a building on Main Street on one of the lots now used as a parking lot for the A-Z grocery store. The church was later moved about one mile east in Teays Valley and was known as the Rock Cut Church.
The Liberty Methodist Episcopal Church, South, located on upper Cow Creek, was in our community area. Many of our past and present members originally were members of the Liberty and Rock Cut Methodist Churches.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas (Vaturia Conner) Harbour deeded the lot on Putnam Avenue to the Methodist Church, South, on November 30, 1899.
On June 6, 1915, the first Sunday School was organized with Forrest Gordon Burdette as the Superintendent. With seventy-six members, the Sanctuary was completed in 1915 at a cost of $4,000.00. Money was raised for the Sanctuary in many ways. One of the most unusual was conducted by the ladies who had a “Sock Social.” It was held at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. C.M. Woodworth on Saturday, January 31, 1914. Socks were given out and the person was asked to multiply their sock size by two and place the cents inside the sock. The Ladies Aid pieced and quilted quilts, tacked rags and wove rugs, had dinners, and sold bottles of flavoring to do “their” share in paying for the new church.
On November 10, 1918, when the church was dedicated to the memory of young Forrest Gordon Burdette, Bishop U.W. V. Darlington stated, “I feel that I am a better man by having known Forrest Gordon Burdette.” Burdette had died a short time before at the age of 22 years in World War I at a hospital in Gettysburg, Pa., from the “1918 flu.”
1936-The former Liberty Methodist Church was moved from the country, repaired, and joined to the main building of the new Hurricane church. Rev. I.N. Fannin was the Pastor. That building was then named Epworth Hall and served as Sunday School classrooms and provided for church dinners with a small kitchen. The building was later sold to Mr. and Mrs. Walter Clark and moved to a location on Virginia Avenue.
1938-The Rock Cut Church, located on the South side of Teays Valley Road in front of the new Hurricane High School, was destroyed by a severe storm and was not rebuilt. 1940-A new addition containing classrooms and a choir loft was added to the west side of the former Sanctuary. Concrete blocks were sold to members and friends of the congregation to pay for the new addition. Rev. W.L. Phillips was Pastor. Ladies made and sold doughnuts to purchase an organ for the church.
A house on the corner of Virginia Avenue and Conner Street was purchased to be used as the church parsonage. Rev. Ralph T. McCord was Pastor. That property was sold in 1962.
1953-During the pastorate of Rev. Ira Mentz, an educational addition was begun. Pledges totaling $43,291.00 were made for the new structure. The addition provided classrooms, multi-purpose hall, and kitchen.
1962-Additional classrooms were added, new heating system installed, and a new parsonage at 304 Ada Dell Avenue was purchased. Rev. Allen Parrish was Pastor.
1967-The Ada Dell Avenue parsonage was sold and the Dr. Erwin property, one of the oldest houses in town, adjacent to the church property, was purchased to provide additional parking and to serve as a parsonage. Rev. Joseph Byrd was Pastor.
1974-The original Forrest Burdette United Methodist Church Sanctuary was razed. A tremendous increase in attendance and membership made it necessary to erect a new and larger Sanctuary. With the new construction of brick and beautiful stained glass window facing the highway, the church added a nursery, offices, narthex, basement with social hall and kitchen, and restrooms. The new Sanctuary speaks to all who enter and all who pass b that God in Christ is at the heart of the contemporary society. Rev. Charles Hinkle was Pastor.
1978-The former Qualls-Hodges property located on Virginia Avenue was purchased with five “Faith Partner Pledges” received for down payment. This now serves as the parsonage. Rev. William D. Slates was Pastor.
1980-A Pre-School was opened for three and four year-old children. Teachers and aids were employed and a Board of Directors was elected. The school operates under the supervision of the Church and is located on and in church property.
1981-The first Assistant Pastor, Mrs. Jan Oldham, was sent to us by the W. Va. Methodist Conference. She later became a Pastor of the United Methodist Church.
Others who have been led into the ministry of serving God are: Ervin Conner, Leo Pauley, James Burdette, James Dumire, Mike Amory, Darrell Sovine and Frances Kiff.
The Church received recognition from the United Methodist Conference of W. Va. It was named the Conference Church of the Year. Rev. Bill Deel was Pastor.
Our first Educational Director, Miss Chris Wagner, was employed.
The Church purchased the Dakota Taylor Rice property adjacent to the Sanctuary to be used for parking.
1983-The Dr. Sam Henson property on Putnam Avenue was purchased. It is adjacent to the Rice property. This property will be razed and used for future expansion.
1986-The education building and Byrd Hall were renovated.
1987-The Alice Hall and James Dunlap properties on either side of the church property were purchased for additional parking plus future expansion. Rev. Robert Johnson, Pastor.
1987-1988-0ur membership is now 612. The challenge is ours. As we approach our Diamond Anniversary in 1990, in God’s name we will work toward all things to His glory.