History

1902: On a Sunday afternoon, J.W. Allison sat on his front proch watching a group of neighborhood children playing. He felt pretty sure that none of them had attended Sunday school or Church that day. With the help of others in the neighborhood, Mr. Allison organized a community Sunday school at Camp Grove School, To the forerunner of Belle Morris. Soon, the Pastor of Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church, South began to preach on Sunday afternoons at Camp Grove.

1906: To meet the growing needs of the Sunday school, a lot with a small house was purchased at the northwest corner of Washington Pike and Whittle Springs Road. Mr. Allison and others converted the house into a church building. At the first service, in September, a new mission church under Centenary was organized. The “little church on the corner” was initially known as Camp Grove Methodist.

1907: Reverend Harry Hutsell was appointeds as the first pastor, on a two-point charge with Emerald Avenue Methodist Church. When the presiding Elder (District Superintendent) came to hold the first quarterly converence at the new little church, it was said that he “was anything but optimistic about its prospects of ever amounting to much.” However, the church grew rapidly.

1911: The growing church moved to a new building on the south side of Waqshington Pike at Fariview Street. Reverend John Bell Carnes, the pastor, personally raised most of the money for the building, and he helped with the construction. Soon after moving to the new church, a revival was held, during which Brother Carnes became ill and died soon afterwards.

1927: During the pastorate of Rev. Clyde Lundy, the need for a larger facility became critical. As a result, the estately colonial brick building, designed by well-known Knoxville architect Charles Barber, was built at the present site at a cost of $38,000. Most of the money for the new building was raised in less than 30 minutes at a pledge service.

1939: To help alleviate a growing space problem, the men of the church built a two-story log cabin behind the church that was used for Sunday school classes, prayer meetings, youth meetings, Scouts, and Vacation Bible School.

1951: The three-story Educational Building was completed.

1956: Church membership reached a peak of 1268. With minor exceptions, Washington Pike had grown steadily since its founding in 1906. This growth had paralleled neighborhood growth with its steady influx of new families.

1960: The santuary was enlarged and renovated in accordance with an award-winning design by noted Philadelphia architect Harold Wagoner.

1977: The Moller Pipe organ was installed, fulfilling a long-held dream of choir director Floyd Bell.

1979: The Christian Outreach Center was completed to serve both church members and the community.

2002: Urban Family Outreach, Inc. was organized as a community outreach mission of Washington Pike United Methodist Church. The church that began as a community Sunday school to serve the needs of neighborhood children now, more than 100 years later, again places a major emphasis on ministering to the neighborhood children.