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Bookwalter United Methodist Church
4218 Central Avenue Pike
Knoxville, TN  37912


Office 865-689-3349
Fax 865-687-8010
 
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Bookwalter United Methodist Church History

The Lord always knows our needs and is ever ready to meet those needs when they arise. That was the way with the organization of the United Brethren In Christ Church.

This portion of our beautiful Tennessee Valley which reached to Knoxville, was being settled by our worthy Revolutionary soldiers, who had been given grants of land for their services. In their homes in Virginia, they prepared their covered wagons, loaded their families and slaves and many things that would be needed in an unsettled country. The journey was long and hard. Soon they were comfortably settled and their children were going out into homes of their own. Then grandchildren.

But there was no church in the community and they traveled to Beaver Dam, Smithwood and Third Creek. When the fathers took the wagons, mothers and children could go to church. But when the men went on horse back, the women had to stay at home.

In 1881, Dr. Lewis Bookwalter moved his family (wife and three children) from Westfield, Illinois, to their new home near Knoxville. Shortly thereafter an ad appeared the Knoxville newspaper. A minister by the name of Louis Bookwalter wanted to get in touch with some United Brethrens. John Worth, who had come from the north and was living in the Inskip community, contacted Rev. Bookwalter. Rev. Bookwalter visited the community and found many people who were interested in establishing a church.

Rev. Bookwalter, assisted by Rev. Scott Moore (a Baptist minister) held a revival in the school house. Bookwalter United Brethren in Christ Church, organized sometime in 1882, grew out of this revival.

The first of our three church buildings was constructed on land given by Revolutionary War soldier Druery Anderson. Wealthy Patt hauled the first load of brick on the ground and was the first to be buried in the cemetery. The first church building was dedicated in the fall of 1883. This building of white weather board siding was heated by two wood stoves. Kerosene lamps furnished the light. A pump organ and piano were the pride of the congregation. When finished, the report to the annual meeting of the mission board stated that "a good house of worship had been built near Knoxville." The building served the congregation until 1922.

In 1921 Rev. Everett Edward Crabtree, a history teacher at Knoxville High School, became pastor. He was a very energetic and progressive person. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, he undertook to lay plans whereby money could be raised to build a new building. After holding eight weeks of prayer meetings, work got underway, and a beautiful building, with stained glass windows, more Sunday School classrooms, both on the main floor and basement level, kitchen and dining area and much more was completed in 1922 at a cost of $12,000. In back of the choir was a baptismal pool. The building was of yellowish brick said to be made from a formula from Rome more than a thousand years ago. Rev. Crabtree was pastor until 1924.

In Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on November 16, 1946, the United Brethren in Christ Church and the Evangelical Church merged; thus we became Bookwalter Evangelical United Brethren Church. Annual conference was held at Bookwalter July 13, 1965. The church was newly redecorated for the conference. Bookwalter was selected as "church of the year" in the Tennessee Conference (one of 32 churches considered).

On January 7, 1966, a fire destroyed Bookwalter's second building. Rev. Lee Cate had just become pastor. Under his leadership we first met at WNOX auditorium. Then things really began to fall in place. The Cumberland Estates N.W. Presbyterians furnished a place of worship. The First Methodist furnished us with pews. Our Baptist friends furnished us with hymnals. To quote the Rev. Cate, "We are United Brethren sitting on Methodist benches, worshiping in a Presbyterian Chapel, singing out of Baptist hymnals. We are truly ecumenical."

On March 10, 1968, the first service was held in our new structure which has a sanctuary seating 320 and small chapel rooms on each side to seat 72 each, 23 classrooms, a fellowship hall, kitchen and baptistery. The handsome colonial-style red brick structure with white columns, replaces the building destroyed by fire and stands on the old parsonage grounds, next door to where the former church stood.

In April of 1968, a merger of the Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church took place in Dallas, Texas, to form The United Methodist Church. The actual merger of the EUB and the Methodist Churches on the local level took effect at the Holston Annual Conference session May 29-June 2, 1969, at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. Rev. Neville Hammer was appointed pastor. Thus, a new era began for Bookwalter Church -- a new building, a new pastor, a new name and a bright new future.

Pastors Who Have Served Bookwalter

Lewis Bookwalter 1882-1883

George Wilford Sherrick 1883-1885

J.K. Bellheimer 1885

S.M. Pottenger 1885

J.B. Fisher unknown

L. Johnson unknown

E.H. Smith prior to 1892

Andrew Jackson Newgent 1893-1895

E.M. Lockwood 1895-1899

Andrew Jackson Newgent 1899-1900

W.R. Rowland 1900-1901

D.P. Baker 1901-1902

John M. Knight 1905-1908

W.H. Williams 1908-1909

Sam L. Browning 1909-1910

H.T. Athey 1910-1913

G. Wesley Mills 1913-1915

G. B. Weatherbee 1915-1917

Charles H. Babb 1917-1921

Everett Edward Crabtree 1921-1924

W. H. Wright 1924-1925

Robert K. Hutsell 1925-1932

W.D. Mitchell 1932-1935

Blaine Burgess 1935-1948

Charles S. Lane 1948-1955

Clifton W. Hatfield 1955-1958

Glen Cox 1958-1965

Harold McDaniel 1965-1966

Lee Cate 1966-1969

Neville A. Hammer 1969-1972

James C. Henry 1972-1975

John McDonald 1975-1976

Sterling D. Turner 1976-1980

J. Burchell Moss 1980-1983

Bruce P.  1983-1986

Dwight Kilbourne 1986-1993

Carl Ware 1993-1996

Garland E. James 1996-1997

Tom T. Ballard Jr. 1997-2002

Cass Mack Turner, Jr. 2002-2005

David A. Lord 2005-2015

 

 

 

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