History of Hodgin Memorial
The 1800s were a pivotal time for Methodists in America. Methodist preachers on horseback—"circuit riders"—spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the rural territories of the United States. These preachers drew people together to hear the Word of God proclaimed and to share together in the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. Places needed to be built in order to accomplish these things. Thus began the establishment of early churches such as the one that was the progenitor of Hodgin Memorial.
Methodism in Stoneville began just a few years after the town of
Stoneville was incorporated in 1877. In 1886-1887, a small one-room
frame building was built on North Henry Street and was paid for by
public subscription. Over time, this building has been used by
different denominations (Today, it houses a Baptist congregation on
Highway 135 near Eden, N.C.)
Stoneville Methodist Church was organized in 1886-1888 with Rev. R. P. Troy as the minister and nine charter members. In the early years, there was a unique relationship among the churches in the town. The four principal churches had one morning service each month. The Methodists had the first Sunday, the Presbyterians, the second, the Baptists, the third, and the Disciples (Christian) the fourth. Many people moved from church to church during the month. Some singers also moved each week and sang in all of the churches.
The Sunday School was organized in April, 1899 under Reverend Z. Paris with Shubal T. Hodgin as superintendent. Miss Maude Wall was the secretary. Professor Nat. S. Smith was the teacher of the Men’s class; Miss Annie L. Smith, the Young People’s Class and Mrs. Bettie H. Wall was the teacher of the Primary class. Enrollment was 35 and attendance was about 30 since this was the only Sunday School in town. Mr. Hodgin served as Superintendent for more than 40 years.
In 1944, under the leadership of Rev. W. B. Shinn, property was obtained from the estate of Dr. T. A. Boaz and a new church building and parsonage were begun. The cornerstone for the present church building was laid in 1950 under the leadership of Rev. T. R. Wolfe. At this time, the members agreed unanimously to name the church Hodgin Memorial as a tribute to the loyalty of Mr. Hodgin who labored so long and well for the advancement of the work of Stoneville Methodist Church. It is said that if a person was absent on Sunday morning, he would call his or her name and ask if anyone knew why this person was not in Sunday School. He led the singing, built the fires, and, most likely, also cleaned the church.
A Methodist Men’s group was organized in the 1960’s and prospered for several years with the men of the church working on various projects—serving both the church and the community.
The Ladies Aid Society was present in the early years and in 1910 the Missionary Society was organized. In 1940, the name of this group was changed to The Women’s Society of Christian Service and in 1972 they became the United Methodist Women. This group continues to work today for the good of the local church and the worldwide United Methodist Church.
Hodgin Memorial United Methodist Church has been on a two-point charge for several years. Today, it is on a charge with Centenary United Methodist Church. The minister preaches at Centenary at 9:40 a.m. and at Hodgin at 11:00 a.m. each Sunday.
Over 100 years have passed since its humble beginnings, but the people of Hodgin Memorial United Methodist Church continue to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ who see to it that His gospel is spread.