A Brief History of the Midway Methodist Church (1932 - )
Rev. T.E. Pickren, pastor of the Darien Circuit, planted the first seeds of Midway Methodism in 1932 when he began a weekly Bible study – prayer group in the home of Dr. and Mrs. L.P. Youmans at Yellow Bluff. In 1933, Rev. Pickren moved and Rev. E.F. Morgan came out of retirement to serve the Darien Circuit. Rev Morgan continued the weekly meetings at Yellow Bluff and made efforts to organize the group into a church. By 1934, the organizing efforts were completed and the Midway Methodist Church was chartered with eight members, three of whom were designated “Trustees”. The new church became a part of the Darien Circuit in the Waycross District. The circuit new consisted of six churches: Darien, Crafton, Memorial, Morgan's, Mt. Pleasant, South Newport and Midway. Throughout 1934 the congregation of Midway Methodists met in the homes of its members for worship.
During 1935 the present sanctuary was built. Ballard Jones, Sr. offered the use of a lot adjacent to his home on Hwy 17 as a construction site, and Dr L.P. Youmans purchased the pulpit, communion rail, altar and much of the lumber from the recently closed Jackson Chapel Methodist Church at South Newport. The new sanctuary was paid for upon the completion of construction by the contributions of members, the gifts of church friends and a grant from the Methodist Board of Church Extension. Entirely paid for, the sanctuary was dedicated on the third Sunday (19_ of January, 1936. After its dedication, the sanctuary remained at the Hwy 17 location for 13 years.
In 1949 Mr and Mrs. Harry Rogers gave the Midway Methodist Church two acres of land on Hwy 38 in order that the sanctuary might be relocated away from the noise of Hwy 17. The church purchased a lot adjoining the Rogers' property on the west. In addition the church bought a house Mr and Mrs W H Cohen of Hinesville. This house, purchased for $1600, served as the parsonage.
Later, through the combined efforts of church members, Boy Scouts, and the Lion's Club, a barracks was purchased from Camp Stewart and moved onto the church grounds to serve as a social hall.
In 1950 Roscoe Denmark and J.K. “Pop” Tuten built a steeple and bell housing for the sanctuary. “Pop” later placed the steeple on the sanctuary roof.
The education building (red-brick) was built in 1956. It was totally paid for upon completion and was dedicated on November 11, 1956.
In 1960, the South Georgia Annual Conference redrew district lines and Midway became a part of the Savannah District. The 1960s and 1970s were times of hard work and steady but slow growth. By the mid 1970s the church began to grow as did the entire area.
In 1981, the church, with Bill Martin's help, purchased a one acre lot the east of the present sanctuary as a possible site for a new parsonage. By 1983, the possible became actual and a new parsonage was completed.
While the new parsonage was being planned, Bill Martin and Charlie Williams, assisted by many other church members, spearheaded the development of the Midway Methodist Cemetery. The work was completed debt free, and the cemetery was opened on July 5, 1982. Mrs. Faye Desposito was the first person buried there.
Meanwhile, other church members planned for and oversaw the parsonage construction. John Riddick shouldered most of the construction supervision of the parsonage. In February of 1983, the new was completed and furnished. This time, not only was the entire endeavor paid for in cash, but $35,000 above costs were given to start a new building fund. The parsonage was formally dedicated on March 4, 1984.
On February 5, 1984, the church formed a Committee to make an in-depth study of the church's need for facility improvement. After months of careful study, the Committee presented the church with a recommendation of a three-phased building program: Phase One, Sanctuary; Phase Two, Education Building; Phase Three, Social Hall.
On January 20, 1985, the church elected and installed an official Building Committee. The committee made immediate plans to implement the recommendations of the previous study committee. In order to do so, they obtained the professional services of Albert Suttles of Osteen and Suttles Architects in Douglas, GA. After months of work and re-work, the Building Committee presented preliminary plans for a three-phased building program, beginning with the sanctuary, to called session of the Church Conference, meeting on November 26, 1985. The conference gave its unanimous approval to the plan for financing.
On December 15, 1985, the Savannah District Committee on Church Construction added its unanimous approval to all the plans. The district committee's approval opened the way for groundbreaking services and construction.
In the midst of so much building in the 1980s the church kept its missional priorities in order. In both 1984 and 1985 the Midway-Fleming charge was selected as the Savannah District's Charge of the Year. The selection was based on largely on membership growth, missional giving and facility improvement.
(compiled by Ida Smith and Mrs. Mary Youmans)
On September 20, 1987, the new Sanctuary was dedicated.
In September and October of 2022, the Midway United Methodist Church met to discuss leaving the United Methodist Church. In late October, a Church Conference was called by the Coastal District Superintendent, David Thompson, to vote on disaffiliation from the United Methodist Church. It passed with an overwhelming majority.
After much discussion, a second vote was taken in March 2023 to decide the future direction of the church. It was decided with around 75% of the vote to join with the Global Methodist Church denomination. Closely after, a vote was taken to change the name of the church back to Midway Methodist Church.
On May 21, 2023, a final vote will be taken by the South Georgia Annual Conference to certify the church's leaving the United Methodist Church.
Charter Members of the Midway Methodist Church
Mr. Ballard Jones, Sr.
Mrs. R.A. Calder
Mr. R.A. Calder
Mr. G.G. Lambert
Dr. L.P. Youmans
Mrs. L.P. Youmans
Mr. Roger Youmans
Mrs. Roger Youmans
Pastors of Midway Methodist Church
1932-33 Rev. T.E. Pickren Darien Circuit
1933-39 Rev. E.F. Morgan Darien Circuit
1939-40 Rev. J.D. Corbitt, Sr. Darien Circuit
1940-42 Rev. John Swain Darien Circuit
1943-46 Rev. G. Ross Freeman Darien Circuit
1946-47 Rev. J.E. Lackey Midway-South Newport
1947-52 Rev. William Sell Midway-South Newport
1952-55 Rev. A.L. Doloff Midway
1955-57 Rev. T.J. McCullough Midway
1958-59 Rev. Frank Perry Midway
1959-60 Rev John S. Willis Midway-Fleming
1960-67 Rev. H. Carl Marx Midway-Fleming
1968-69 Rev. Lonzie Webster Midway
1970-71 Rev. Glen T. Brinson Midway-Fleming
1971-76 Rev. Ronnie Register Midway-Fleming
1976-79 Rev. David C. Seyle Midway-Fleming
1979-83 Rev. Steve Moreno Midway-Fleming
1983-90 Rev. Robert Beckum Midway-Fleming
1990-91 Rev. Franklin Pierce Midway-Fleming
1991-93 Rev. Tom Oiver Midway-Fleming
1993-96 Rev. Rudy Starling Midway-Fleming
1997 Dr. Frank Terry (interm) Midway-Fleming
1997-02 Rev. Wayne DeFore Midway
2002-06 Rev. John Walker Midway
2006-13 Rev. Doug Walker Midway
2013-16 Rev. Dan Pegram Midway
2016- Rev. Hank Perry Midway
Midway Methodist Church
215 Martin Road
Midway, GA 31320
Pastor Hank Perry 912-414-4852
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