The history of Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church began in 1859 with the establishment of a community of worshipers at the Richland Institute at Tuscola (now Lake Junaluska), North Carolina. Among those present included the Rev. James R. Long, for whom the congregation was named when the first dedicated church building was constructed in 1892. That building, “the little white church”, served our rural community through the Civil and First World Wars.
A lot has happened since then. People have come and gone. Buildings have been built, adapted, and have evolved. The heart of Long’s Chapel is what it has always been. This church was planted in this community to serve and share Jesus to people living the mountains of Western North Carolina. Long’s Chapel has always demonstrated a special desire to help offer educational resources that help people grow in their life and faith. There has always been a special emphasis on being a missional church, sharing God’s love on our campus, in the community and beyond. Reaching people, Helping them grow in their faith and serve Christ in the world has been the driving force of Long’s Chapel for 158 years and counting. 158 years of worship, small groups, mission trips, community engagement, fellowship, thousands of lay servants equipped to serve and dozens of people experiencing a call to ordained ministry out of Long’s Chapel. Come join us and be a part as we figure out what our next century of mission and ministry will look like.
Just a few highlights in the long life of Long’s Chapel UMC
1859 – The Waynesville Circuit/Echota Mission and Richland Institute Established
1892 – Participants built “the little white church” across the street from our existing campus and renamed “The Richland Institute” gathering with its new name, “Long’s Chapel”
1892 – 1929 – Occupied the “little white church” where worship happened and Sunday School Classes met in all the corners of the main room. The bell in the current bell tower is from the little white church belfry.
1929 – Long’s Chapel moved across the street (to present location) and built a new church building to house growing worship and Sunday School ministries.
1932 – Long’s Chapel received its first Full Time Pastor (prior to that Long’s Chapel was a on a charge where it shared a pastor with other churches).
1946 – Long’s Chapel declared “A Year of Evangelism” where visitation evangelism was emphasized. Teams were sent out in the evenings to visit from house to house, taking the message of Christ and inviting people to church.
1950 – Long’s Chapel demonstrated it’s love for young people by partnering with the Boy Scouts.
1953 – Long’s Chapel, responding to a growing discipleship ministry, sponsored a School of Mission.
1960 – Renovations were made to Sunday School space and the building was expanded to include the current fellowship hall.
1965 – Start of Long’s Chapel’s weekday Kindergarten program enrolling 35 children (there was a privately owned kindergarten in the community that was closing so the church assumed responsibility for it). This was before Public Schools offered a Kindergarten program as a head start to education. A kindergarten type child care program to help prepare children for elementary school has been a part of Long’s Chapel ever since.
1973 – Long’s Chapel conducted a Lay Witness Mission to reach out into the community with the love of God and invite people to build friendship with those who need Jesus.
1979 – Expansion of the Sanctuary occurred, a narthex area and covered entrance was added.
2001 – A new Sanctuary Building was completed to meet the demand of overflowing worship space, with additional education and play space for children.
Early 2000’s – Due to an emphasis on Reaching, Growing and Serving, Long’s Chapel rapidly expanded in membership and worship attendance to become the largest United Methodist Church in North Carolina, west of Hickory. We remain so today.
2018 – We are eager to build on a significant past which is our foundation, as we form community that allows Jesus to change lives for generations to come.