Bybee United Methodist Church recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of its first service.
On July 14, 1913, Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Lovell gave land for the construction of Bybee Methodist Church, the lot being situated alongside Hwy. 160 “smack dab” in the middle of the Bybee community.
A week later, on July 21, 1913, volunteers started hauling block from Newport to begin construction. Two days later, on July 23, 1913, John Posey began work on the concrete foundation.
By August 4, 1913, the foundation was ready for builders to start laying the blocks and by September 26, 1913 the walls of the new church were completed.
A Mr. Spouse and D. T. Kirk began putting on the rafters on October 12, 1914, and this part of the work was completed on March 11, 1915. On December 20, 1915, O. P. Ailey received $445 for the church’s seats.
Members held their first service in the church on February 20, 1916. E. S. Redwine sang “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” and D. T. Kirk led prayer.
Rev. G. W. Fox read from First John 29:47, and Irene (Scott) Holdway sang “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior.”
Rev. Fox preached the first sermon, “And He Brought Him to Jesus.” Mr. Redwine offered the closing prayer, Mrs. Holdway sang “Oh, Happy Day,” and Rev. Fox dismissed the congregation.
On April 16, 1916, the first Sunday School was organized with the following officers elected: D. T. Kirk, Sunday School Superintendent; Irene (Scott) Holdway, Assistant Superintendent; and Miss Ina Mae Redwine (later Mrs. Hugh Holder), secretary.
Sadly church records from 1916-1970 have not been found.
Over the years, several renovations and changes to the church’s structure have been made. A picnic pavilion was built and later enclosed in 1996 and converted to a fellowship hall. It was dedicated in November of 1996. The first function held in the new hall was the wedding reception of Johnny and Donna Buckner.
In the early 1970s, a church choir was organized. By 1972 membership in the choir had dwindled to Johnny and Donna Buckner, Randall and Karen Bible, and Robert and Janice Buckner, who became the Bybee Singers. Ned and Brenda Ramsey have joined the group, and Robert and Janice Buckner have taken leave.
When Terry Schnell was pastor, the sanctuary was remodeled and two Sunday School rooms, food pantry, and garage were constructed between 1999 and 2004.
In 2011 and 2013, Camp Wesley Woods helped with a Summer Day Camp for the children in the community and plans for this year’s camp are in place.
In November of 2011, a chapter of the United Methodist Women was started. This group is a cluster chapter with Glendale and Bruners Grove United Methodist Churches.
Henry and Frances Hayes, Jr. gave additional property to the church for a parking lot, which was later paved.
For several years, Bybee United Methodist Church Food Ministry has distributed food and delivered thousands of meals to community residents. Currently that ministry is on hiatus, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but bread and other items are still distributed in the church parking lot once a week.
In its early days, Bybee Methodist Church was part of the Newport Circuit, then changed at various times until it became part of the current High Point Circuit. It has also changed from its original status as Bybee Methodist Church to Bybee United Methodist Church.
Over the past near-century, Bybee United Methodist Church has been served by the following pastors:
William Browning (1912-1913), Roy E. Morrison (1914), George Fox (1915), William H. Harrison (1916-1917), W. L. Dykes (1918), C. W. Williams (1919-1920), N. F. Walker (1921), J. F. Mitchell (1922-1923), J. W. Christian (1924), (TBS-1925), Frank Fugate Essary (1926), David S. Dosser (1927-1928), Louis Alonzo Harmon (1929), E. Z. Blankenbeckler (1930-1931),
Roy F. Harris (1932-1933), C. W. Williams (1934-1935), William Marsh (1936), R. C. Gillespie (1937-1938), L. M. Moneyhun (1939), C. H. Taylor (1940-1941), Arch Buchanan (1942-1944), C. D. Clowers (1945), Homer Clark (1946-1948), E. A. Malmquist (1949-1951), Michael Latham (1952-1954), W. Austin White (1955), George Underwood (1956), Fred S. Rich (1957),
Hubert Reneau (1957), Lowell Parrott (1959-1961), Ernest Dean (1962), Shirl Stock (1963-1964), James Underwood (1965), Howard McComas (1966-1968), James E. Harris (1969-1976), Charles Lindy (1977-1980), J. T. Arnold (1981-1982), Bill R. Lichlyter (1983), Luther Lawson (1984), Charles P. Martin (1985), Joseph Lee Johnson (1986-89), Truman Nicholson (1990-1993), D. Everett Rice (1994-1995), Walter Cline (1996-1998), Terry Schnell (1998-2004),
Joshua Felton (2005), Charles Davis (2006), Dr. George Rawn (2007-2009), Martin Riley (2009-2010), Eddie Noe (2010-2011), and Roy Dalton.
Denny Humphreys is the current pastor.