History of Church

History of Wheeler Church
It was 1823 when the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church decided to divide the vast Tennessee Conference and create a new conference named Holston Conference. The new conference included East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and part of western North Carolina. November 17, 1824 marks the beginning of the Holston Conference. 
 
Prior to 1824, a Methodist Class had been meeting in the one room log Gammon Schoolhouse, which was located in what is now known as Holston (Holston Institute) community. At the newly formed Holston Conference, the Gammon Methodist Class requested a preacher. They received circuit riders Rev. James G.H. Speer as preacher in charge and the young Creed Fulton as an assistant. The Gammon Class was placed on the Blountville Circuit- which included 21 preaching places that could be a vairety of structures including log churches, homes, stores, schools or whatever was available.
 
In the 1860's, before and during the Civil War, community members were divided in their loyalty to the national government or the southern cause. The Blountville Circuit left the Methodist Episcopal Church and joined the new southern division of methodism called the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. During this time, the Reverend Samuel R. Wheeler was pastor and he helped the group make plans to build a new frame church. Land for the new church was given by Sara Gammon and was located along a road which later became known as Stage Road- a road which led from Abingdon to Jonesborough and points south. Wheeler Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church, South as the name chosen for the new church in honor of its pastor- the Reverend Samuel R. Wheeler.
 
The congregation first met in the church on February 7, 1870, and continued meeting in that building until 1914. The congregation met in another stone building from 1914 until 1953 when expansion of the Tri-Cities Regional Airport and the need for a larger building, made a move from that building to its present location necessary. Land was donated on the Airport Road across from the Airport and an architect was hired. Much of the construction was done by church members, since funds were limited.
 
Enough of the building was completed for the congregation to move in to the new brick building on October 25, 1953. It was still not furnished. In 1956, Wheeler Chapel Methodist Church left the Blountville Circuit (as did Blountville Methodist Church that same year) to become a station church. In 1958, the church dropped the word “Chapel” from its name and was now known simply as the Wheeler Methodist Church. In 1963, Sunday School enrollment had grown and a new educational wing was planned.
 
Construction began in Spring, 1966 and was finished in Summer, 1967. Sunday School clases moved into the new educational wing on October 12, 1966. In 1968, with the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren into a new denomination, the name of the church was changed to Wheeler United Methodist Church- the name of the church today.
 
In 1991, the congregations of Wheeler and Centenary United Methodist Churches merged as the Centenary Church closed and 44 members joined Wheeler. A building committee was formed to plan additional churchexpansion, and the new addition known as the Family Life Center was completed in 1996- an addition that included a chapel, a gymnasium, offices, classrooms, and a parlor.
 

In 2012, ground was broken for a Church Pavilion at the upper end of the  church property that is adjacent to Holston Middle School. Once completed, the  pavilion will include a covered picnic area, two garages for the church vans, a  storage area and a state of the art kitchen with bathrooms. Current plans also call for a portico to be built and attached to the Family Life Center that was part of the original plans but was not built as a cost saving measure.