Harrison United Methodist Church History


In order to present an accurate history of our church, let us go back a bit to the forerunner of the Methodist Church in Harrison, Tennessee.


Methodism immigrated to the Tennessee Valley in 1804 and was known as the Methodist Episcopal Church South.  According to a report written by R.N. Price, preachers traveled by horseback.  The first Methodist Church in Harrison was built on the river about 1804.  Harrison, a growing community at that time, had three churches:  Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist.  However, in 1907, a fire destroyed the Presbyterian Church and a tornado tore the roof off the Baptist Church.  All three congregations joined together.  Ministers at this time were Methodist Rev. F.T. Hale, and Baptist Rev. Lewis Syler.  The inter-denominational church had 200 members in 1937 when TVA purchased the property on the river.  When TVA built the dam, the property was flooded out (the area was known as Old Harrison).  The Church then moved in 1939 to Highway 58 in "New" Harrison, while taking the name of the Baptist Church.


The current history of the church starts in the early part of 1960 when someone had a dream and a vision for the need of a Methodist Church in the Harrison Community.  The Cleveland District of the Holston Annual Conference assigned Rev David Lawrence as the pastor.  There were no members and no church buildings.  The young pastor began contacting people in the community about the new church.  The first worship service was held on Saturday, December 4, 1960 at the Harrison Elementary School.


On Sunday, March 6, 1961, the District Superintendent, M. C. Wiekel, and the pastor, David Lawrence, conducted an organizational meeting at Harrison school.  The following six people became the first charter members:  Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hinson, Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Trotter, Mrs. E.B. Clendenin, and Mrs. E.D. Black.  These original charter members were eventually elected to the Church Council.  At the Annual Conference in June 1961, the Harrison Church was placed on the Fairview Circuit.  The Rev. Glenn C. Patterson became the pastor with the Rev. Raymond Ashley serving as Associate Pastor.  The worship services were then moved to the Masonic Hall located north of Harrison Elementary School on Highway 58.  This location was used from 1961 to 1964.


In the meantime, at the Annual Conference of June 1962, Harrison Church was transferred to the Chattanooga District.  The Rev. James Jaynes was appointed as the new pastor.  Through the kindness of Tyner Methodist Church, the old parsonage was made available for the Harrison parsonage.  At this time there were only eight (8) members.


The Rev. Jaynes met the challenge to build the new Harrison Church with his faith in God and His Church.  Membership had increased and good attendance had been observed, both in Church School and Worship Services.  A building committee was appointed to work on plans for the new building.  The property which consisted of eleven (11) and six-tenths (6/10) acres was purchased.  This property was located next to the elementary school and is the current location of our church.

Ground-breaking services were held on February 9, 1964 with District Superintendent W.C. Daniels officiating.  Construction on the first unit of the church started on February 10, 1964 and was completed on June 9, 1964.

The first service of worship in the new church (now known as Peck Hall) was held on June 14, 1964, with 82 present for Church school and 101 present for the morning worship service.  In May of 1964, the construction of a new scout cabin was built to the rear of the church and was named Holder Hall in honor of Charles Holder for his devotion to the church with his many hours of loyal service.

All notes were paid off in March, 1969, with God's help and that of a generous congregation.  The Rev. Ed Thomlinson presided over the "Note burning" ceremony.

Harrison Church continued to grow in membership as well as in the Holy Spirit.  Located near Chickamauga Lake, the church neighborhood grew as families moved into nearby homes.  By the late 1970's, Harrison and the surrounding area was the fastest growing part of Hamilton county.  As young families moved into the area, the need for educational spaces for Sunday school classrooms became critical.

In November 1980, ground-breaking ceremonies were held for a new combination sanctuary and educational building.


The structure was financed through the sale of church bonds, a loan and a grant from the conference, and contributions from the membership.  The Rev. James Hawkins, a Nazarene pastor was the superintendent in charge of construction of the new building.  The Harrison United Methodist Church as we know it now was consecrated on December 6, 1981.  However, the first formal worship service in the current building was a Memorial Service for Mrs. Hallie H. Euback on August 3, 1981.  The memorial service was scheduled in the "old" church originally.  However, Rev. C.V. Duff moved it next door to the sanctuary which had not been completely finished at the time.

Another parsonage was purchased on Marmons Drive and, once again, through the generosity of the congregation, the note was paid off and a special service was conducted by Rev. Randy Frey on January 8, 1989.

The old church building became known as Fellowship Hall and later for Jack Peck (Peck Hall) in memory of his loyal service to the church as Sunday school teacher, Church Council member, and pillar of the church. In 1995, Peck Hall was remodeled with a new kitchen and a bathroom.

A new parsonage in Ooltewah was purchased in September, 2000.  Plans are underway to retire this mortgage by January 2007.

Growth of the church continued with through the construction of a playground area and pavilion for children of all ages.  The playground project was funded entirely by the generous donations from the congregation and completed in April 2006.  Phase II of this project was the completion of the Picnic Pavilion in 2007.

Most recently a family bathroom with a baby changing station was added off the narthex in August 2011.


A history would not be complete without listing some of the many loyal members from 1981 who are still active in our church today.  To name a few, they are:  Mrs. Glenn Bazemore, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Barham,  Mr. and Mrs. Chester Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Gault, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Harris, Miss Betty Miller, Mr. Gifford Walker  Their dedication and faithfulness to the glory of God, along with their love and continued support of God's Church- Harrison United Methodist Church- will be forever appreciated.


Listed below is the roster of pastors assigned through the years to Harrison United Methodist Church.


Chronology of Assigned Pastors

Rev. David Lawrence            1960
Rev. Glenn Patterson            1961

Associate Pastor:  Raymond Ashley

Rev. James Jaynes*               1962

Rev. W.C. Daniels*                 1965

Rev. Ernest D. Cushman*      1967

Rev. Ed Tomlinson                 1969

Rev. Dan Kelley                       1971

Rev. David F. Ensminger       1973

Rev. Trigg James*                   1977

Rev. C.V. Duff                          1978

Rev. G. Dennis Newman         1982

Rev. Leonard R. Arnold           1986

Rev. Randy Frye                      1988

Rev. Henry Groseclose           1993

Rev. John Thierbach               1995

Rev. Darryl Ross*                    1998

Rev. Thomas E. Hancock        2005
Rev. Charles Ensminger         2014