Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sacred Sunday


Union Chapel Holy Church located in the Ridgeway, NC of Warren County was organized in 1912 under the leadership of Mother Emma Collins Craig. She was born in 1872 in Roxboro, NC and later moved to Durham, NC. Before the first church was built, the members would gather at neighbor's homes in the Ridgeway community for church services. Union Chapel is part of what is now known as the United Holy Church of America, Inc. This organization began in Method, NC in May of 1886 and was first known as Holy Churches of North Carolina and later as Holy Churches of North Carolina and Virginia. Mother Craig and her husband Rev. Charles C. Craig founded a total of sixteen churches in North Carolina.

According to the official church history, founders of the church included my great grandparents, George and Bell Bullock Johnson. My great grandparents were not married in 1912 when the church began, but I believe that Grandma Bell was living in Ridgeway with her Aunt Kate Bullock Johnson, who was also a founder of the church. Other founding members included Grandpa George’s siblings and their spouses. His sister Mollie Johnson Rowlett and her husband James Rowlett, and his sister Elsa Johnson Alston and her husband Guy, his brother Charlie Johnson and his wife Kate Bullock Johnson, and his brother Calvin Johnson and his wife Dora. Other founding members were Robert Quinitchette and John Jefferson. Grandpa George’s mother Susan Jerman Johnson later joined her children at Union Chapel.

Most of the members of Union Chapel were baptized in a local pond. The land to build the church on was deeded to the members by Guy Alston and his wife, Elsie in 1913. The second church building, which now stands, was built in 1952. The church has a cemetery where my great grandmother Bell and three of her children (Richard, Mary, and Charlie) are buried.

Mother Emma Craig served as pastor of Union Chapel for several years. After she served, Rev. Louis Young became pastor and remained 17 years. Elder Tom L. Lynch then became pastor and remained 37 years. In 1975, Elder Jasper Spruill became pastor and remained until 1983. In April, 1983, Rev. Josephine Wilson became pastor. The current pastor, Rev. Bobbie Rainey became pastor in 1992.

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