A History of Northview United Methodist Church
A Fascinating walk through Hollins history has emerged with this brief outline of the history of Northview United Methodist Church, known as North Hills for one year, and originally known as Bethany.
In 1789, Samuel Mitchell was married to a Miss Lynch of Bedford County by the Reverend Henry Ogburn. He was so moved spiritually with Reverend Ogburn, that he brought him to Botetourt to meet his brother, Edward Mitchell, who was baptized at that time. Samuel Mitchell became licensed to preach on August 11, 1795 and lived with this brother Edward who also became a licensed preacher. The Reverends Samuel and Edward Mitchell held area meetings in homes, and as the numbers grew they were held in public places.
From the Journal of Francis Asbury(Vol. 11, pg. 515) we find that on Friday, August 15, 1806, Francis Asbury came up the valley to Staunton and Lexington. On the way he stopped in Amsterdam to hold a camp meeting for about 3,000 souls. On Monday, August 18, 1806 he rested at Mr. Thomas’. Tuesday, August 19, 1806 Francis Asbury wrote, “I ventured on the camp ground again, and preached at eight Philippians 1:1; may this weighty subject rest on the minds of the preachers, and on none more than the heart of the speaker! I came away with Samuel Mitchell.”
According to Federal Written Project- Roanoke City Highway Vertical File: In 1865 C. J.Ninninger contracted to build a log structure on the site across from the now Crestland Drive on Plantation Road. This log building was known as Bethany Methodist Church.
In the annual reports of the Methodist Church 1870, page 58: the Conference urged establishment of a Sunday School as a way of furthering the Missionary church. Bethany’s membership grew with the community, and with the completion of the Old Macadom Road, called the Carolina Road, it was decided the church should move to a location more accessible for the majority in the area.
On April 8, the trustees for Bethany signed a contract for the land at the busy intersection of now Route 11, and Route 117, or Peters Creek Road. The log building on Plantation Road was sold to a family of Thomas and a small white frame church typical of the era was built. Bethany Church flourished until the 1950’s when membership began to fall off.
In 1958, a group of faithful members totaling 13 had to make a decision, whether to close Bethany or try to start anew. With the combination of a lot of prayer and lot of faith they voted to keep Bethany alive. An energetic young man, Reverend Andy Meeder, filled with a strong faith, was sent to Bethany. Through his leadership, Bethany began to grow and congregation decided they should consider changing the church name to signify a new beginning. After names were submitted, a vote was taken and the name Northview was chosen. On Sunday September 13, 1959, the Northview Methodist Church became officially known by its new name.
Another forward step of the Northview congregation was encouragement from the then oldest active member, Mr. J. F. Turner, to move church services to Mountain View Elementary School in October of 1961 until the new educational facilities, phase one of a three phase building program was completed on a piece of property at the intersection of Plantation Road and Ridgecrest Drive. The groundbreaking ceremonies were held on January 14, 1962, and on August 5,
1962 the new church building was completed on schedule. The concrete ceiling in the fellowship hall consisted of pie-shaped wedges, weighing over a ton each, transported across town between 2:30 A.M. and 3:00 A.M. The concrete pieces were placed together holding each other up and then banded with metal. This was to symbolize our strength as a congregation when we worked together in harmony with God. Over 250 persons filled to capacity the fellowship hall for the first worship service in the new facility of Northview United Methodist Church.
With the help of other fine ministers, the Reverends Norwood Montgomery, Paul Widenhouse, Carlton Casey, Robert and Beatrice Callis, Northview grew rapidly into a strong, friendly congregation which attracted many new members. It soon became evident that Northview needed more room and plans began for building phase two – – a new sanctuary.
Reverend Bill Betts was appointed to Northview: with his drive and leadership ability he spurred the congregation on through many ups and downs until Northview held their first service in the new sanctuary on December 24, 1978. One of the “downs” occurred when the contractor was pouring concrete for the Narthex floor and discovered a large cavern. After dumping several tandem loads of concrete, they dumped bales of hay into the now partially set concrete which stopped the flow making it possible to fill concrete to floor level.
The congregation of Northview continued to grow physically and spiritually with the teachings of Reverend John Parker who led the congregation until June 24, 1984. In June of 1984, Bishop Robert Blackburn appointed Reverend Edwin Burch as minister of Northview, who was instrumental in helping the congregation strengthen our spiritual growth.
In 1988, John Vest became minister of Northview encouraging our commitment to faith by starting a Methodist moment on television and radio. On the occasion of births, baptisms, weddings and deaths, letters were written to individuals that became keepsakes.
Carl Savage came to Northview in June 1992, bringing with him a vast interest in the Holy Land through personal archeological digs. He believed a sermon should come directly to the point without elaboration thus becoming known for his ten minute sermons.
Louis Strickler in 1997 came to the Northview Congregation at a time when we were growing in numbers and began two Sunday services 8:45 A.M. and 11:00 A. M. In 1998 the congregation was asked to vote on building a Family Life Center. The vote was 124 for the building and 22 against building. On January 28, 1999, the Administrative Board approved the formation of a Building Committee, and in March 2000 the congregation voted on what they wanted in the building. By the year 2001, a fund raising campaign was started and got off to a great start.
As Northview seemed to have come to a plateau in growth, the Bishop sent Bart Weakley to Northview in 2003, a man strong in faith and strong in his knowledge of the Bible. He started Bible Study classes which were overflowing in number and as our faith increased so did our attendance and Building Fund balance. In March 2004, the Building Committee: Ray Reed, Chairperson, Jean Broyles, Harry Collins, Becky Hinrichs, Ken Journell, Rhonda McDonald, Alan McNutt, Ray Otey, Sue Porterfield and Bob Wingfield presented all of the information to the congregation and they voted to start construction of Phase 3 of our building. Our congregation was blessed in 2004 when a family member of John and Julie Myers, choir director, traded us a top of the line Conn organ for our much smaller organ. The sound is mellow and beautiful adding a great deal to our music program and worship services. With him for guidance and our hand in the hand of God, we move out into the future knowing that beneath us are the everlasting arms of God, behind us a multitude of dedicated people and a church that has dedicated itself in all phases of life especially in its endeavors to show the way that leads to the Kingdom of God.
Joe Klotz joined Northview in 2011. He was instrumental in starting the TWEEN CLASS for Sunday School for children, and was much appreciated by the students. He was very active in Kairos and Emmaus Communities. Pastor Joe provided monthly pastoral support for residents at Friendship Manor. Showcasing his musical talents, he participated in the Sanctuary Choir, Handbell Choir, and played piano selections during worship services. Pastor Joe was the favorite clown for preschool and M.A.D. Week Camp.
Doug Sasser is our current pastor.
We celebrated 150 years of history in 2015.