On December 5, 1915, the Hawthorne Lane Methodist Episcopal Church, South officially began. The first service was held in Elizabeth College (now Presbyterian Hospital) with a charter membership of189. Rev. R. D. Sherrill was appointed the first pastor.
A lot on the corner of Hawthorne Lane and E. Eighth Street was deeded to the church by the Oakhurst Land Company, B. D. Heath, President. Elizabeth and Myers Park were both brand new neighborhoods on the edge of Charlotte, population 40,000. It was built at a cost of $38,119 and the first service was held in the new building on December 3, 1916.
The first bulletin from May 1916 described the new facility as follows:
The arrangement of the building, designed by Louis H. Asbury for the Hawthorne Lane congregation, represents the latest and best ideas in church architecture. The church auditorium will be 56 x 77 feet in dimention and will seat about 650 people. The Sunday School auditorium, together with the class rooms which can be thrown into it, will seat about 450 people. On special occasions, the Sunday School can be thrown into the church proper, giving a total seating capacity of 1100. The needs of the Sunday School have had the special attention of the architect and the building committee, with the result that every department of the Sunday School work has been provided for. In the basement of the church are provided a kitchen, library or club room, a hall for receptions, entertainments, etc and designed to meet the demands of a modern active congregation in all phases of its work.
In 1919 Mr. Heath donated a second parcel of land on Hawthorne Lane adjoining the original church property, and before the year was out a two story frame parsonage was built on it. Unfortunately, Mr. Heath did not live to see the new parsonage completed; he died four months after donating the land for it. The four bedroom, two bath home was used until 1964, when a new parsonage was built on Hardwicke Road. The old parsonage was torn down and the site was converted for parking. In 1921 Mr. Heath’s company, now headed by his son, offered to sell additional land to the church, which would extend its property all the way back to Oakland Avenue. Even though legal complications delayed the transaction, the church proceeded to build a wood frame scout hut behind the parsonage, facing Oakland Avenue. In 1923 the church finally acquired the additional land, including the scout hut site. The education building was erected two years later. The scout hut was brick veneered and for many years has been used by Boy and Girl Scouts, Cubs and Brownies, as well as numerous recreational activities. It is now known as “the gym.” Over the years, classroom space in the education building has been upgraded to keep it fresh and contemporary, especially in the children’s areas, while preserving its historic character. A major renovation completed in 2009 has converted the third floor to a modern meeting and activity space for the church’s expanding youth program. church30
The church school classrooms at the rear of the sanctuary were converted into a chapel in the early 1940’s. During 1953, the church pipe organ, nearly 40 years old was replaced with a new one. The organ was updated in 1997-98 and the chapel has been redecorated several times.
In April 1993, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission and the Charlotte City Council designated Hawthorne Lane United Methodist Church as a Historic Landmark. This designation was awarded because of architecturally significant features and appointments such as the bell tower, slate roof, nave ceiling of American chestnut and stained glass windows with cast stone tracery. The interior woodwork moldings, wooded screen, balustrades, wainscot and panels emphasize the volume and shape of the interior spaces provided by the Akron architectural plan.
The eye level pulpit in a semi-circular pattern provides the best sight lines for all members. The bowl-shaped sanctuary was used in the early days of America for theater and traveling ministers. The ceiling is constructed of now extinct wormy chestnut panels and resembles an ancient sailing vessel. Early Christians favored a round Church instead of a long Church which was adapted from Roman courthouses.
Since its founding, Hawthorne Lane UMC has been served by 28 Senior Ministers.
For us that means we will be faithful first to these priorities.
– We Worship
We engage in authentic worship.
– We Grow
We participate in faith groups for bible study and spiritual formation.
– We Serve
We actively serve our neighbors, community and the world.
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